1900 Lafayette $1 PCGS MS66 CAC
Minted in commemoration of the idealistic French hero of the American War of Independence, the 1900 Lafayette silver dollar represents a rare opportunity for rare coin collectors and investors. It was the first silver dollar commemorative coin, the first coin to depict a former U.S president, and the first coin to depict the same person twice.
A member of one of France’s most esteemed noble families, whose male members were renowned for bravery in battle, Lafayette defied his king, family, and military superiors to sail to America and volunteer himself for the American struggle for independence. He was only 20 years old and financed the voyage himself.
Upon arrival in America, Lafayette was first rebuffed by the colonial leaders, but he offered to serve for free and was made a major general in the Continental Army. Lafayette served with George Washington (who became a lifelong friend) at Valley Forge, was wounded at the Battle of Brandywine, and aided in the victory at Yorktown, Virginia.
After the war, Lafayette returned to France, where he played a pivotal part in the nation’s history, including drafting the Declaration of the Rights of Man and of the Citizen — a key document in the development of western democracy. In 1824, Lafayette received a hero’s tour of the United States and was honored by Congress.
In 1899, Congress approved legislation to coin a silver dollar to commemorate Lafayette. The obverse of the coin features Washington in profile, with Lafayette in profile behind him. The design on the reverse of the coin is based on an early sketch of a statue of Lafayette that was given to France by the schoolchildren of America. The coins, in fact, were a means of fundraising for the statue, which was intended to be unveiled on United States Day at the 1900 World’s Fair in Paris. Lafayette appears on horseback, his sword raised in his right hand.
The commemorative coins were struck in 1899 at the Philadelphia Mint, and the first to be struck was given to the French president. The coins were sold to the public for $2 each by the commission in charge of the statue, although some were released into circulation at face value. 14,000 unsold coins went to the Treasury Building in Washington, D.C. where they were stored and later melted down for silver bullion in the 1940s.
Because no attempts were made during striking to preserve the coins for collectors, many Lafayette dollars have contact marks from being ejected from the press into a hopper. Many of the coins also have contact marks from being in circulation. These two factors make it difficult to find Lafayette dollars in MS-63 and higher quality today. Out of all silver commemorative coins, the Lafayette dollar in high MS condition is one of the most difficult to find.
A LITTLE STICKER MAKES A BIG DIFFERENCE.
Within each number of the coin grading scale is a small range of condition from low-end to high-end. Certified coins of the same grade can be of varying quality. Many of today’s collectors want coins that are solid or premium quality for their assigned grade. CAC holds coins to a higher standard so you can be confident in the value of yours. We verify previously graded coins … and award our sticker only to those coins that meet the standard for today’s selective buyer.
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