An 1804 silver dollar worth millions of dollars will go on the auction block Aug. 8 at the American Numismatic Association World’s Fair of Money in the Chicago suburb of Rosemont, Ill.
The Class III dollar will be sold by Stack’s Bowers Galleries in the official convention auction. It is graded Proof-55 by Numismatic Guaranty Corporation.
The firm notes that it “has one of the most distinguished pedigrees that can be imagined.”
Only 15 examples of the date are known. This one is the T. Harrison Garrett Class III coin acquired in 1883 and held by the family until 1942, when it passed to The Johns Hopkins University. It was consigned to Stack’s Bowers Galleries and auctioned in March 1980, setting a price record at the time. The coin changed hands several times over the ensuing years before appearing as lot 1736 in the Stack’s Bowers Galleries 1986 sale of The Harry Einstein Collection. At that point, it entered the collection of Mrs. Laura Sommer, where it resided for decades before being sold to Stack’s Bowers Galleries by its latest owner and current consignor.
This landmark rarity will be offered without reserve.
No 1804-dated dollars were struck in 1804. The 19,570 coins produced that year carried earlier dates as the Mint at the time used dies until they wore out.
Texas dealer B. Max Mehl called the 1804 the “King of American Coins,” in 1941.
Background information provided by Stacks’ Bowers said the first 1804-dated dollars were struck in 1834 for diplomatic presentation coin sets for the King of Siam and the Sultan of Muscat.
Two different reverse dies were used to make the 1804-dated dollars, each mated with the same obverse.
Class I 1804-dated dollars: Reverse die with E in STATES over a cloud. Years ago these were called “Original” dollars in some catalogs. These were first officially coined in 1834 for diplomatic presentation purposes, and perhaps continued to be coined through the mid-1850s. Facts are scarce. Eight specimens are known to exist, several of which are in museums. The first example to go into numismatic hands was obtained by Massachusetts collector Matthew A. Stickney in a trade with the Mint Cabinet in 1843. This later went into The Louis E. Eliasberg Sr. Collection and was auctioned by a Stack’s Bowers predecessor firm in 1997. The Class I dollar presented to the Sultan of Muscat went into The Childs Collection and was auctioned in 1999 by a predecessor firm.
Class II 1804-dated dollars: Reverse die with E in STATES over junction between two clouds. Plain edge. Made in 1859. Five said to have been made, three melted, one unaccounted for. Only one is known today and it is struck over a Swiss dollar-sized silver coin. It reposes in The National Coin Collection in the Smithsonian Institution.
Class III 1804-dated dollars: Reverse die as preceding. Lettered edge. Made circa late 1850s onward, last date of manufacture unknown, but possibly into the late 1860s or early 1870s. Six specimens are known to exist.
The coin that will be sold in August was made in 1859 or later. By circa 1875 it was in the hands of Captain John W. Haseltine of Philadelphia, one of the leading rare coin dealers and auction catalogers of the era, who stated that he had found it in the inventory of Koch & Co., professional numismatist in Vienna.
For more information, visit www.stacksbowers.com.