Lesher was a proponent of the free and unlimited coinage of silver. He was able to sell the first 100 examples of his Referendum Dollar at their face value of $1.25. Unable to redeem them himself, he arranged with various merchants, especially the grocer A.B. Bumstead, to accept the pieces in his store in exchange for merchandise.
An unnumbered example of this merchant variety. Boyd Park was a Denver, Colorado jeweler.
1901 Lesher Referendum Medal, Boyd Park, HK-796, MS64 PCGS. Zerbe-10 $5,750.00 Jan 7, 2010 HA.com
1900 Lesher Dollar
Joseph W. Lesher was a silver mine owner near Central, CO. This initial Lesher variety had no indication merchant, and was essentially a silver token that Lesher personally promised to redeem for $1.25 upon request. 100 pieces were struck, each with a hand-engraved serial number on the reverse exergue. This example is #38
1900 Lesher Dollar, First Type XF40 PCGS. HK-787, Zerbe-1 $2,875.00 Jul 31, 2008 HA.com
1901 MS Lesher Referendum Dollar Imprint Type MS61 NGC
Joseph Lesher of Victor, Colorado struck octagonal silver So-Called Dollars in 1900 and 1901, before Federal agents ended his enterprise. This piece does not have a merchant named, and is blank on the obverse exergue aside from the serial number.
1901 MS Lesher Referendum Dollar Imprint Type MS61 NGC $2,185.00 Feb 25, 2005 HA.com
1901 Lesher Referendum Dollar, J.M. Slusher
J.M. Slusher of Cripple Creek, Colorado was a grocer. The 1901 Colorado State Business Directory records his street address as 165 Bennett. Slusher purchased under 500 pieces from Lesher; the present example is number 75.
A very rare type with only a handful of pieces believed known. This piece has SAM COHEN first stamped inverted, then restamped correctly over the first stamping.
1901 Lesher Referendum Dollar, Sam Cohen AU50 PCGS. HK-793, R.7. No. 429 $4,600.00 Jun 2, 2005 HA.com
1901 Lesher Dollar, HK-794
Silver, 32 mm. Serial Number 7. Joseph Lesher was a Colorado businessman and silver mine owner who was, logically, a proponent of the widespread use of silver. Even though the Democrats lost the 1896 and 1900 elections, thereby quelling the Free Silver movement, Lesher still advocated unlimited metal dollar coinage. He issued a series of octagonal pieces that he called "Referendum Souvenirs," so shaped to avoid breaking any Federal laws. Although each piece only contained $0.65 worth of silver at that time, he promised to pay $1.25 in U.S. money for each piece redeemed to him for the first type dated 1900 and $1 each for the 1901-dated pieces.
HK-794 is the merchant D. W. KLIEN & CO., PUEBLO, COLO. It is rarely offered for sale and is undeniably rare. HK-794 is one of the few Lesher dollar issues that has not been certified at NGC.
Dr. Philip Whiteley lists eight examples from this merchant, with serial numbers between 971 and 1096. His plate example has the merchant name and city stamped. Other Lesher merchants are also known with hand engraved names, such as Zerbe-12 to 16. For Zerbe-12, Whiteley comments, "Goodspeeds & Co. ... engraved a few and expected to have some stamped at a later time, but only the engraved ones were issued." Zerbe-12 also has unusual gaps in the serial numbers of survivors: 27, 1015, 1020, 1027. D.W. Klein apparently had several engraved prior to receipt of an appropriate stamp.
According to the Hibler-Kappen standard reference, W.C. Alexander purchased 50 Referendum Dollars from Joseph Lesher, only a small number of which have survived to this day. Alexander was a jeweler from Salida, Colorado.
Lesher was a proponent of the free and unlimited coinage of silver. He was able to sell the first 100 examples of his Referendum Dollar at their face value of $1.25. Unable to redeem them himself, he arranged with various merchants, especially the grocer A.B. Bumstead, to accept the pieces in his store in exchange for merchandise. Zerbe considered the Alexander type to be the rarest of the imprint varieties.
1901 MS Lesher Referendum Dollar, W.C. Alexander AU50 PCGS. HK-797. Zerbe-11 $5,290.00 Mar 26, 2004 HA.com