Why The 1794 Silver Dollar Fetched Millions of Dollars at Auction - Twice
Many rare coins are auctioned off each year, but few fetch millions of dollars at auction. One such coin was a 1794 Silver Dollar, on two separate occasions. The first auctioned off at just over $10 million in 2013. (Coin World) The second, in 2015, went for just under $5 million. (Coin World) The 1794 Silver Dollar coins were one of the first to circulate through our young country and out of this coin was born the idea of what the dollar should be. Some numismatic experts say these were the first Silver dollars minted anywhere in the world that would dominate coinage in terms of circulation and popularity.
The 1794 Silver Dollars are rare coins and therefore are difficult to find, partly because they were minted more than 200 years ago. Also as the country expanded westward, coinage and other interests were lost. These coins mark an important piece of history and their value is something to behold.
What Makes 1794 Silver Dollars So Valuable?
There are different factors that make a coin so valuable, not the least of which is historical context. For numismatists, coin values matter. With the 1794 Silver Dollars it is especially so, which makes these coins so unique, rare and precious. Here are three reasons why the 1794 Silver Dollar is so valuable.
- First of its kind. These coins were the first metal dollar coins struck in the United States. They set the standard of the American dollar for many years. For its time, the high 90% Silver content was very valuable because the discovery of Silver was not as scaled as it is today. Requisitioning Silver was difficult in the late 1700s because of the political processes regarding land acquisition. Much of the acquired Silver was used for coin production. The first Silver Dollars had the most metal content when compared to other denominations of the time. (Coin Facts)
- Mintage. The Philadelphia Mint was the only mint in existence in 1794, but because the supply of Silver and other metals was limited, the mintage was low. Approximately 2,000 coins were minted in 1794, making it one of the lowest-mintage coins to ever exist. The low mintage marks an important historical lesson because these coins were even in high demand for the time. The Silver dollar added a perfect complement to other denominations circulating at the time.
- Condition. Much like finding the value of anything else, condition comes into play. The condition of the 1794 Silver Dollar auctioned in 2013 was "Certified as Specimen 66 by the Professional Coin Grading Service (PCGS)." (Coin World) The 1794 Silver Dollar from 2015 was also graded as a 66. It is a remarkable display of quality to have survived over 200 years.
If you happen to run across a 1794 Silver Dollar, make sure you hold onto it. They are extremely rare today, but under the right conditions, you can net millions at auction. These coins have the historical depth that numismatists desire and that drives the value and popularity up. There is so much rich information in regard to the 1794 Silver Dollar today and it is a case study that will take you back in time to explore the origins of our American dollar.