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1804 dollar stars in Heritage auction

 Topping the bidding at the Long Beach Sale was this 1804 dollar. (Image courtesy Heritage)

Topping the bidding at the Long Beach Sale was this 1804 dollar. (Image courtesy Heritage)

The King of American coins was the star at Heritage Auctions' Long Beach sale held June 14-17.

Bringing $2.64 million was the Mickley-Hawn-Queller specimen of the 1804 dollar.

It is a Class I “Original” example, according to Heritage. It was graded PR62 by the Professional Coin Grading Service.

Eight of the 15 known 1804 dollars are designated original even though they were produced in the 1830s as diplomatic gifts.

The full story of this incredibly rarity is told on the Heritage website.

Among the many pages of information was this review of its market performance:

“Prices for 1804 dollars at auction soared as the decades passed. In 1960, the Davis Restrike 1804 dollar brought $28,000 at auction, while in 1970 the Mickley Original specimen realized $77,500. In 1980, at one of the U.S. coin market’s great heights, the Berg Restrike example reached $400,000, while the 1989 offering of the Dexter Original representative saw it go for $990,000, another bull-market record tantalizingly close to the million-dollar threshold. The Stickney Original piece, which in 1946 was the first five-figure U.S. coin at $10,500, became the first seven-figure 1804 dollar and the most expensive U.S. coin ever auctioned when it sold as part of the legendary Eliasberg Collection in 1997 for $1,815,000. The Sultan of Muscat Original, universally considered the best-preserved of 1804 dollars, leapfrogged that price to bring $4,140,000 in 1999, a record that stood for several years.”

Overall, the Long Beach auction realized $18.1 million.

Heart of the sale was formed by “An Important New York Collection.” It sold for a combined $6.7 million, contributing the top 12 most expensive lots in the four-day sale, according to Heritage.

These highlights include a 1793 Chain Cent, graded MS-65 Brown by PCGS and pedigreed to the famed Eliasberg collection. It changed hands for $990,000.

A 1776 EG FECIT Pewter Continental dollar graded MS-67 by Numismatic Guaranty Corporation sold for $444,000.

A 1796 No Stars gold quarter eagle, BD-2, PCGS MS-61 sold for $396,000.

An 1804 Draped Bust quarter, Browning-1, NGC MS-65 with CAC sticker and an 1870 Liberty Head gold $20 in NGC PR-65 Ultra Cameo CAC tied at $336,000 apiece.

This article was originally printed in Numismatic News. >> Subscribe today.

More Collecting Resources

• The 1800s were a time of change for many, including in coin production. See how coin designs grew during the time period in the Standard Catalog of World Coins, 1801-1900 .

• If you enjoy reading about what inspires coin designs, you'll want to check out our Fascinating Facts, Mysteries & Myths about U.S. Coins eBook.