LAS VEGAS - A Las Vegas man received $12 million for a silver dollar that many rare coin experts believe is the first silver dollar ever produced by the United States Mint.
GreatCollections Coin Auctions of Irvine, California, purchased the coin, according to a news release.
According to the company, the coin’s owner, Bruce Morelan, a 60-year-old Las Vegas business executive, paid more than $10 million for the rare coin in 2013. A previous owner was Amon G. Carter Sr., a former publisher of the Fort Worth Star-Telegram newspaper, the company said.
"Because of its sharpness of detail, researchers believe this coin was specially struck, perhaps as a presentation of the country's first dollar coin," president of GreatCollections Ian Russell said. "Because of its significance, it was likely seen by President George Washington, Treasury Secretary Alexander Hamilton, and then-Secretary of State Thomas Jefferson who oversaw the young United States Mint. Without question, this is America's most coveted silver dollar, a numismatic national treasure. It gave me chills closing the transaction for this piece of history."
It’s believed a total of 1,758 silver dollars in were made in Philadelphia that were delivered to government officials in 1794. The coins were to replace Spanish, English, Dutch and French coins that were being used in the U.S. during the post-colonial era.
"Only about 140 still survive, and this 1794 silver dollar is the only known specimen-striking, substantially better than the examples in the Smithsonian Institution's National Numismatic Collection and the American Numismatic Association museum," Russell said.
The front of the dollars shows the date 1794 with an allegorical female representation of liberty as well as the word, "LIBERTY." The back of the coin is an eagle surrounded by a wreath and the words, "UNITED STATES OF AMERICA."
GreatCollections said the coin was authenticated by experts at Professional Coin Grading Service.
"Coins are in my blood, and the 1794 dollar was a lifelong dream," Morelan said, revealing that he has been a coin collector since he was 6 years old. "I'm truly blessed to have owned it, and hope the new owner has as much joy, pride, and satisfaction as I did."
This story was reported from Los Angeles.