US Coins

Most expensive 1794 Flowing Hair dollar on world tour

The world's most expensive coin, a 1794 Flowing Hair silver dollar that some believe was the first of its kind struck by the U.S. Mint, is traveling on an eight-nation European tour in February.

The $10 million+ coin is making its first stop Feb. 9 to 12 at the New Building of the National Museum in Prague, Czech Republic. The coin will eventually be publicly displayed in Warsaw, Poland; Tallinn, Estonia; Helsinki, Finland; Stockholm, Sweden; Oslo, Norway; Dublin, Ireland; and London, England.

It is the only 1794 silver dollar that was struck with a silver plug in its center.

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The exhibition, with the coin to be displayed alongside an original copy of the Declaration of Independence, is being staged by Samlerhuset Group B.V. The same entity spearheaded the 2012 multination European tour of one of two 1933 Saint-Gaudens gold $20 double eagles from the National Numismatic Collection at the Smithsonian Institution's Museum of American History.

Samlerhuset Group B.V. is a global numismatic marketing firm headquartered in Almere, Netherlands, selling coins, commemorative pieces and related collectibles. The firm, which markets numismatic items into more than 16 different countries, is half owner of the Royal Norwegian Mint and part owner of the World Coin Fair in Berlin.

Samlerhuset is also sole owner of Nordic Moneta Oy, the former direct marketing subsidiary of the Mint of Finland.

The Prague exhibition is scheduled from 1 p.m. to 8 p.m. Feb. 9 at the National Museum and from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. Feb. 10, 11 and 12.

Coin history

Some researchers believe that this 1794 Flowing Hair silver dollar was the first example struck. A total of 2,000 1794 dollars were struck at the U.S. Mint in Philadelphia on a hand-turned screw press, of which 1,758 were deemed to be of sufficient quality to be delivered Oct. 15, 1794, to the Mint’s treasurer, Nicholas Way, by Chief Coiner Henry Voigt.

The piece on exhibit is the only 1794 silver dollar known that was struck with a silver plug in its center. The silver plug, inserted into a hole pierced into the blank planchet before striking, was added to the underweight planchet at the U.S. Mint in Philadelphia to bring the planchet up to standard weight.

The $10,016,875 paid by Legend Numismatics on Jan. 24, 2013, in the Stack's Bowers Galleries auction included a 17.5 percent buyer's fee, as was added to the final closing hammer price of each lot won in the auction.

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