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1794 Silver Dollar Sets 10 Million+ World Record at Stacks Bowers Auction in NY

Highest price ever realized for any rare coin at auction


Leading rare coin auctioneer Stack’s Bowers Galleries conducted one of the most highly-anticipated events in numismatic history on January 24, 2013 with the sale of the record-setting Cardinal Collection. The highlight of the evening was the $10,016,875 sale of the coveted 1794 Flowing Hair silver dollar, a superb Gem Specimen example, the finest known to exist. This set a new world-record price for any  coin. Attended by hundreds of enthusiasts, collectors, investors and dealers, and resulting in nearly $27 million in rare coins crossing the block, the auction of The Cardinal Collection and other important consignments took place as part of the Stack’s Bowers Galleries New York Americana Sale.

“To be a part of this historical occasion is nothing short of amazing!” said Chris Napolitano, president of Stack’s Bowers Galleries. “Collectors competed with great fervor and energy, resulting in outstanding overall prices realized. The price of the gem 1794 dollar went up and up into the millions, with everyone in the audience on the edge of their seats until at last there was just one bidder remaining. At $10,016,875, a world-record price for any coin had been set! The previous record was $7,590,020 for a 1933 Double Eagle, set in 2002 by our firm in partnership with Sotheby’s. While it is well known that the value of the American dollar has depreciated over the years, here is a dollar that has increased in value beyond the wildest of anyone’s dreams.”

One of the greatest American numismatic landmarks, the 1794 Flowing Hair silver dollar is the finest known example of its kind, graded Specimen-66 by the Professional Coin Grading Service (PCGS) and the Certified Acceptance Corporation (CAC), leading certifiers of a coin’s condition. A close study of its characteristics suggests that it may well be the first specimen struck of the first year of the silver dollar, and was carefully preserved for posterity.

The buyer was Legend Numismatics, one of the countries leading rare coin firm based in Lincroft, New Jersey. Its principals are Laura Sperber and Bruce Morelan.

In a statement Legend released last night they said……..

“Legend Numismatics is proud to be the purchaser of the first silver dollar struck for the fledgling United States of America well over two centuries ago. We felt in our heart that this would be the very first coin to exceed the $10,000,000 barrier in auction and were in fact prepared to bid much higher in order to acquire this unique piece of history. We would like to emphasize that we have no plans to sell this coin in the near future. This 1794 dollar epitomizes what we like to call “Legend Quality” and will be the hallmark of our numismatics firm for years to come – until it becomes the centerpiece of some yet unknown collector’s spectacular holdings.

We would like to thank the consignor, Martin Logies, for his tireless efforts in documenting the characteristics of this coin and every other 1794 dollar that was struck after it. His fantastic research into every known coin of the type and his book on the subject convinced us that this First Struck dollar is truly a National Treasure. Congratulations to him on a world’s record price realized.”

Additional highlights from the Cardinal Collection in the sale included a certified 1792 silver half disme graded MS-68 by the Numismatic Guaranty Corporation (NGC) sold for $1,145,625, a 1793 Chain AMERICA large  cent graded MS-65 BN (PCGS) (CAC) fetched a strong $998,750, and a 1794 Liberty Cap Cent with the Head of 1793 graded MS-64 BN (PCGS) (CAC) soared to $881,250 among many other notable and record prices.

“Thanks to Martin Logies, chief architect of The Cardinal Collection, we were able to bring one of the most significant collections in all of numismatics to auction,” Napolitano continued. “The event helped set a new standard of excellence in numismatics and pays homage to the history, legacy, and lore of American coin collecting.”

In addition to The Cardinal Collection, the New York Americana Sale featured other United States coins of all denominations, including many rarities and finest known examples. For a complete list of items sold and prices realized from the Stack’s Bowers Galleries New York Americana Sale, please visit stacksbowers.com.


To consign U.S. coins and paper money to the March 2013 Whitman Coin and Collectibles Baltimore Expo, the Official Auction of the May 2013 ANA New Orleans National Money Show or the Official Auction of the August 2013 ANA Chicago World’s Fair of Money, please call 800.458.4646 (West Coast) or 800.566.2580 (East Coast). To consign world coins and currency to our August 2013 Hong Kong Auction or the Official Auction of the August 2013 ANA Chicago World’s Fair of Money, please call 800.458.4646 (West Coast) or 800.566.2580 (East Coast).

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About Stack’s Bowers Galleries

Stack’s Bowers Galleries, a division of Fortune 500 Company Spectrum Group International Inc., combines the extraordinary histories of Stack’s, the oldest rare coin auction and retail company in America, with Bowers and Merena Auctions, one of the world’s preeminent auctioneers of rare coins and paper money. The two companies unite to share a combined legacy that spans more than 100 years and includes the cataloging and sale of many of the most valuable collections to ever cross an auction block — the John J. Ford, Jr. and Louis E. Eliasberg, Sr. collections, The Harry W. Bass, Jr. Collection, and The Norweb Collection — to name just a few. Topping off this amazing numismatic history is the inclusion of the world record for the highest price ever realized at auction for a rare coin: the1794 Flowing Hair Silver Dollar graded Specimen-66 (PCGS) that realized over $10 million dollars. The company is headquartered in Irvine, California, with offices in New York, New Hampshire, and Hong Kong. Stack’s Bowers Galleries is the Official Auctioneer for several important numismatic conventions, including the 2013 ANA World’s Fair of Money and the ANA/PNG Pre-Show, the 2013 ANA National Money Show, and the Whitman Coin and Collectibles Baltimore Expo, three times yearly.

Stack's Bowers
Stack's Bowershttps://stacksbowers.com/
Stack's Bowers Galleries conducts live, internet, and specialized auctions of rare U.S. and world coins and currency and ancient coins, as well as direct sales through retail and wholesale channels. The company's 90-year legacy includes the cataloging and sale of many of the most valuable United States coin and currency collections to ever cross an auction block — The D. Brent Pogue Collection, The John J. Ford, Jr. Collection, The Louis E. Eliasberg, Sr. Collection, The Harry W. Bass, Jr. Collection, The Joel R. Anderson Collection, The Norweb Collection, The Cardinal Collection, The Sydney F. Martin Collection, and The Battle Born Collection — to name just a few. World coin and currency collections include The Pinnacle Collection, The Louis E. Eliasberg, Sr. Collection of World Gold Coins, The Kroisos Collection, The Alicia and Sidney Belzberg Collection, The Salton Collection, The Wa She Wong Collection, and The Thos. H. Law Collection. The company is headquartered in Costa Mesa, California with galleries in New York, Boston, and Philadelphia. Offices are also located in New Hampshire, Oklahoma, South Carolina, Virginia, Hong Kong, Paris, and Vancouver.

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  1. Is it just me, or does the obverse side of the coin appear to have surface damage? It is hard for me to believe this would grade out as a 66 of any type. I still would prefer $10 million in gold bars.

    • The early mint had no way to make planchets that were of the exact weight specified for particular coins. To keep the weight of the silver alloy planchet (coin disk) from being too heavy, the planchets were individually filed down to reach the right weight. That was somebody’s job in getting ready to strike a batch of planchets.
      Some of those scratch marks would be obliterated during striking. Striking meant hitting both sides of the coin mechanically with weight so heavy that it literally heated the surface past the melt point to force the metal to flow into the deepest recesses of the dies, which would be the high points on the coins.
      Some of the file marks were deep enough that they still show after striking. Because this was a standard part of the mint’s somewhat crude preparation processes at the time, such marks are not taken into account in grading. In fact, many collectors, such as myself, consider such marks as evidence that someone at the mint, more than two hundred years ago, physically handled the individual disk to get it ready to put into the dies. For the most part, few people even considered that people would even care more than 200 years later; they were producing money for commerce.
      Fortunately, a few people (including the mint director) then and later cared about such things, and knew that they were also making history.

  2. The way I interpret the Morelan comments on PCGS Msg Boards & what I see in the video, no one bid more than $5M hammer, Sperber then bid $5.5M and immed jumped it to $8.25M to shut out any potential further bid competition…even tho that didn’t appear to be realistic. Another add’l motive might well have been just to make a new coin sale record. Personally I’d much rather own a gold Brasher doubloon. I passed upo the Cardinal dollar at $375K some yrs back at an ANA- Milas/Browder had offered it.


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