An attractive counterstamped half dollar made to honor the 1824-1825 visit of the Marquis de Lafayette is being offered at this week’s GreatCollections Certified Coin Auctions sale. With less than five days to go, the lot has an opening bid set at $6,900.
The host coin is a Capped Bust half dollar struck in 1824. In the center of the coin (obverse and reverse) is a small coin-shaped counterstamp that features the likeness of George Washington on one side and Lafayette on the other.
In 1824 and 1825, the Marquis de Lafayette caused a sensation when he made a return tour to the country he helped gain its independence. Given a hero’s welcome, the 67-year-old general toured each of the country’s 24 states, starting in New York, where he was greeted by an audience of 40,000 people.
Coins of various denominations were overstruck with the Washington/ Lafayette counterstamp and sold as souvenirs of the event. Examples are known on a variety of large cents of differing dates, an 1824-dated dime, two half dollars, and three Mexican coins.
An attractive example struck on an 1822 cent from the collection of Q. David Bowers brought $3,120 in a November 2017 Stack’s Bowers auction.
This half dollar, being one of two known in the denomination, is certainly an important specimen of this class of souvenir.