I have decided to honor the Lafayette Dollar and it's historical pedigree in this thread. In my opinion this is one of the most important and valuable coins in United States history. The Lafayette Dollar was created in a campaign to help fund the creation of a monument of the Revolutionary War hero that would be displayed at the Paris Exposition of 1900. The following photograph courtesy of Heritage Auctions shows the Lafayette Dollar in MS66: On March 3rd, 1899, Congress authorized the mintage of 50,000 Lafayette Commemorative Dollars which would be sold for $2 each to raise money for the Lafayette Monument Fund. The mint's chief engraver, Charles Barber was responsible for the creating the design. The obverse of the coin was designed to honor both Lafayette and serve as a memorial for the Centennial of George Washington's death. The obverse design shows conjoined busts of Washington and Lafayette. It is widely believed that Barber copied the design from Peter L Krider's 1881 Yorktown Surrender Centennial Medal (photo courtesy of Ira & Larry Goldberg Auctions). The origin of Washington's design are from an earlier bust created by Jean Antoine Houdon. Coincidentally, this same bust was used by by John Flanagan who is responsible for the design of the Washington Quarter. The following photo of Houdon's bust is courtesy of the National Gallery of Art, Washington DC. The reverse design is of the Lafayette Monument created by Paul Wayland Bartlett. The statue depicts General Lafayette on horseback and was placed at the Place du Carrousel adjacent to the Louvre in 1908. In 1989, the Lafayette Monument was moved to make way for I.M. Pei's Pyramid du Louvre (photo courtesy of GreatBuildings.com). The Lafayette Monument now resides at Cours Albert 1er, between the Pont de l'Alma and the Pont des Invalids The Lafayette Dollar was minted all in one day, December 14th, 1899 which was exactly 100 years after George Washington's death. Here is one of the most interesting facts about the Lafayette Dollar. The mint is not authorized to use a different date other than the date the coin was minted. As a result, the year 1900 on the obverse of the coin is considered part of the legend and technically the coin is undated. The coins were minted using 3 obverse and 4 reverse dies resulting in 5 different die varieties. After the coins were struck using an old press, they fell into a hopper with the rest of the coins. As a result, many of the coins suffered contact marks, severely reducing the number of gem examples before the coins even left the mint. After production, the Lafayette Dollars did not fair well in the market place and only 36 thousand were sold. The unsold coins were returned to the mint and were melted in 1945. Many of the original buyers of the coins were not regular collectors and as a result many of the coins ended up circulated, polished, and cleaned. Finding mint state examples of this coin is tough and gem state coins are very rare. The population of an MS65 Lafayette Dollar is 429/159 and carries a hefty price tag of about $8,500. Even in MS63 this coin breaks the $1,000 barrier. Here is a simple list of why I think the Lafayette Dollar is one of the most important coins in United States history and a must have for the astute collector with the means to afford this rarity. It was the first US coin to bear the likeness of a United States President It was the only classic commemorative coin of it's denomination (Silver Dollar) It is a mintage rarity with only 36,026 struck pieces surviving. It is a conditional rarity in gem state (MS65+) The coin is often found with fantastic original toning. It commemorates two of the most important men in US history. The coin is technically undated. It is available in just about every grade including circulated grades. There are die varieties for those that like them. It was minted on the 100 year anniversary of George Washington's death. This is one of those coins that falls into the key date category for me. I will wait until the right one hits that market that I absolutely love before I make a purchase. I do not want to spend $3,000 on an MS64 and not love the coin. I hope you enjoyed the post and welcome your comments. The information in this thread was compiled from the following sources: Coinsite.com, Heritage Auctions, Flickr.com, The RED BOOK, and the Comprehensive Catalog and Encyclopedia of US Coins.