So-Called Dollars


Medals, obviously commemorating 50th anniversary of Declaration of Independence, long have been prized possessions in American numismatics but research still fails to establish origin. Because of national importance of event, collectors and dealers alike recommended that exception be made here as to holed material and urged issue be listed.

Prior to Revolutionary War, most colonists wanted only more voice in government, not total independence; disagreements over economic policies had led to controversy over politics and sovereign authority. Parliament refused to repeal "five intolerable acts" or to recognize right of local assemblies to levy taxes. Definite movement toward independence began after Battles of Lexington (see Part I, Battle of Lexington Centennial--1875) and Bunker Hill, April and June 1775, respectively; British besieged Boston; hired 20,000 Hessians to end revolt. Thomas Paine wrote "Common Sense" January 1776.

In Continental Congress June 7, 1776, Richard Henry Lee, Virginia, introduced famous Resolution of Independence. Committee of five, headed by Thomas Jefferson, appointed to draft Declaration of Independence embodying "spirit and purpose" of resolution; Jefferson prepared original draft; incorporated suggestions by Adams and Franklin. Committee reported to Congress June 28 where further revisions were made; final Declaration adopted July 4, 1776 by vote of 12 states, New York adding its vote July 9. Document actually did not establish independence but declared intentions, recited causes of action. It remained for Revolutionary War to convert words into fact. Declaration is on permanent display in Library of Congress.

Photos courtesy of Stack’s Bowers Galleries.

Obv. Spread-winged eagle facing l., stands on shield amid flag and implements of agriculture and war; at lower r., Cr; above eagle, all-seeing eye casts rays below; outside, above around National Jubilee.
Rev. In 7 straight lines across, For the / support of this / we pledge to each / other our lives / our fortunes & / our sacred / honour; outside, around Declaration of Independence Signed July 4: 1776

HK-2 Silver. 40mm.
HK-1002 Brass. Apparently obverse and reverse planchets struck separately, then joined; piece believed to be unique.
HK-3 Copper.
HK-4 White Metal, also called "pewter" or "tin."