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Las Vegas man sells one of the world’s rarest coins for $12M

A Las Vegas man has sold a historic silver dollar coin to a company in California for $12 million.

The coin itself is believed to be the first silver dollar ever made by the U.S. Mint, and experts say it is in great condition. Vegas business executive Bruce Morelan paid $10,016,875 for the coin in 2013 and exhibited it across the country and in Europe, according to GreatCollections Coin Auctions, the Irvine, California, company that bought the coin.

Ian Russell, president of GreatCollections, said that the coin has historical significance and was intended to help replace Spanish, English, Dutch and French coins that were in circulation in the country’s post-Colonial era. The front of the coin shows the year 1794 and “an allegorical female representation of liberty” with the word “LIBERTY,” the company said, and the back shows an eagle surrounded by a wreath and the words “UNITED STATES OF AMERICA.”

“Because of its significance, it was likely seen by President George Washington, Treasury Secretary Alexander Hamilton and then-Secretary of State Thomas Jefferson who oversaw the young United States Mint,” Russell said in a statement. “Without question, this is America’s most coveted silver dollar, a numismatic national treasure.”

Russell said 1,758 of the coins were made in Philadelphia on a hand-turned press and delivered to government officials in October 1794.

“Only about 140 still survive, and this 1794 silver dollar is the only known specimen-striking, substantially better than the examples in the Smithsonian Institution’s National Numismatic Collection and the American Numismatic Association museum,” Russell said.

According to Russell, the coin is now the most valuable silver coin in the world and the second most valuable rare coin of any kind.

Morelan, 60, said he started collecting coins at age 6 and always dreamed of owning the historic coin.

“Coins are in my blood, and the 1794 dollar was a lifelong dream,” Morelan said in a statement. “I’m truly blessed to have owned it and hope the new owner has as much joy, pride, and satisfaction as I did.”

Contact Alexis Ford at aford@reviewjournal.com or follow @alexisdford on Twitter.

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