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A Rare Coin Believed to Be the First One Made By the US Mint Just Sold for a Record-Breaking $12 Million

Of 1,758 such coins made in Philadelphia on a hand-turned press, only some 140 survive.

1794 Silver Dollar GreatCollections Coin Auctions

A rare silver coin from the earliest years of the United States increased in value by $11,999,999 when a man from Las Vegas sold it to GreatCollections Coin Auctions, a company based in Irvine, California. Now valued at $12 million, the silver dollar from 1794 is believed to be the first such coin ever made by the US Mint, according to a report in the Las Vegas Review-Journal, and “was intended to help replace Spanish, English, Dutch and French coins that were in circulation in the country’s post-Colonial era.” Bruce Morelan, a business executive in Las Vegas, paid $10,016,875 for the treasure in 2013 and exhibited it across the country and in Europe before selling it.

In a statement, Ian Russell, president of GreatCollections, said, “Because of its significance, it was likely seen by President George Washington, Treasury Secretary Alexander Hamilton and then-Secretary of State Thomas Jefferson who oversaw the young United States Mint. Without question, this is America’s most coveted silver dollar, a numismatic national treasure.”

Of 1,758 such coins made in Philadelphia on a hand-turned press, only some 140 survive. And the condition of coin most recently sold is “substantially better than the examples in the Smithsonian Institution’s National Numismatic Collection and the American Numismatic Association museum,” according to Russell.

A collector since the age of six, Morelan, the seller, said, “Coins are in my blood, and the 1794 dollar was a lifelong dream. I’m truly blessed to have owned it and hope the new owner has as much joy, pride, and satisfaction as I did.”

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