A Colorado minter has released modern versions of the famous Lesher dollars.
Daniel Carr and his Clark & Gruber Co. are now making Lesher dollars with a modern twist.
Ohio native Joseph Lesher became a Colorado pioneer, working in the silver mining camps of the state for more than two decades.
In 1900, in the small town of Victor, Lesher opened a private mint to produce octagonal 1-ounce silver tokens redeemable for $1.25 in current money, in a plan to open idle mines.
Lesher issued pieces in 1900 and 1901, but denominated the latter issues as $1.
The private tokens were used in trade, and the 1901 issues were stamped or engraved with a merchant name and serial number on the obverse so merchants could use the pieces in their stores.
All of the Lesher Referendum dollars are rare and many are extremely so, according to A Guide Book of United States Coins, by R.S. Yeoman, edited by Kenneth Bressett.
They are also cataloged in more detail in So-Called Dollars, by Harold Hibler and Charles Kappen.
The name “Referendum dollar” relates to Lesher’s suggestion that the people should decide whether the pieces would circulate.
This was shortly after the failed Democratic bids in the 1896 and 1900 Presidential campaigns, when the ratio of silver and gold as money was a popular topic.
Carr’s modern-day “Lesher dollars” can be ordered with two lines of text, and serial numbers, imprinted.