1804 Dollar

1804 Draped Bust Dollar Sells for $2.64 Million

By Joshua McMorrow-Hernandez, Editor

The world-famous 1804 Draped Bust dollar, known as “The King of American Coins,” commanded $2.64 million in a Heritage Auctions event on June 14 at the Long Beach Expo. One of only 15 known 1804 dollars, the Mickley-Hawn-Queller specimen, graded PR62 by PCGS, is among just eight Class I examples struck in the mid 1830s for inclusion in special proof sets that were presented as diplomatic gifts to foreign heads of state.

While the Mickley-Hawn-Queller 1804 dollar brought a headline-worthy price topping $2.6 million, it did not manage to even approach, let alone surpass, its going price in 2013 of $3,877,500, then up slightly from $3,737,500 paid for the coin in 2008. In the most recent transaction, the Mickley-Hawn-Queller dollar was purchased by John Brush, president of David Lawrence Rare Coins (DLRC) in Virginia Beach, Virginia, on behalf of DLRC partner D.L. Hansen. “I would say that Brush/Hansen were able to acquire this great rarity at a great price — effectively the CDN wholesale bid level for this item,” says CDN Publisher, John Feigenbaum. “That’s exactly where it’s been priced in the Monthly Greysheet and there should be excellent opportunity to make a nice profit on this coin when/if they ever decide to sell,” he adds. Greysheet prices the 1804 dollar are at $2,500,000 in PR60, and in PR63 the coin is pegged at $3 million, placing the $2.64 million final bid for the PR62 Mickley-Hawn-Queller specimen in the middle range of those listed prices.

“We were ecstatic to be a part of the purchase of such a legendary numismatic rarity. We purchased the coin on behalf of our partner, Dell Loy Hansen, to be added to his incredible collection. We had discussed the coin prior to the auction, but the decision to bid on it was literally made 5-10 lots before it was auctioned. With the previous auction records from 2008 and 2013 of $3.7-$3.8M, we thought that it was a bargain if we could acquire if somewhere below $3M. In the end, we thought that the final realization of $2,640,000 was a fantastic value and we were very happy to add it to what is quickly becoming the greatest coin collection of all-time!” — John Brush, President, David Lawrence Rare Coins

The highest price ever recorded for a Class I 1804 dollar is $4,140,000, paid in 1999 for the finest-known 1804 dollar grading PR68. Adjusted for inflation, that 1999 figure tops $6.3 million today. Historically, the 1804 dollar was the world’s most valuable coin. However, that is a claim that has long since been relinquished to other numismatic trophies, such as the 1933 Saint-Gaudens double eagle, which trounced the 1804 dollar in 2002 with a final bid of $7,590,020. Still, the 1804 dollar is one of the hobby’s most famous rarities and is coveted by collectors the world over.