There’s a Dollar coin that American collectors just can’t seem to get enough of. It’s one of the most important coins in US history.
In fairness, it’s not surprising as it has an unrivalled collection of special characteristics that make it unique.
It’s the 1900 Silver Lafayette Dollar and it also has an ‘illegal’ secret that very few people know about…
If you’re looking for a storied coin dripping with history, you simply won’t find anything better than the Lafayette Dollar.
It’s America’s first ever commemorative dollar coin. It was issued to commemorate a monument of General Lafayette. Congress authorised the mintage of 50,000 coins to sell for $2 each in 1899, with the money raised going to the Lafayette Monument Fund.
The monument would then be displayed at the 1900 World Fair in Paris. It was subsequently placed adjacent to the Louvre in 1908 before making way for the famous glass Pyramid du Louvre in 1989. It still resides in Paris between the Pont de l’Alma and the Pont des Invalids.
Incredibly, America didn’t produce another commemorative Dollar for another 83 years after the Lafayette Dollar.
But that’s not even half the story. The Lafayette Dollar is also the first coin to feature an American President.
The coin’s obverse carries a dual portrait of Lafayette and George Washington, serving as a memorial of the centenary of Washington’s death.
The little-known fact about the Lafayette Dollar
Actually, there’s two facts.
Firstly, the entire run of Lafayette Dollars were struck in one day and it was an important day – 14 December 1899, which was exactly 100 years after George Washington’s death.
However, the fact that really excites collectors and adds to the coin’s legend also revolves around the date.
The US Mint is not authorised to use a different issuing year on a coin other than the year the coin was minted. But look at the reverse of the coin and you will see the year 1900 at the base of the design.
The 1900 you see on the reverse here is in reference to the year of the Paris show, rather than the issue date.
That means the Lafayette Dollar does not carry a year of issue, so it’s not technically a legal coin.
No wonder collectors love it.
Extremely Limited Numbers Survive
The Lafayette Dollar was not hugely popular. Just 36,000 out of 50,000 sold and the coins that went unsold were eventually melted down by the mint in 1945.
Of the 36,000 that were sold, many were degraded in some way, so relatively few survive in good condition.
That’s why the Lafayette Dollar is such a large collecting area in the US and why examples have changed hands for tens of thousands of pounds.
If you’re interested…
Very few Lafayette Dollars make it to the UK, but you have the chance to add one to your collection today.
I was able to secure 25 of these on my recent trip to the US and offer them now.
You can make one yours for £850 or you can break that down into 10 interest-free instalments of just £85 a month.
However you pay for it, please don’t delay. It’s a fascinating coin and I’d hate for you to miss the chance of adding one to your collection.