Rare 1794 silver dollar auctioned for record $10 million by NBC News | January 25, 2013
A 1794 silver dollar, which many experts believe was the
first such coin struck by the U.S. Mint, sold for a record
$10 million at auction on Thursday.
The Flowing Hair Silver Dollar more than doubled the previous
$4.1 million auction record for a coin set in 1999, auction
house Stack's Bowers Galleries said.
Legend Numismatics, a rare-coin firm based in New Jersey,
bought the coin, which was the highlight of the evening
sale in New York that fetched a total of $17.2 million.
"We felt in our heart that this would be the very
first coin to exceed the $10 million barrier in auction
and were in fact prepared to bid much high in order to acquire
this unique piece of history," the company said in
a statement, adding it had no plans to sell the coin in
the near future.
David Bowers, chairman emeritus of Stack's Bowers Galleries,
said the coin has unique features that make it particularly
"It is the first American metal dollar struck and
the finest known. You have these combinations coming together.
No museum has an equal piece," he told Reuters.
The coin was part of the Cardinal Collection, amassed by
the collector Martin Logies. Bowers described the collection
as the "Old Masters" of coins struck during the
earliest years of the U.S. Mint.
"I think it is extraordinary and I am very pleased
that the first silver dollar is the first to top the $10
million threshold," said Logies, who purchased the
coin three years ago.
The $10 million price includes the buyer's commission.
Like the buoyant art market, which is expecting another
good year in 2013, Bowers said coins are a good investment,
have a worldwide market and have risen steadily in value.
"We're continually surprised by surprises," he
said, adding there are several million coin collectors around
the globe. "They want to collect coins for appreciation,
art, rarity and beauty."
The record-setting coin shows a profile of Miss Liberty
facing right surrounded by stars representing each state
in the union. The design was only used in 1794 and briefly
the following year.
Another top seller in the sale of 94 lots was the 1792
Half Disme, which dates back to David Rittenhouse, the first
director of the U.S. Mint. It fetched $975,000, excluding
the 17.5 percent buyer's commission.