You might have heard in the news recently that the world’s most expensive coin is due to be sold at auction next month.

The 1794 Flowing Hair Dollar is believed to be the first silver dollar to be struck by the US Mint. It was last for sale in 2013 and was auctioned for just over $10 Million Dollars, making it the most expensive coin in the world.

Flowing hair dollar - Five things you need to know about the world’s most expensive coin…
The Flowing Hair Dollar Obverse. Image credit: the National Numismatic Collection, National Museum of American History

The First US Dollar

In 1792, the US Congress issued an act stating that the Dollar was to be the cornerstone of US coinage. It was to be based on the Spanish Silver Dollar which was already widely used throughout the Americas. The act also stated that coins should include a symbol of Lady Liberty as well as an eagle – two icons that remain today on many US coins.

Where the nickname came from

The coin was designed by Robert Scot, who was Chief Engraver at the US Mint. His take on the bust of Liberty is what gave rise to the nickname of the coin with its detailed hair ‘flowing’ from the head of Lady Liberty. There are also fifteen stars on the coin, to represent each of the 15 states that had ratified the Constitution.

Was it just a PR stunt?

It’s thought that because the US was still struggling from the impact of the War of Independence it didn’t have access to much silver and other precious metals. Historians have argued that the introduction of a silver dollar was a way to showcase the power and capability of the US.

Flowing hair dollar reverse - Five things you need to know about the world’s most expensive coin…
The Flowing Hair Dollar Reverse. Image credit: the National Numismatic Collection, National Museum of American History

Very few of the 1794 Dollars were issued but they weren’t released into general circulation. They were mostly given to international VIPs or important congressmen, further adding fuel to the rumours that the Dollar was originally issued as part of a PR stunt.

Struck on just one day in October

Only 1,758 of these coins were struck, and according to the National Museum of American History, they were all minted on the same day. It’s thought that of this tiny number, less than 150 still survive today. Many would have been hidden forever, or melted down for their precious metal content, adding to the coin’s collectability.

It’s given rise to one of the most competitive collecting markets worldwide…

Eight of the top ten most expensive coins are US coins and the market is one of the most competitive around the world. Whether it’s the Coin of the Cowboys, the Mercury Dime, or even the first Half Dollar to feature a non-president, US coins have some of the most collectable stories attached to them. It’s hardly surprising that many collectors are looking to source American coins for their collection these days.

The Flowing Hair Dollar is due to be sold on October 8th 2020. How much do you think it will sell for this time? Let us know in the comments below!


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People tripped, fell and were trampled on in the rush to get in line at the U.S. Mint in Denver on 7th August. They were all after one coin – the John F. Kennedy 50th Anniversary Gold Half Dollar.

After the official launch at the ANA World Money Fair in Chicago, thousands of collectors queued up at U.S. Mint locations each day in the hope of securing one of the 500 coins due to be released daily, with most selling out in just a few hours.

The rush was so intense that the police had to be called to calm things down. The US Mint were eventually forced to suspend in-person sales of the coin and released the following statement:

“The United States Mint and the American Numismatic Association (ANA) announced today that sales of the 2014 50th Anniversary Kennedy Half-Dollar Gold Proof Coin have been suspended at the ANA’s World’s Fair of Money in Rosemont, Ill. The Mint and the ANA made the decision to ensure the safety of those wanting to purchase the coin and the safety of their own employees.”

jfk hlaf dollar - The coin that caused a modern day gold rush

The coin that caused a modern day gold rush

Why did this coin cause such a frenzy?

Issued to mark the 50th anniversary of the first Kennedy half dollar, it is the first ever US half dollar to be issued in 24 Carat gold. The reverse design also features a ring of 50 stars – more than any other US coin produced for circulation.

In fact, dealers were so keen to get hold of the first release coins they were buying the coin straight back off members of the public and some were even offering people $600 to queue and buy the coin for them.


 

jfk half dollar - The coin that caused a modern day gold rushIf you are interested…

The Westminster Collection managed to beat the rush and reserve a limited number of 2014 Anniversary JFK Gold Proof Half Dollars.

NOW SOLD OUT