Known by collectors as "The King of American Coins," an 1804-dated U.S. silver dollar specially made on behalf of President Andrew Jackson, and still in mint condition, sold for $3,877,500 at Heritage Auctions
on Friday, Aug. 9, exceeding the pre-sale estimate of $3+ million. It was part of the company's $28+ million Platinum Night and U.S. Coins auction in Chicago.
The auction, overall, saw a sell-through rate of more than 97% by total lots sold and more than 94% by value sold.
"Although it's dated 1804, it was actually made in 1834 or 1835," said Greg Rohan, President of Heritage Auctions. "It was intended to be given as a diplomatic gift on behalf of President Andrew Jackson by State Department representatives on trade missions to the Middle East and Asia. It's one of only eight of its kind known and would be a prized possession for any collector of American history."
The consignor of the coin wished to remain anonymous and the name of the winning bidder was not revealed by Heritage. Previous owners of this coin have included the Massachusetts Historical Society and Adam Eckfeldt, who served as the Chief Coiner of the United States Mint from 1814 to 1839.
Mint records indicate a total of 19,570 silver dollars were struck in 1804; however, researchers believe that all those coins were actually dated either 1802 or 1803 because leftover coin-making dies from those years were likely used to produce the silver dollars struck in 1804. The Mint would not strike silver dollars for circulation again until 1836.
When Mint officials began preparing sets of coins in 1834 to be given by the State Department as diplomatic gifts, the Mint records indicated the last year for production of U.S. silver dollars was 1804 but they could not locate any with that date. A handful of the coins bearing the date were then specifically struck.
The front of the coin depicts the symbolic Miss Liberty, the date 1804 and the word, LIBERTY. The back has an eagle, 13 stars to represent the original 13 colonies, and the words UNITED STATES OF AMERICA and the motto, E PLURIBUS UNUM (Latin for "one from many" or "one out of many").
The $3,877,500 paid for the 1804 silver dollar includes a 17.5 percent buyer's premium.
Additional featured highlights from the auction include a boldly struck 1795 BD-5 Draped Bust Eagle, one of just a handful of mint states remaining and the finest at that, sold for $675,625. The mesmerizing Pittman-Kaufman 1850 Seated Quarter, made all the more rare and desirable for its PR68 NGC grade, sold for $258,500, as did an extraordinary 1918/7-D Buffalo Nickel, MS65 PCGS, desired for its date, which is an erroneous amalgam of the years 1917 and 1918.
The only certified 1844 Proof Quarter, the finest known to exist and displaying a beautiful natural toning with various iridescent colors, including reddish-gold, cobalt-blue, and gold-beige, sold for $285,500.
Additional highlights include but are not limited by:
1842 Small Date quarter, PR65 PCGS, one of the greatest of all silver rarities in American numismatics, sold for $258,500.
1851 $5 Schultz & Co. Five Dollar AU53 PCGS, a testament to the boon and bust of private coinage produced during the California Gold Rush, fetched $235,000.
A gleaming 1912 $20 PR67, one of just 74 Saint-Gaudens double eagles struck in 1912, sold for $211,500.
A deeply mirrored 1884-CC Morgan Dollar, PR66 Cameo, with fields so extraordinarily clean they display tiny lint marks after the coin's die had been wiped with a cloth prior to striking, sold for $176,250.
A rare and historic 1794 Flowing Hair Dollar, Fine 12 PCGS, one of just 134 surviving example from a relatively small mintage of 1,758 pieces, sold for $170,375.