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No inflation? Rare gold coin doubles in value in two years

Section: Daily Dispatches

Collector Pays $5 Million for Rare Gold Coin

By The Associated Press
via Yahoo News
Thursday, October 4, 2007

A rare $10 gold coin made for President Andrew Jackson to give as a diplomatic gift during trade missions to Asia was purchased Thursday by a private collector for $5 million.

The 1804-dated Eagle coin -- which was actually struck in 1834 at the Philadelphia Mint -- is one of only four surviving examples of the special coin.

"The buyer and seller want to remain anonymous. Both are northeastern United States entrepreneurs who have been collecting coins since they were young boys," said David Albanese, president of Albanese Rare Coins, which handled the sale.

The same coin sold for $1 million in 2003 and again in 2005 for $2.47 million, said Dean Albanese, the company's chief executive officer.

"It is one of the rare U.S. coins out there. They are neat pieces in that in one sense they are not really a coin made in 1804, even though it is dated 1804 ... it is sort of a created coin," said Douglas Mudd, curator of the American Numismatic Association Museum in Colorado Springs, Colo.

All four of the 1834-minted $10 coins are held by private collectors, although one is on 25-year loan to the Colorado museum, Mudd said.

The pristine-condition coin depicts a turban-wearing symbolic "Miss Liberty" surrounded by 13 stars representing the original 13 colonies. The word "Liberty" is near the top of the coin and the date 1804 at the bottom. The reverse shows a spread-winged eagle surrounded by the words, "United States of America."

The $5 million purchase price was the highest price ever paid for an 1804-dated $10 gold piece and shares the record for the world's second most valuable rare coin with a 1913 nickel that sold this year, Dean Albanese said. The world's most valuable coin is a 1933 Saint-Gaudens gold Double Eagle that was purchased at auction in 2002 by an anonymous buyer for $7.59 million.

Because of its high-grade condition and history, the coin sold Thursday is considered "the King of Eagles," Dean Albanese said.

The coin was actually the first specimen from a proof set commissioned by Jackson to be used as a presentation piece for dignitaries of other countries, said Dean Albanese, who is writing a book about the 1804 Eagles.

The treasury had stopped minting the $10 Eagle coins in 1804. So when Jackson asked for the proof sets in 1834, the old 1804 dies had to be used, he said. The proof sets, which included every denomination of U.S. coin, were to be given to the leaders of China, Siam, Japan and Muscat.

Only two of the proof sets actually made it to their destinations -- the envoy carrying the other two died of dysentery before he could present them, Dean Albanese said.

The coin sold Thursday was lost until the 1960s, he said, adding that it had three previous private owners that he knows about. Its history before that is "sketchy."

As part of the transaction Thursday, the anonymous buyer also paid a record $1.7 million for one of only three known $10 denomination proof gold pieces dated 1838.

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