The 20 medals in the Henderson-Marchase Collection constitute the most complete set of Lesher “Referendum Dollars,” which were minted in 1900 and 1901 by silver mine entrepreneur Joseph Lesher of Victor, Colorado. Pieces dated 1900 bear a $1.25 price and those dated 1901 bear a $1 price. This was significantly higher than their silver value, which was suffering at the time, so it was up to the public to decide whether to accept them. All are octagonal with a plain edge and bear Lesher’s name and city, which is near the Pikes Peak Silver Mine pictured on most of the Lesher Referendum Dollars.
Lesher had been advised that these pieces would be legal so long as they did not attempt to imitate US coins. A selection of Lesher Referendum Dollars sold at a Kagin’s auction in February 2020. The top NGC-certified lot realized $84,000.
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Nostalgic Original Display
For many years these 20 coins were stored in two custom Capital Plastics holders. Hobby enthusiasts might remember this company’s plastic holders from their period of great popularity, which spanned from the mid-1950s to the late 1980s. The owner recently decided it was time to submit the coins to NGC for attribution, grading and encapsulation in NGC’s secure, protective holder.
1900 Lesher So-Called Dollar
NGC AU 58
1900 Trademark Lesher So-Called Dollar
NGC MS 64
1901 J.E. Nelson & Co Lesher So-Called Dollar
NGC AU 55