1900 $1 Lafayette MS (PCGS# 9222)

The March 2013 Baltimore Auction

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Lot Description
The 1900 Lafayette dollar, the first commemorative coin of this denomination, is scarce at the MS-65 level and is rare any higher, as here. NGC has registered 63 certification <em>events</em> for MS-66, probably representing no more than 40&nbsp; <em>different</em> coins are involved. The offered coin is brilliant, sharply struck, and has superb eye appeal.<br /> <br /> As a background we excerpt from Dave Bowers' commentary in the best-selling Whitman publication, <em>The Official Red Book of United States Commemorative Coins: A Complete History and Price Guide:<br /> <br /> </em>"In 1899 the Lafayette Memorial Commission sought to raise funds to erect in Paris in 1900 a statue of General Lafayette on horseback, to be sculpted by Paul Wayland Bartlett. This was to be a gift of the American people on occasion of the International Exposition in Paris, to honor the Frenchman who in 1777, when he was not quite 20 years old, risked his life and fortune when he paid for French troops to come with him to America to aid the Revolutionary War patriots. As noted above, in 1824 he returned to the United States as "the nation's Guest" and was honored on coins counterstamped with his portrait.<br /> <br /> The Commission petitioned Congress for an appropriation to coin 100,000 souvenir <em>half</em> dollars. When the legislation was approved on March 3, 1899, the authorization was for 50,000 silver one-dollar pieces, to be known as Lafayette dollars. It was intended that the coins be sold for $2 each to the public.<br /> <br /> A nationwide campaign with schoolchildren selling the coins for $2 was mounted, with the hope that the $50,000 profit would pay for the statue. Work on the statue lagged, and it was not ready for the Exposition. Instead, a large plaster model was shown there.<br /> <br /> The Commission desired that the coins be struck as soon as possible in 1899, so they could be sold on a timely basis. However, they were to be dated 1900 in keeping with the year of the
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