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Dolley Madison – 1999

Learn About Dolley Madison’s Legacy as First Lady

In 1999, Congress decided to honor a First Lady who made numerous important contributions to the history of the United States. Dolley Madison, the wife of our fourth President, James Madison, was instrumental in our country’s early history. She worked with many charities of the day, setting a strong example to follow for later First Ladies. She also worked on social issues of the day, again influencing later First Ladies. But she is most remembered for a truly patriotic act. During the War of 1812, her husband, President James Madison and his entire cabinet were forced to flee the White House as the British Army approached, Dolley Madison left immediately before the British arrived but she took the famous Gilbert Stuart portrait of President George Washington off the wall in the White House and brought it with her. She well knew that this famous portrait would be greatly prized by the British troops who later arrived and burned much of Washington City as the Capital was called then. Dolley Madison performed a true patriot act by saving Washington’s portrait.  

Congress authorized a Silver Dollar to honor Dolley Madison and 1999 marked the 150th anniversary of her death in 1849. It was unusual in that the designs for the obverse and reverse of this coin were actually created by Tiffany & Company, the world-famous jewelers. US Mint engravers T. James Ferrell and Thomas D. Rogers, Sr., took the Tiffany designs and sculpted the models that produced these coins.

The obverse of the coin depicts Dolley Madison on the grounds of her beloved Virginia estate, Montpelier. A large bouquet of her favorite flowers, cape Jasmines, grace the left border, while to the right is the Ice House Template. The upper periphery has the phrase “LIBERTY”, to the right is her name “DOLLEY MADISON” in two lines, and below is the date of striking “1999.” Tiffany had based their design on the portrait of Dolley Madison, also painted by Gilbert Stuart.

The reverse depicts her home with “MONPELIER” below and “E PLURIBUS UNUM” above. The legend “UNITED STATES OF AMERICA” graces the upper periphery and the denomination “ONE DOLLAR” is on the lower periphery.

(A 1999-P Dolley Madison Silver Dollar, Uncirculated, Obverse [left], Reverse [right].)

The coins were struck in both Uncirculated and Proof versions but all were struck at the Philadelphia Mint. The maximum authorized mintage was 500,000 coins but the Uncirculated version sold 89,104 coins, while the Proof version sold 224,403 coins.

These coins were very popular with collectors who liked the uniqueness of the design and the fact that they had been originally designed by Tiffany & Company. The sales figures were the highest for a modern commemorative Silver Dollar in more than a decade. The coins were sold individually and in a two-coin set.

(A 1999-P Dolley Madison Silver Dollar, Proof, Obverse [left], Reverse [right].)

1999SOne DollarUncirculated89,104$50
1999SOne DollarProof224,403$60
1999SOne DollarUnc & ProofUnknown$75

Expand your collection today and buy a 1999-P Dolley Madison $1 Silver Commemorative BU (w/Box & COA).

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