Throwback Thursday: The King of American Coins

December 11, 2014 By ekr


The Illustrated History of the United States Mint is full of interesting plates. Pictured here is the 1804 silver dollar. According to the book, the dollar was valued at $570 in 1892.

The 1804 silver dollar was made on behalf of President Andrew Jackson and is often referred to by collectors as “The King of American Coins.” The obverse features Miss Liberty, 1804, and LIBERTY written across the top of it. The reverse has 13 stars (representing the original 13 colonies), an eagle, the words UNITED STATES OF AMERICA and the motto, E PLURIBUS UNUM.

So what makes this coin so rare? Mint records indicate that 19,570 silver dollars were struck in 1804;  but researchers disagree. Many believe that those coins were dated either 1802 or 1803 because leftover coin-making dies were used during those years. Today, only 15 silver dollars are known.

To give you an idea of what an 1804 dollar is worth today, pull out your “Red Book” and take a look. In August of 1999 an 1804 First Reverse, Original sold for $4,140,000 at a Stack’s Bowers auction. In 2009, an 1804 Second Reverse, Restrike sold in a Heritage auction for $2,300,000. In 2013, an 1804 silver dollar in mint condition sold at Heritage Auctions for $3,877,500.

Challenge: List the names of all 15 known specimens. As an extra challenge, list who currently owns each silver dollar.
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