Lewis and Clark Exposition, Slabbed So-Called Dollars

Many of the third party grading companies also grade various flavors of tokens, such as Hard Time tokens, Civil War tokens, etc. This is fine, when the reference books that cover those areas are reasonably complete and accurate, and the subject matter is frequently traded and well understood. Unfortunately, this is not the case with So-Called Dollars. The reference book is not so complete, some of the material (such as the Lewis and Clark Expo material!) is downright confusing, and the care that is put into grading a $25 dollar token just does not match the care put into grading $12,000 gold coins. Hence, third party grading of the Lewis and Clark so-called dollars has not been very accurate.

This is not a very scientific sample, but a quick search of auctions on the web turned up eight pictures of slabbed So-Called Dollars identified with H&K numbers that belong to the Lewis and Clark Expo So-Calleds. Of those eight, five are misidentified in some fashion by the third party grading company! NGC has three wrong and two right, NCS has the date wrong and ANACS has one wrong and one right.

H&K 327 is perhaps the most common L&C piece, the regular issue medal with the official expo logo on the obverse and the map of Oregon on the reverse. Here is an NGC slab that misidentifies an International Nickel so-called as H&K 327 (it should read H&K 323):



Here is another NGC slab that correctly identifies H&K 325, (assuming the metal is indeed silver). H&K 325 is the silver version of H&K 327.



And another NGC slab that correctly identifies H&K 325.



This NGC slab incorrectly identifies Trantow 2e as H&K 328. Part of the problem, is that H&K does not have a number for a silver plated, dateless piece, although it is very common:



The last NGC slab incorrectly identifies the gilded H&K 332-a as a regular H&K 332 bronze piece. I can understand this error, as on this large piece only, the gilding is very different looking, and not nearly as perfect and reflective as on the middle sized pieces.

The slab from NCS lists the date as 1909, instead of 1905.



Moving on to ANACS, here is an H&K 328 which is correctly identified:



But just to show they are not immune to error, here is possibly an H&K 333-a (if this is gilt bronze) identified as an H&K 330. When a piece is this worn, is is difficult to decide if it was once gilt (as they seem to think it was) but it is clear that this piece never had the date on it (which H&K 330 should always have)!



When it comes to collecting the Lewis and Clark Expo pieces, we cannot rely on the grading services yet. This is still an area where you must acquire your own knowledge and expertise!

Go to the first page of the Lewis and Clark Expo collection.
mrjohngilbert@earthlink.net