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GRANT MEMORIAL GOLD DOLLARS

The Grant Memorial Commemorative celebrates the centennial of the birth of Ulysses S. Grant. Two varieties of half dollars and gold dollars were produced for the centennial. A small star on the obverse distinguishes one variety from the other. Except for the inscription indicating the denomination, the half dollars and the gold dollars are the same design.

Laura Gardin Fraser designed the coins based on a photograph by Mathew Brady. The obverse shows a portrait of Grant in profile, as a mature man, wearing a military uniform facing right. In an arc above his head is the inscription UNITED STATES OF AMERICA. To the left behind his collar is his name ULYSSES and under it .S. To the right just below his chin is GRANT. The centennial dates 1822 and 1922 are below the truncation, and the denomination is below them. For those issues that have the star, it is below the second A in AMERICA, above the N in GRANT. The reverse shows a clapboard house that Grant lived in when he was a boy. The house is fenced in and surrounded by trees. In an arc above the trees is the motto IN GOD WE TRUST. To the left of them is the motto E PLURI-BUS UNUM written on four lines.

Grant was born on April 27, 1822 in Point Pleasant, Ohio. He spent his boyhood in Georgetown, Ohio. In 1843 he graduated from West Point and served in the army during the Mexican War of 1845 to 1848. In 1854 he resigned from the army and worked as a real estate agent and farmer in St. Louis before moving to Galena, Illinois. When the Civil War began he was appointed colonel and later advanced to the rank of brigadier general. He was promoted to the rank of major general after he captured Fort Henry and Fort Donelson. Later he fought at Shiloh and captured Vicksburg. As a result of his victory at Chattanooga, President Lincoln appointed him General of the American Armies. Lee surrendered to him at Appomattox ending the war in 1865. In 1868 Grant was elected president on the Republican ticket. He was reelected in 1872. His years as president were graft-ridden and full of corruption. In 1884 a New York bank failed, and Grant lost most of his money. He finished writing his memoirs four days before his death. The book earned $450,000, much more than he made as president. He died on July 23, 1885 and is buried in his tomb in New York City.

The original act that was approved by Congress in 1922 provided for 10,000 gold dollars. In order to increase profits, the Centenary Memorial Association requested that a special mark be placed on half of the gold coins. They couldn’t think of anything fitting for Grant so they came up with the idea of a rather meaningless star. All of the 10,000 gold dollars were distributed. Half of them had an incuse star added to create a variety for collectors; however, most were not sold to the general public. Texas dealer B. Max Mehl bought thousands of them for slightly more than face value. Other dealers bought them as well. Today most exist in mint state which leads to the conclusion that they were not handled by the general public.



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