So-Called Dollars


Medal privately issued by Otto Oddehon, St. Louis; struck by Adams Co.

Louisiana Territory officially became property of United States Oct. 10, 1804, when transfer ceremony of Upper Louisiana took place in St. Louis. Centennial of historic event, "second in importance only to American Revolution," was celebrated by Louisiana Purchase Exposition 1904, which see.

Fifty years later, five history-minded private citizens met on river front, First and Walnut Streets, St. Louis. "There, in solemn conclave, they raised brimming glasses of champagne and drank a lonely toast to the westward course of empire." Two congratulatory telegrams were read aloud and participant delivered brief outline of great events once sanctifying spot on which celebrants stood. Ceremonies were concluded by "fireworks display of three bombs and three skyrockets, one of each for each fifty years of history," three of these misfiring. Thus St. Louis commemorated sesquicentennial of most important event in its history.

Apparently there was talk at one time of staging another World's Fair in 1953 but nothing developed. Issuer "decided event merited at least a privately struck medal of some kind" and unable to secure "any cooperation...went ahead with it" himself as "patriotic gesture." Issue limited to 5,000 pieces in pure Copper; sold for 50 cents.

Photos courtesy of Jonathan Brecher

Obv. Knight on horseback; to upper r. 1803 / 1953; below horse Mfgd. for & Distd. by / Oddehon / St. Louis, Mo.; border legend Commemorating the Sesquicentennial of the Louisiana Purchase
Rev. Blank map of North America showing area of Louisiana Purchase with incuse dot at location of St. Louis; above Celebrating the 150th Anniversary; below map of the Louisiana Purchase

HK-509 Copper. 41mm.
HK-509a Brass.
HK-509b Silver-plated.
HK-509c Bronze.

HK-507 to HK-508