CEO’s historic $10 million silver dollar in Vegas auction

Art Daily
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Believed by experts to be the first silver dollar ever made by U.S. Mint in 1794.
Believed by experts to be the first silver dollar ever made by U.S. Mint in 1794.

LAS VEGAS, NV.- A Las Vegas, Nevada resident who owns the most valuable rare coin ever purchased at auction now is selling his prized possession, a superb condition silver dollar made in 1794 and believed by many experts to be the first silver dollar ever struck by the United States Mint. It will be in an auction in Vegas this fall.

Business executive Bruce Morelan paid a record $10,061,875 for the acclaimed rare coin in 2013 and exhibited it across the country and in Europe.

“This historic coin is a national numismatic treasure that symbolized the young USA’s financial independence. Because of its significance in 1794 it was likely seen at the time by President George Washington, Secretary of State Thomas Jefferson who oversaw the Mint, and by Alexander Hamilton, the first Secretary of the Treasury,” said Matthew Bell, chief executive officer of Legend Auctions of Lincroft, New Jersey.

Legend will offer the coin and other rare, early American silver dollars from Morelan’s top-rated collection during a public auction at The Venetian Hotel in Las Vegas and online on October 8, 2020.

An electrical contractor, Morelan, 58, has collected coins since the age of six.

“Coins are in my blood, and the 1794 dollar was a lifelong dream,” he stated. “I’m truly blessed to have owned it, and hope the new owner has as much joy, pride, and satisfaction as I did. Now that my early American dollars collection is complete and nothing else can be added, I’ve decided it’s time for other collectors to enjoy these magnificent coins.”

Among the 14 other early American silver dollars in the auction from Morelan’s collection is one of the eight known 1804-dated dollars specially struck in the mid-1830s.

“These were made as diplomatic gifts to Persian Gulf and Asian dignitaries and presented by a U.S. State Department representative on behalf of President Andrew Jackson. They are highly desirable today, and we estimate this 1804 dollar at $4 million,” explained Bell.

The coins have been certified genuine and graded by Professional Coin Grading Service (PCGS), the world’s leading rare coin authentication and grading company. PCGS rates Morelan’s early silver dollars collection as the best of its kind. The 1794 dollar was graded as 66 (on a scale of 1 to 70) and attributed as a specially-made specimen strike.

“Of the 1,758 silver dollars the Mint delivered in October 1794, perhaps less than 130 are known to still survive, and this particular coin is the finest known,” said Brett Charville, President of Professional Coin Grading Service.

“It also is the only 1794 dollar designated as a specimen strike because of the obviously deliberate care taken in its manufacture. Careful attention was made to ensure this coin’s specific weight and the silver disc on which it was produced was specially prepared and polished to give the resulting coin a better reflective surface. The design is so sharply struck it appears this certainly could have been the first impression of the dies used to produce the first silver dollars on a hand-turned coin press in Philadelphia in 1794,” Charville explained.

Previous owners of this coin included the family of Amon G. Carter, publisher of the Fort Worth Star-Telegram newspaper.