The Error Collector's Blog

04 Jun 2022

The Lafayette Memorial Dollar

Young Numismatists Exchange | The Error Collector

Marquis de Lafayette

Marquis de Lafayette (Marie-Joseph Paul Yves Roch Gilbert du Motier de La Fayette, Marquis de La Fayette) was born on September 6, 1757 in Chavaniac, France. When he was two, his father died fighting in the Seven Years War. When he was eleven, his mother died, leaving him a large fortune, even though he didn’t want a fortune, all he wanted was military glory. When he was 18, he heard about the Revolutionary War and sailed over to the 13 Colonies to help win the revolution. In the next several years he and General Washington became close friends. At the surrender of General Cornwallis there was no prouder soldier. In 1803 he started the French Revolution and sent the Bastille key to Washington; the Bastille was a French state prison. From 1824 to 1825 he toured the United States.

George Washington

George Washington was born on February 22, 1732 in the colony of Virginia. In the 1740’s he surveyed land. When he was 27, he married the widow Martha Dandridge Custis. In 1775 he went to help win the Revolutionary War. In 1783 the Revolutionary War ended and he went home. From 1789-1797 George Washington was president. He died in 1799.

The Lafayette Memorial Dollar

The Lafayette Memorial Dollar was minted on December 14 ,1899, exactly 100 years after George Washington died. They were minted to commemorate Lafayette and to help fund a statue of Lafayette as a gift to France for the Statue of Liberty. For the rest of the funding schoolchildren helped to gather cents. The school children raised $45,858.30 for the statue!

The Maximum Number Authorized was 50,000 pieces and the sale price was $2.00. it was the first coin to have a president and it was also the first coin to have someone on the obverse and reverse.
the coin is dateless because 1900 on it signifies the date of the statue. It was the only classic commemorative with the denomination of one dollar. There are four obverse and five reverse die varieties.

12,000 coins were sent to France and 10,000 were returned to the United States of the 50,026 were minted 14,000 were melted.

TheObverse and reverse of the coin were designed by Charles E Barber.

The obverse depicts the Heads of George Washington and the Marquis de Lafayette facing right. The head of Washington likely came from the design on the Washington Before Boston Medal. The head of Lafayette likely came from theMedal of the Marquis de Lafayette it was made byFrançois Augustin Caunois in 1824. The idea of the conjoined heads likely came from the Yorktown Centennial Medal minted in 1881.

The reverse depicts a Statue of General Lafayette mounted on a horse facing left. In Lafayette’s hand is a sword. Within the border is the inscription “ERECTED BY THE YOUTH OF THE UNITED STATES IN HONOR OF GEN LAFAYETTE PARIS 1900.



Level 4

Not a big fan of the design. I just think it looks weird😕

It's Mokie

Level 6

I finally added one to my collection this past Autumn, truly a great coin honoring two great heroes of our revolution. Thanks for sharing your research.

Long Beard

Level 5

A top five on my personal list of the early commemoratives. Great blog subject indeed!

AC coin$

Level 6

Woooow ! Great blog , interesting coin .


Level 6

Interesting coin! Thanks for the blog! ; )


Level 6

Nicely done. Very nicely done. I enjoyed reading your blog. Short but full of history and a joy to read. A cool commemorative. I hope that one is yours. Thanks.

I would like if the coin was mine, but it isn't.


Level 7

George Washington surveys business was in Winchester Va. I have family there. Its very small I had to duck to get in. Thank you for the information on the others. I would like to own that coin!!

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