1900 $1 Lafayette MS (PCGS# 9222)

2007 St. Louis, MO (CSNS) Signature Coin Auction #434

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    Heritage Auctions
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Lot Description
1900 $1 Lafayette Dollar MS67 NGC. DuVall 2-C. The Lafayette dollar, design by Charles Barber, synthesized a variety of influences, both acknowledged and unacknowledged. Houdon's bust of Washington and Caunois' 1824 commemorative medal depicting Lafayette are the sources most often named for the portraits, though Q. David Bowers (1991) credits Arlie Slabaugh with noting the unmistakable similarity between the conjoined portraits on Barber's design and "the obverse of the Yorktown Centennial medal of 1881, made from dies engraved by Peter L. Krider." The reverse is after Paul Wayland Bartlett, designer of the statue depicted on the reverse. Barber gave that artist ample credit. (Though Barber's usual monogram is missing, Bartlett's last name is spelled out on the base of the statue.) Quality control was far from the minds of Mint personnel on December 14, 1899, the day the Lafayette dollars were coined. The press was an old one, long out of regular service and used mostly for traveling exhibits and promotional strikings. After the coins were struck, they fell into a hopper and mixed together, and many examples sustained significant abrasions before they ever left the Mint. Yet a handful of exemplary survivors exist today, coins such as this Superb Gem. Each side possesses warm, radiant luster. On the obverse, amber-russet toning with a touch of red covers much of the periphery, while the center is predominantly silver-gray with small, scattered flecks of golden-tan. The reverse rims have similar wheat patina, though the interior is mostly blue-green with a zone of rose-tinged gray above the horse. A simply exquisite piece that is sure to appeal to the commemorative connoisseur. NGC has certified eight Superb Gems, and PCGS has graded five, with none finer (3/07). From The Cary & Cheryl Porter Collection.
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