Coin Specifications

Category: Silver Commemoratives (1892-1954)
Mint: Philadelphia
Mintage: 36,000
Obverse Designer: Charles E. Barber
Reverse Designer: Charles E. Barber
Composition: Silver
Fineness: 0.9000
Weight: 12.5000g
ASW: 0.3617oz
Melt Value: $6.18 (10/21/2017)
Diameter: 30.6mm
Edge: Reeded
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1900 LAFAYETTE S$1 MS obverse 1900 LAFAYETTE S$1 MS reverse

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Description & Analysis

Marquis de Lafayette was a renowned 18th century French nobleman who has occupied a special place in the hearts of Americans since the Revolution. He left his life of privilege in France to help the American colonies fight their British overlords and in the process helped create and sculpt the fledgling country. With the help of Benjamin Franklin, Lafayette eventually reached the rank of Major General in the Continental Army and helped broker a peace treaty between France and the colonies in 1778. He also had a very close relationship with Commander in Chief George Washington.

With all of this in mind, when the United States was invited to participate in the Paris Exposition of 1900, leaders thought a fitting contribution would be a statue of the Revolutionary War hero sculpted by Paul Wayland Bartlett. A novel and educational approach was used to raise funds for the statue: School children from all over the nation contributed small change to the Lafayette Monument Fund. Additional funds were to be procured through the striking of 50,000 Lafayette commemorative dollars to be sold at $2 each. Chief Engraver of the Mint, Charles E. Barber, was selected to design the coin.

Barber’s obverse bears a striking resemblance to an 1881 Yorktown Centennial Medal. It depicts the conjoined busts of Washington and Lafayette. The portrait of Washington was created from the same bust used for the Washington Quarter 33 years later. In addition to the portraits, the legend UNITED STATES OF AMERICA arcs above the busts at the rim, and the inscription LAFAYETTE DOLLAR arcs at the border below. The reverse design depicts Bartlett’s statue of Lafayette on horseback. Bartlett’s name appears on the base of the statue. Encircling the border is the inscription ERECTED BY THE YOUTH OF THE UNITED STATES IN HONOR OF GEN LAFAYETTE PARIS 1900.

While the date 1900 is on the reverse of the coin, they were actually all struck in 1899. On December 14th, 1899, the mint struck all 50,000 coins as authorized by the legislation. This date had special significance as it was 100 years to the day of Washington’s death. Unfortunately, the coins proved to be slow sellers. After the Exposition, they were still available for a number of years for less than issue price. Eventually, some 14,000 pieces were returned to the mint, where they sat until being melted in 1945, leaving a net mintage of 36,000 coins.


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Price Guide

Last Updated: 11/30/2016

Click on a price to see historical prices, comparison charts and trends.

Base $ 190 215 245 325 430 525 565 610 675 875 1000 1100 1800 2850 7500 22500 95000 - - -
$ - - - - - - - 1350 2050 4500 13750 27500 110000 -

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Total Graded: 2541
Low Grade: PrAg
Average Grade: 62
High Grade: 67

Upcoming Auctions

A random selection of NGC coins is shown below.

Auction House
Sale / Lot
11/3/2017 MS 62   Heritage Auctions 2017 November 1 & 3 Eric P. Newman Collection Part IX US Coins Signature Auction - Dallas Session(2), 1260/Lot# 15505

Auction Prices Realized

A random selection of coins is shown below.

Auction House
Sale / Lot
5/4/2005 NGC MS 62   Heritage Auctions 2005 St. Louis, MO (CSNS) Signature Auction #372, 372/Lot# 7923 $977.50
9/23/2007 PCGS MS 64   Goldberg September 23-26, 2007 Pre-Long Beach Coin and Currency Auction, 42/Lot# 3137 $3,105.00
11/21/2010 NGC Details UNC Details  Teletrade Auction 2963, 2963/Lot# 3314 $488.75
12/8/2011 PCGS MS 64   Heritage Auctions 2011 December 8-11 US Coins Signature Auction- New York Session(2), 1162/Lot# 4164 $2,760.00
2/17/2013 PCGS AU 55   David Lawrence Rare Coins Internet Auction # 739, 748/Lot# 402 $525.00
12/15/2013 PCGS MS 63   GreatCollections GreatCollections Coin Auctions 12/15/2013, 105/Lot# 141873 $1,540.00
6/16/2014 NGC   Stack's Bowers iAuciton 3486, 6035/Lot# 20894 $329.00
6/12/2016 NGC Details AU Details  Heritage Auctions Internet Coin Auction Session(2), 131625/Lot# 25573 $235.00

NGC Registry

NGC Registry Score 1900 S$1 MS LAFAYETTE
Registry Image Gallery
Grade: MS 66
Points: 8819
Owner: Chippewa
Grade: MS 66
Points: 7374
Owner: Bruce Young
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