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Commems Collection: 1900 Lafayette Memorial

 
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 Posted 05/21/2012  8:33 pm Show Profile   Bookmark this topic Add commems to your friends list Get a Link to this Message
Tonight we shine the spotlight on the only silver dollar among the 50 types of classic US silver commemoratives, the 1900 Lafayette Memorial. The coin is represented by an example in PCGS MS-63.

There is no doubt that Frenchman Marie Joseph Paul Yves Roch Gilbert du Motier, Marquis de Lafayette was one of the key figures in the American Revolution. A captain in the French army, Lafayette sympathized with the Americans in their fight for independence from Britain and decided to help their cause by offering his services directly to the US Congress. His offer was accepted and, with the assistance of Benjamin Franklin, he was commissioned as a Major General in the Continental Army. He was part of General George Washington's inner circle, providing invaluable military insights for Washington's use while making battle plans, and also directly fought in multiple battles, including Brandywine, Monmouth and Yorktown (the battle that brought about British Lieutenant General Cornwallis' surrender and ultimately the end of the American Revolution). In addition to his military leadership in support of the Americans, he also lobbied for the American cause in France to help ensure much needed financial support. To this day, Lafayette is rightfully accorded "hero status" in the annals of American history.

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The Lafayette dollar was sponsored by the Lafayette Memorial Commission ( LMC). The primary project of the LMC was to create a fitting monument to General Lafayette and to then give it to the people of France during the Paris Exposition of 1900. The commemorative coin was used as a fund-raiser to support the costs associated with the monument; school children from around the US also raised funds for the statue, with almost $50,000 coming from their efforts.

Unfortunately for the LMC, sales of the Lafayette dollar did not meet the hoped for levels, and 14,000 of the 50,000 struck were returned to the Mint for melting. With just 36,000 coins available and large numbers of the coins being sold to non-collectors at the time of issue, high-grade Lafayette dollars are scarce and one of the keys to the classic commemorative series. In fact, MS-65 examples of the coin top the price chart for same-graded coins across all silver types.

The coin features conjoined portraits of General Lafayette (rear) and General George Washington on its obverse, and depicts the Lafayette Statue created by Paul Wayland Bartlett that was erected in Paris by the LMC. Charles Barber was the designer/modeler of the coin.

Side Note: I've always found it interesting that the first three silver commemorative types issued were of three different denominations -- half-dollar (Columbian) then quarter-dollar (Isabella) then dollar. Fortuitous or planned?

I've chosen to present my MS-63 Lafayette in this post as it holds a very special place in my collection. It is the first coin that I spent over $1,000 to acquire and it continues to be one of my absolute favorite coins to take out and inspect. I think it's a great looking 63, with spectacular cartwheel luster and nice, natural, original surfaces -- it simply has a great look (though my scans may not show it)! As long as I have my collection, this coin will always be part of it -- it just might be my favorite coin even though it's the lowest graded one in my set! (I'll share my higher graded coin in a separate post.)

In addition, I've included images of a 1934 medal sponsored by the American Friends of Lafayette, it marked the centennial of Lafayette's death in 1824. Even 100 years after his passing, Americans felt compelled to remember and honor one of its "adopted sons" and heroes of its fight for independence.

Enjoy!


1900 Lafayette Memorial Dollar -- Obverse




1900 Lafayette Memorial Dollar -- Reverse




1924 Lafayette Death Centennial Medal-- Obverse




1924 Lafayette Death Centennial Medal -- Reverse



Collecting history one coin or medal at a time! (c) commems. All rights reserved.
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 Posted 05/21/2012  9:18 pm  Show Profile   Bookmark this reply Add muddler to your friends list Get a Link to this Reply
The medal is fantastic.
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 Posted 05/21/2012  9:25 pm  Show Profile   Bookmark this reply Add tzarmarko to your friends list Get a Link to this Reply
Wonderful medal!
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 Posted 05/21/2012  10:06 pm  Show Profile   Bookmark this reply Add mkman123 to your friends list Get a Link to this Reply
That is one commem I want for my box of 60
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 Posted 05/21/2012  11:22 pm  Show Profile   Bookmark this reply Add D0ubl3Eagle to your friends list Get a Link to this Reply
Your knowledge and collection are incredible!
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 Posted 05/21/2012  11:26 pm  Show Profile   Bookmark this reply Add basebal21 to your friends list Get a Link to this Reply
Very nice coin.

Out of curiosity which coin was the hardest for you to find?

Ive been browsing around a bit and it seems this one, the Sequi, and the Queen Quarter seem to be particularly rare at the moment for being up for sale.
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 Posted 05/22/2012  09:24 am  Show Profile   Bookmark this reply Add wquinn to your friends list Get a Link to this Reply
Awesome coin!
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 Posted 05/22/2012  11:57 am  Show Profile   Bookmark this reply Add jbuck to your friends list Get a Link to this Reply
A beautiful coin and as always an excellent history lesson.
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 Posted 05/22/2012  8:28 pm  Show Profile   Bookmark this reply Add nickelsearcher to your friends list Get a Link to this Reply
Gotta love any MS Lafayette ... and I believe you that the scans do not fully depict the visual impact you can see with this coin in hand.


Quote:
(I'll share my higher graded coin in a separate post.)


I'm truly looking forward to seeing whatever that is.

The associated 1924 medal is amazing ... of all the ephemera you have shown in all your great posts ... this particular medal has made the greatest impact on me .... an outstanding example of USA commemorative history.

Very well done commems. I salute another great history lesson from you.

David
Take a look at my other hobby ... http://www.jk-dk.art
Too many hobbies .... too much work .... not enough time.
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 Posted 05/30/2012  6:46 pm  Show Profile   Bookmark this reply Add nickelsearcher to your friends list Get a Link to this Reply

Quote:
In fact, MS-65 examples of the coin top the price chart for same-graded coins across all silver types.


I've been pondering this statement ever since you made it ... and have decided that I am not clear what you meant by it.

Please clarify ... I can't imagine that you are saying the MS65 Lafayette is the most expensive USA silver coin out there?

For sure it is the most expensive (by far) MS65 classic silver commemorative ... followed by your Grant with Star .... is that what you were saying?

David
Take a look at my other hobby ... http://www.jk-dk.art
Too many hobbies .... too much work .... not enough time.
Edited by nickelsearcher
05/30/2012 6:48 pm
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 Posted 05/30/2012  6:49 pm  Show Profile   Bookmark this reply Add basebal21 to your friends list Get a Link to this Reply

Quote:
I've been pondering this statement ever since you made it ... and have decided that I am not clear what you meant by it.

Please clarify ... I can't imagine that you are saying the MS65 Lafayette is the most expensive USA silver coin out there?


I could be wrong but I think he meant that it is the most expensive in the 65 grade. At least thats true for this series
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 Posted 05/30/2012  7:16 pm  Show Profile   Bookmark this reply Add commems to your friends list Get a Link to this Reply
Yes, my comment was directed specifically to the classic silver commemorative series - sorry for any confusion.

Collecting history one coin or medal at a time! (c) commems. All rights reserved.
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 Posted 08/06/2012  10:27 pm  Show Profile   Bookmark this reply Add Captain Morgan to your friends list Get a Link to this Reply
Great post and even a greater coin.
I have one of these in my Dansco Album
but mine is not as high of a grade as yours.
But I only paid $150.00 for mine.
And it fits into my Album very nice.
Thanks for sharing your knowledge and the photo of your great coin
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