“This is a dream coin—a priceless artifact that I have been proud to own, and I’m very sorry to see it go.” This is a direct quote from Bruce Morelan to CNN. Currently, Morelan is the owner of the rare 1794 Silver Dollar that is worth over $10 million US dollars. This week, he announced that he is going to auction the 1794 Silver Dollar alongside many other historic coins with a value of at least $20 million. This estimated value does not include the 1794 Silver Dollar. Why is Morelan selling his incredible collection? Morelan stated, “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.”
Although his reasons for selling his precious collection are vague, his coins will definitely be sold quickly. Perhaps the 1794 Silver Dollar will be sold at an even higher price than it garnered last time!
What’s So Significant About the Rare 1794 Silver Dollar?
First of all, the 1794 Silver Dollars are the first US Mint coins ever. Commonly referred to as the “Flowing Hair Dollar”, these coins spotlight the first US take of the ideal of Liberty. The Roman tradition of personifying ideas like Justice and Wisdom as female figures inspired the US. In this particular design, the profile of a woman with flowing hair looks to the right of the coin. Stars and the inscriptions “LIBERTY” and “1794” surround her.
Secondly, the US Mint struck the 1794 Silver Dollars, but they were not for circulation. Actually, these coins were meant only to collect as souvenirs! Congressmen, VIPs from other countries, and other important US citizens received these 1794 Silver Dollars. These coins were a demonstration that the newly formed country could make its own currency. After months of preparation, the striking of the 1794 Silver Dollars took place in October of 1794. In one day, a grand total of only 1,758 silver dollars were struck with the Flowing Hair design. Approximately only 130-140 of the 1794 Silver Dollars remain today.
However, this particular 1794 Silver Dollar is considered to be the first-ever coin struck by the US Mint. Despite its lower grading of only SP 66, this is the finest specimen coin from this early collection. Close examination revealed that the dies used to strike the coin were so perfect in comparison to other coins that this could be the first one ever made.
So What’s Going to Happen to the 1794 Silver Dollar?
In an auction in 2013, this 1794 Silver Dollar coin sold for over $10 million dollars. Announced just this week, the owner of the coin plans to auction it once again after seven years of ownership. The auction’s date is October 8th at the Venetian Hotel in Las Vegas. Due to COVID, coin shortages mean that auctions like this one are more difficult to hold. This is because the fear of breaking quarantine keeps people away. Additionally, it is difficult to host auctions today because it is hard to stir up publicity. This auction will most likely be a virtual event, and if you can participate, be sure to mark your calendar!
The Beginning of the US Mint and its Silver Dollars
The Coinage Act of 1792 established the first US Mint, which opened in Philadelphia. The Mint began inside the first Federal building under the Constitution. What makes the silver dollars so poignant is because, according to Douglas Mudd, the Constitution specified the dollar as the foundation of the US economy. Mudd is the Curator and Director of the American Numismatic Association’s Money Museum.
The US Mint struck silver dollars throughout its history. There was a brief pause from 1803 until 1836. After that, Silver Dollar production continued through 1873 because of the Comstock Lode discovery. But, the US made too many of these coins. TO avoid inflation, there was a brief pause from 1873-1878. After that came the Morgan Silver Dollar which was replaced by the Peace Silver Dollar post-WWII. In 1964, the US stopped producing coins with 90% silver and switched to 40% silver instead. Now, the US does not strike silver dollars, although sometimes you can find a dollar coin in circulation!
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