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Millions of dollars at stake in 1804 dollar saga

Coin collecting has often been characterized as some sort of slow paced activity that cannot compete in the minds of young people with computer games.

Perhaps the recent rapid changes of ownership of the 1804 silver dollar will go some way to change this perception.

After all, you might have once asked how exciting home ownership is – until cable television began its successful run of house flipping shows.

At the March 31 Stack’s Bowers auction of the D. Brent Pogue Collection in Baltimore, the Dexter specimen of the 1804 dollar sold for nearly $3.3 million.

Buyers John Albanese and Kevin Lipton know their way around the numismatic block.

They issued a statement April 1.

Lipton was quoted as saying, “When opportunity knocks, you have to be there to answer. I was expecting this coin to sell for between $4 and $5 million, and was stunned at this kind of opportunity to acquire it for less than $3.3 million.”

They obviously were not the only ones to think the great rarity was undervalued.

The very next day after the statement, the partners sold the undervalued coin to another dealer who is well known for finding great coins at the right price for her high-end clients.

Laura Sperber of Legend Numismatics negotiated a deal to place the coin in the hands of Bruce Morelan, who is owner of the all-time finest set of early American dollars listed in the PCGS Set Registry®.

The price was not disclosed except for a comment from Morelan that it was “a few incremental bids over that level.”

In less than 48 hours after the actioneer’s hammer signaled the end of bidding, the coin has had three owners who are spending multiple millions of dollars.

Two of them had happily sold a $3.3 million property at a profit.

Is that excitement enough to compete with video games?

There are some people who will think so.

It is those people who will carry on numismatics through the next generation.

Congratulations to all the participants in this dramatic sequence of events with the 1804 dollar.

The King of American coins still has what it takes to add gusto to coin collecting.

Buzz blogger Dave Harper has twice won the Numismatic Literary Guild Award for Best Blog and is editor of the weekly newspaper "Numismatic News."

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