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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If you’re interested…

Today you can own the TWELVE coin collection of America’s most fascinating and collectable coin issues with the Infamous US coins set. But you’ll have to hurry – there are only 25 sets available!

Click here to see the coins and secure yours today >>

As you’re reading this, I hope you are safe and well. As far as I can see, we’re all adapting magnificently to the challenges the current coronavirus pandemic has brought – though between you and me, I’m losing count of the number of Zoom pub quizzes I’ve done!

The need to adapt has hit Mints around the world too. But it’s not all bad news, as to my delight – and I’m sure many collectors will share in this – an unexpected modern rarity has emerged.

You see, the Silver Eagle is the flagship bullion coin of the US, and is widely collected. But now, thanks to the outbreak, it is about to become THE most in-demand coin in the WORLD

2020(P) Emergency Silver Eagle

US Emergency coin web images Obverse reverse - An unexpected modern rarity: how Covid-19 created one of the rarest US Silver Dollars

Bullion Silver Eagles, which have no mintmark, are normally struck at the US Mint’s West Point Mint in New York. However, due to the Covid-19 pandemic the West Point Mint was temporarily shut down, meaning no Silver Eagles could be produced.

Yet demand for Silver Eagle bullion coins exploded as collectors flocked to secure bullion coins, seen as a safe investment haven amidst the economic uncertainty caused by the pandemic.

In an unusual move, and to allay the demand, production of the Silver Eagles was picked up by the Philadelphia Mint. The result being a limited batch of Silver Eagles struck in under two weeks.

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Second RAREST Silver Eagle in US history

US Emergency coin web images capsule 1 - An unexpected modern rarity: how Covid-19 created one of the rarest US Silver Dollars

According to official US Mint documentation dated April 27, 2020, the limited run at the Philadelphia Mint produced JUST 240,000 Silver Eagles.

This may seem like a lot of coins, but let me put that into perspective for you. Millions of bullion Silver Eagles are struck every year – last year over 15 million were minted! In comparison the 2020(P) Emergency Silver Eagle is incredibly scarce.

In fact, it is the second RAREST Silver Eagle coin to ever exist in the 34-year history of the bullion American Silver Eagle series. It is only the 2015(P) issue that is rarer, with a mintage of 79,640. 

This makes the 2020(P) Emergency Silver Eagles one of the most limited coins in US history, and instantly catapults it to the top of the must-have list for all collectors…


If you’re interested…

Through my contacts in America, I’m lucky to have been able to bring some of these fascinating coins to the UK. Each one is encapsulated, boxed and certified by the American Numismatic Association Certification Service (ANACS).

But considering how rare this issue is, I don’t expect the limited number I’ve secured to last long. Nor do I expect to be able to secure more – I’m certain the entire edition limit will be snapped up in the US before we know it.

Click here to find out more and secure one for your collection >>

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