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A perfectly-preserved silver dollar, which set a new world record for coin sales when it auctioned for $10,016,875 in 2013, is back on the market, and experts believe it might fetch even more this time! The rare "Flowing Hair" coin, which features a portrait of Lady Liberty on one side and an eagle on the other, will be sold to the highest bidder by Legend Auctions on October 8, 2020, at The Venetian Hotel in Las Vegas.
"This is a dream coin -- a priceless artifact that I have been proud to own, and I'm very sorry to see it go," coin collector Bruce Morelan told CNN.
The iconic silver dollar's history can be traced back to the Coinage Act of 1792, which established the US Mint, under the Department of the Treasury, to produce coins for the newly independent nation. After spending a few years assembling the equipment and preparing the currency dies, the Mint, located in the nation's then capital Philadelphia, PA, was ready to start striking coins.
The inaugural batch of 1,758 Flowing Hair silver dollars, which were all struck in a single day in October 1794, was not meant for general distribution. Instead, the US Mint director David Rittenhouse gifted the sparkling coins to high-ranking officials to keep as souvenirs.
"They were distributed to congressmen, visiting VIPs from other nations, and other important American citizens at the time," Douglas Mudd, the curator and director of the American Numismatic Association's Money Museum, told CNN. "It was basically more of a PR marketing event. This was the first dollar, and they wanted to make as much of a splash as they could."
With only about 100 of the first round of Flowing Hair silver dollars left in circulation, the rare coins are extremely coveted by collectors. However, the one owned by Bruce Morelan is even more so. given that experts believe it was among the first — if not the first — coin ever produced by the US Mint.
Among the silver dollar's fans is well-known coin collector Dwight Manley. “I have always admired this coin, having seen it in Eddie Milas’s case over 30 years ago at a coin show,” the numismatist told Robb Report via email. “While we will never know if it was the first struck, we do know that it is a special and finest known example of our nation’s first silver dollar! Remember that George Washington was president and the White House was in Philadelphia when this was coined. It is a genuine time capsule of history.”
The 226-year-old coin's pristine condition further enhances its value. Professional coin graders, who assess the quality of rare coins on a 70-point scale, have given Morelan's Flowing Hair silver dollar an impressive 66!
When asked why he has decided to part with the rare silver dollar, Morelan said, "It's time to move on to other challenges, and I hope that the new owner of the coin treasures it just as much as I have."
Whether the coin fetches more than $10 million remains to be seen. However, given that a grade 35 Flowing Hair silver dollar sold for $288,000 at a January 2020 auction, it certainly sounds plausible.
Resources: Smitsonianmag.com, CNN.com