Unique 1900 Lesher Dollar, HK-1016, Z-17, graded NGC MS 64. Image courtesy of NGC.

The most complete set of Lesher “Referendum Dollars” — which is entirely certified by NGC — is being sold by Kagin’s at the 2020 ANA National Money Show in Atlanta on February 28. The Henderson-Marchase Collection consists of 20 of the silver octagonal medals that were privately made in 1900 and 1901 by Joseph Lesher of Victor, Colorado. Kagin’s estimates the medals to be worth as much as $500,000 in total.

Lesher, a silver mine owner, was an advocate of the wider use of silver, the value of which was suffering at the end of the 19th century. By making the medals, Lesher was skirting US laws against private coinage. The term “referendum” in their name meant that Lesher suggested that the public decide on their own whether to accept them. In fact, all the medals include a price of either $1 or $1.25, well above what their silver content was worth at the time.

The Henderson-Marchase Collection was previously owned by William C. Henderson, a longtime ANA treasurer and mayor of Colorado Springs, Colorado, who was instrumental in convincing the ANA to locate its headquarters there. The set was submitted to NGC for certification in 2017 by Christopher Marchase, Henderson’s grandson.

“We were delighted that these medals were already attributed and certified by NGC when they were consigned to us,” said Don Kagin, president of Kagin’s. “NGC is the premier grading service for so-called dollars and other tokens.”

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