Most valuable U.S. coin coming to auction

The world’s most valuable U.S. coin will be offered at auction later this year as part of the Bruce Morelan Collection.

Valued at more than $20 million US, the collection is set to cross the block at the Members Only Show hosted by Professional Coin Grading Service (PCGS) in Las Vegas this October. The finest set of early Mint-State (MS) dollars ever assembled, it includes an example of every date and type of dollar struck at the Philadelphia Mint from 1794 through 1804.

Among the top highlights is a 1794 “Flowing Hair” dollar that previously sold for $10 million US at a January 2013 Stack’s Bowers auction. In PCGS Specimen-66, the 1794 Flowing Hair dollar is believed to be the first silver dollar struck in the United States and has been displayed in museums around the world due to its historical importance. It’s also the first and only coin to top the $10 million mark.

The ‘Flowing Hair’ dollar is believed to be the first silver dollar struck in the United States.

“The 1794 Dollar has been a lifelong dream coin, and I’m truly blessed to have owned it,” said Bruce Morelan, of Spokane, Wash., who assembled his collection with the help of Laura Sperber, a partner with Legend Numismatics and Legend Rare Coin Auctions, of which Morlean is also a partner.

“I can only hope the new owner has as much joy, pride and satisfaction as I did in having it in my collection. Now that the set is complete and nothing else can be added, I’ve decided it’s time for other collectors to enjoy these magnificent coins.”

When he acquired the coin in 2013, Morlean “had already done the trade dollars, the seated dollars and the classic rarities at that point, so I was interested in a new challenge,” he told Joshua McMorrow-Hernandez for a “Collector’s Corner” story published by PCGS this February.

“Despite the huge realized price of $10,016,875 (a world-record price held since 2013), the fact is Laura and I were willing to go another 30 per cent higher,” added Morlean.

An 1804 $1 coin, certified as Proof-65 by Professional Coin Grading Service, is estimated at $4 million US.


The final coin in the collection, the 1804 $1 piece, is another rare coin with only eight examples minted.

Known as the “Dexter Specimen” because of the small “D” carved on the reverse by a previous owner, the coin being offered this October is the third-finest extant example. In PCGS Proof-65, it has an estimated value of $4 million US.

The Morlean Collection of Early U.S. Silver Dollars, which was graded entirely by PCGS, also includes:

  • a 1794 “Flowing Hair” in Specimen-66;
  • a 1795 “Flowing Hair” in MS-64-plus;
  • a 1795 “Draped Bust” in MS-66;
  • a 1796 in MS-65;
  • a 1797 MS-64;
  • a 1798 “Small Eagle” in MS-63;
  • a 1798 “Large Eagle” in MS-65;
  • a 1799/8 in MS-64;
  • a 1799 in MS-66;
  • an 1800 in MS-65-plus;
  • an 1801 in MS-65;
  • an 1802/1 in MS-64;
  • an 1802 in MS-65;
  • an 1803 in MS-65; and
  • an 1804 in Proof-65.

“Bruce never settled for second best, even if a coin was only a fraction better that is what he wanted,” said Sperber. “This could not have been clearer than when we bought the 1794 dollar. Unquestionably, the coin is one of a kind, both due to its incredible qualities and the fact that it is the very first dollar ever struck by the U.S. Mint.”

“There likely will never be another set in our lifetime like this,” Sperber added.

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