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1804 dollar trades for $2.5 mil

One of only six known Class III 1804 Draped Bust silver dollars has been sold for $2.475 million.
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One of only six known Class III 1804 Draped Bust silver dollars has been sold for $2.475 million.

An East Coast collector purchased the coin in a private-treaty sale facilitated by Heritage Auction Galleries of Dallas, Texas.

In 1950, the same coin changed hands for $3,250.

This particular piece is known as the Adams-Lyman-Carter-Flannagan specimen. Graded Proof-58 by the Professional Coin Grading Service, it is the finest of the three available to collectors and not part of museum collections.
Heritage represented the anonymous collector who bought the coin. Dealer Kevin Lipton of Beverly Hills, Calif., represented the seller, described only as ?a West Coast collector.?

Greg Rohan, president of Heritage, handled the transaction for the firm.
?The fabled 1804 dollars are widely known as ?the King of Coins.? It?s always exciting when one changes hands, and this certainly has been electrifying for the happy new owner and the Heritage team,? said Rohan.

About the price, Rohan said, ?Less-famous coins are selling for a million dollars or more, and the King of Siam proof set containing an 1804 dollar recently sold for $8.5 million. The other 1804 dollars are either also in the strong hands of collectors who want to keep them or are impounded in museums. So the new owner of this coin is thrilled about adding it to what is becoming one of the finest collections in existence.?

This isn?t the first time this coin set a record for a Class III 1804 dollar. In July, 2003, it was purchased at an auction for $1,207,500. Two years before it sold for $874,000 when Ohio business executive Phillip Flannagan consigned the coin to a November 2001 auction to raise money for construction of a Christian school near Cincinnati.

Amon G. Carter Sr., the late publisher of the Fort Worth Star-Telegram newspaper and a founder of American Airlines, paid $3,250 for the same coin in 1950.

In his 1941 sale of the Dunham Collection, dealer B. Max Mehl said, ?While there may be coins of greater rarity (based upon the number of specimens known), none are so famous as the dollar of 1804.?

According to Heritage, the reason is, while there are 15 known 1804 U.S. silver dollars, no $1 denomination coins dated 1804 were actually made that year. There are eight surviving examples of 1804-dated dollars ? known as Class I type ? made at the Philadelphia Mint in the mid-1830s that were to be given as gifts on behalf of President Andrew Jackson by a State Department envoy on a diplomatic mission to the Far East.

The lone Class II type, part of the Smithsonian?s collection, is a unique 1804-dated dollar with a slightly different design on the reverse that was apparently struck in 1858 on a Swiss coin.

Those designated as Class III types include six known specimens with the same modified reverse design, also believed to have been struck in 1858 to satisfy the requests of collectors at the time.

Three of six Class III coins are in museums. The Linderman specimen, graded Proof-63, is in the Smithsonian Institution in Washington, D.C.; the Idler specimen, Proof-62, is at the American Numismatic Association Money Museum in Colorado Springs, Colo.; and the Driefus-Rosenthal specimen, EF-40, is among the holdings of the American Numismatic Society in New York City.

Collectors hold the two other remaining Class III examples, the Berg-Garrett Specimen and the Davis Specimen. Both are graded EF-40, according to Heritage. 

 For more information, visit, call Heritage Auction Galleries at (800) 872-6467 or write: 3500 Maple Ave., 17th Floor, Dallas, TX 75219.