1900 $1 Lafayette MS67+
There is very little memorabilia for this coin, or for the Paris Universal International Exposition of 1900; however, I do have several items of interest. One is an envelope from the "Office of the Commissioner-General for the United States to the Paris Exposition of 1900, Lafayette Memorial Commission, Chicago." On the lower left of the rare envelope, "Lafayette Dollar" is imprinted. I also have an announcement stating that 15,000 Lafayette Dollars remain available at $2.00 each. Other items include medals, books with photographs of the Expo, tickets to the Expo, and postage stamps.
The coin itself has several unique aspects. First, all 150,000 coins were minted in one day, December 14th, 1899, the 100th Anniversary of George Washington's death. Second, it depicts George Washington, as the first president, on legal tender United States coinage. Third, Lafayette is the first person on both the Obverse and Reverse of a U.S. coin. This coin, an MS67+ PCGS, is one of only two graded as such. It is virtually perfect, except for a small tick on Washington's cheek. Most commemorative experts believe it should upgrade to MS68, but so far, the grading gods have resisted.
- J & L
1925 50C Lexington MS68+
The Lexington-Concord Commemorative has some memorabilia, but not much. The holder for the coin was a pine box of which there are two versions - a short and long version. The top of the boxes consist of a sliding, wooden slat with an image of a minuteman stamped on it. The bottom of the box is likewise a stamped "Old Belfry" as on the coin. No other holders are usually mentioned. I do, however, have an envelope sent from the Lexington Trust Company, registered. The coin was distributed in April 1925, and this was postmarked 4-4-25. This may be a unique envelope. There are a few other examples memorabilia - these include several medals, poster stamps, and programs of the Sesquicentennial Celebration. I also have a large archive of Chester Bench, the designer of the coin.
The coin is one of the keys to the commemorative series. If the coin was housed in the pine box for a long period of time, it would develop a greenish tint from the oils in the pinewood. The coin in this set is a POP 1 coin and is graded 68+. Presently, there are no other 68's. Larry Shepherd told me this is the only coin in an auction that he never lowered his paddle on. I am sure we can all see why.
- J & L
1918 50C Lincoln MS68+
This coin is one of two 68+ and is beautifully toned, the prettiest of the two in my opinion. Lincoln's occasionally can be found beautifully toned. In other cases, they can be unattractively toned, and many are white and lusterless. To our knowledge, there are no holders known except those mentioned below. Any toning cannot be traced back in any common holder.
A few of the coins were sold as a badge with the coin within a bezel. This was shield-shaped, with an attractive ribbon attached to a top hanger, and can be seen above. I was told years ago that there were only six to nine in existence. I now believe this is on the low-side since I now have four of these. I also have ben told that 100 of these were produced. The original ribbon has the white and teal colors. Other ribbon colors have replaced this one, in my opinion. Other items from the Illinois Centennial are available such as pin backs, programs, and booklets including one the "Masque of Illinois," a play of the history of Illinois. Also, there are poster stamps, books, and pamphlets. All in all, a very interesting commemorative coin and its memorabilia.
- J & L
1936 50C Long Island MS67+
The Long Island Commemorative has a reasonable supply of envelopes and holders that can be found occasionally in auction or on eBay. There may be holders that are not five-coin, but I have not seen one. Coin receipts from the Long Island Tercentenary Committee are seen at times. Some items from he Tercentenary Celebration are also available, such as medals, badges, and pin backs. There is a booklet, "Historic Long Island," with information on the coin. Also, a blue transferware plate with an image of the Brooklyn Bridge in the center. This was made by Wedgwood for Abraham + Straus. There is also a Banquet Program which describes the celebration at Hotel St. George in Brooklyn on 6-6-36.
The Long Island Coin is readily available in 65 and 66 condition. It is the 67 and 67+ that become extremely rare. Presently, there are 11 coins in 67+, none in 68. Remember, all 67+ coins are not created equal, and all toning is also not created equal. This coin is a gorgeous tab-holder toned with red, green, and yellow hues. This coin was purchased several months ago from Larry Shepherd.
- J & L
1936 50C Lynchburg MS68
The Lynchburg, in contrast to other commemoratives, does not have a great variety of memorabilia. Envelopes and holders are available occasionally, especially in Stacks or Heritage auctions. Very little is available from the Sesquicentennial Celebration held October 12th to the 16th, 1936, in Lynchburg. In this regard, there are programs, sheet music, ladies' powder compacts, poster stamps, and the Sesquicentennial Edition of the Lynchburg local paper "The News" dated 10-11-36. In addition, there are three different denominations of wooden nickels with a cover envelope that are popular with collectors.
The Lynchburg Commemorative is not noted for its spectacular toning, although at times, it can be quite pleasing. The average Lynchburg is lacking luster, has many bag marks, and is generally unattractive. This coin is the lone PCGS 68. It has great luster and good toning for a Lynchburg. This was purchased from Larry Shepherd as an NGC 68 in 2005.
- J & L