The military theme tie-in for the 1922 Ulysses S. Grant Centenary Memorial commemorative coins - a silver half dollar and a gold $1.00 were struck - is, IMO, a bit less defined vs. the previous coins I've presented in this thread. While it is very difficult to separate Grant from his US Civil War (CW) legacy, the legislation enabling the coins to mark the 100th anniversary of his birth makes no specific mention of Grant's time as a CW General. In fact, the law only refers to "General Ulysses S. Grant" once, and then only as prefix to "late President of the United States." Thus, it can be argued that the coins were issued in memory of a US President, rather than a US Army General.
Of course, Grant is likely remembered for his leadership of Union forces during the Civil War as much, if not more, as for being the 18th President of the United States. Also, it was his popularity following the CW that helped him get the Republican nomination for president and, subsequently, for him winning the 1868 election. So, it's hard to separate Grant the military man from Grant the private citizen and public servant.
Laura Gardin Fraser, creator of the obverse and reverse designs shared by the two Grant coins, chose to recall Grant's military career for the commemorative coins. She created a right-facing portrait of Grant on the obverse and depicted him wearing a military coat similar to what he wore during the Civil War. The portrait appears to depict Grant later in life, however, vs. while he was actively serving as a general in the CW. Historians base this timeline impression on the appearance of Grant's closely-cropped beard on the coin - it was less well-kept during the CW.
Interesting side note: The Grant Memorial Centenary Association, the sponsor of the coins, described the obverse portrait as "Grant in military costume." Not uniform, but "costume!" Another clue to the depiction of Grant being a post-CW view?
1922 Grant Birth Centenary Gold $1.00, Plain Variety
1922 Grant Birth Centenary Half Dollar, Star Variety (Star is above "GRANT" on Obverse)
You can find my previous posts about the Grant coins, here:
Quote: Thus, it can be argued that the coins were issued in memory of a US President, rather than a US Army General... Of course, Grant is likely remembered for his leadership of Union forces during the Civil War as much, if not more, as for being the 18th President of the United States.
Very interesting. His being a General comes to my mind before his Presidency. However, I have a difficult time separating the General from the President when it comes to Ike. It is an almost simultaneous thought further strengthened when I view the 1990 commemorative dollar.
As with the 1992 Grant Centenary silver and gold commemorative coins, the 1900 Lafayette Memorial Dollar is not overtly military in its design theme or appearance. The Marquis de Lafayette's ties to America, however, are intimately connected to the military battles of the American Revolutionary War and his willingness to leave his home and life of privilege in France to join the Americans in their battle against the British as they fought to win their independence.
Marie Joseph Paul Yves Roch Gilbert du Motier, Marquis de Lafayette was most definitely one of the key figures in the American Revolution. (He also played a significant role in the French Revolution.) A captain in the French army, Lafayette sympathized with the Americans in their fight for independence from Britain and decided to aid 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.
Lafayette soon became a member of General George Washington's inner circle, and provided invaluable military insights to Washington as he developed his battle plans. Lafayette also personally fought in multiple battles, including Brandywine, Monmouth and Yorktown (the battle that brought about British Lieutenant General Cornwallis' surrender and effectively ended 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 his home country's much needed financial support.
To this day, Lafayette is rightfully accorded "hero status" in the annals of American history (military and general). Lafayette was the first person granted honorary United States citizenship. The legislatures of Maryland and Virginia granted Lafayette such status in 1784, though neither had the authority to speak on behalf of the nation as a whole. He was formally given such status by the US Congress in 2002 via Public Law 107-209. In part, the law recognized that Lafayette "voluntarily put forth his own money and risked his life for the freedom of Americans." It also recalled that Lafayette "gave aid to the United States in her time of need and is forever a symbol of freedom."
The reverse of the silver dollar is the more "military" side of the coin; it features the Lafayette equestrian statue sculpted by American artist Paul Wayland Bartlett; he lived in France at the time. The statue on the coin depicts Lafayette with his sword drawn and held in his outstretched hand. The sword is shown pointing down to symbolize Lafayette offering his sword (and the benefit of his military experience) to the Americans. The coin's models were prepared by Charles E. Barber.
Interestingly, the coin depicts a preliminary version of the statue that would eventually be replaced. This version, in plaster, was presented to France on July 4, 1900 in conjunction with the Paris Exposition; Bartlett, however, was not happy with it. He completely reworked the statue and delivered a final version, in bronze, to France in 1908.
1900 Lafayette Memorial Silver Dollar
On the final version of the statue, Bartlett depicted Lafayette with an upraised right arm with his hand holding his unsheathed sword aloft; his left hand again holds the reins of his horse. Also, the hat that was previously worn by Lafayette was removed and various changes to the depiction of the horse were made.
Bronze Lafayette Statue, on its Pedestal, Erected in Paris, France
Image Credit: George Grantham Bain Collection held by the US Library of Congress; Public Domain.
For more about the Lafayette Dollar coin, check out:
Now I got this song stuck in my head for the rest of the day...
How does a ragtag volunteer army in need of a shower Somehow defeat a global superpower? How do we emerge victorious from the quagmire? Leave the battlefield waving Betsy Ross' flag higher? Yo. Turns out we have a secret weapon! An immigrant you know and love who's unafraid to step in! He's constantly confusin', confoundin' the British henchmen Ev'ryone give it up for America's favorite fighting Frenchman!
Quote: Interesting, I'm not sure I'm a fan, but it's definitely a creative way to tell the story of Lafayette!
I have to admit, we are huge Hamilton fans. We bought the soundtrack when it came out. My wife saw it on Broadway (during a girls' weekend in NYC). We both saw it in Chicago back in 2019 (below). We have watched in on Disney+ a few times.
This Silver 50 Cent Coin was minted in 2005 as part of a set to honour the sailors,(both Navy and merchant), that crossed the Atlantic to bring much needed men and supplies to Europe, despite the ominous threat of German U-boats. The vessel depicted, HMCS PENETANG K676, was named after the town of Penetanguishene, Ontario.
Not too many coins, tokens, or medals commemorate a military defeat, but this one does: a nice big British two-penny copper token issued 1811-12 by John Henrickson's Lemmonsly Worsted Mill located in Lichfield, Staffordshire.
The killing ground depicted on the reverse of this token is derived from the Lichfield "borough seal," adopted in 1688.
Look carefully, though: This is no mere coat of arms...it's a coat of arms and legs.
The main device of the seal, according to this prose lifted from a descriptive plaque in a Lichfield park, "...portrays three dismembered kings who, according to legend, led 999 Christians into battle against the Romans in around AD 288. The kings were defeated, became martyrs, and [have since been] part of local folklore."
(Apparently the 999 Christians were also massacred, according to other accounts.)
The plaque continues, stating that the seal "...also shows Lichfield Cathedral, the slain kings' weapons, a lion, and Borrowcop Hill, thought to be the burial place of the kings."
(Withers 820, Davis 87. 41mm, 38.8g.)
I never pay too much for my tokens...but every now and then I may buy one a little too soon.