This article was originally printed in the latest issue of Numismatic News.
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It is being called “the coin that has it all.” And now, that includes the record price for a U.S. coin.
A private treaty sale of the finest known 1794 Flowing Hair silver dollar claims the record price of $7,850,000, displacing the 1933 gold $20, which held the distinction since it was sold at public auction in 2002 for $7.59 million.
The silver dollar was sold by Steven L. Contursi, president of Rare Coin Wholesalers, to the nonprofit Cardinal Collection Educational Foundation of California.
The transaction was announced May 20.
“This is a national treasure and I’ve proudly been its custodian since 2003,” said Contursi of Irvine, Calif.
He bought the coin “for millions of dollars” in 2003 from the Knoxville Collection, he said.
Acting as broker for the sale was Greg Roberts, president and CEO of the Spectrum Group, Irvine, Calif.
Researcher Martin Logies represented the Sunnyvale, Calif., foundation.
“Of all the rarities I have seen or heard of, there is no doubt in my mind that this is the single most important of all, the very first silver dollar. This is the coin that has it all,” Logies said.
The dollar’s pedigree traces back to Col. E.H.R. Green who died in 1940.
Many researchers believe the coin is the first silver dollar struck by the U.S. Mint. There are an estimated 140 surviving 1794 dollars out of a mintage of 1,758.
“It’s the finest in state of preservation and unique for 1794 with a silver plug. It’s also unique in being from the earliest state of the dies,” Logies said.
It grades Specimen-66 by the Professional Coin Grading Service. The label also notes that it is plugged.
CCEF maintains websites online to provide information about early American coins, including www.EarlyUSCoins.org and www.EarlyDollars.org that features an interactive “treasure hunters” guide for easily attributing early U.S. silver dollars by die variety. Another website is planned, www.CCEFlibrary.org, that will be devoted to providing the public with access to the foundation’s extensive numismatic library.
2010 U.S. Coin Digest: Dollars
Straight from the pages of the premiere U.S. coin reference, this downloadable pdf U.S. Coin Digest: Dollars, contains listings, color photos and current pricing of dollars.