Thoughts on Owning an 1804 Silver Dollar

Fort Worth, Texas, dealer B. Max Mehl had two favorite rarities: the 1913 Liberty Head nickel, which was the focal point of millions of dollars’ worth of advertising for his Star Rare Coin Encyclopedia, and the 1804 silver dollar, the latter called the “King of American Coins.”

The following is excerpted from Mehl’s catalog of the William Forrester Dunham Collection, 1941, in which an 1804 dollar was offered:

“Such great collections as the Col. E.H.R. Green, which is at least a two million dollar collection; the Waldo Newcomer Collection, a million dollar collection; the Virgil M. Brand Collection, which was appraised at three and one half million, and many other great collections did not possess an original 1804 dollar.

“The Harlan P. Smith Collection, which contained all the rare gold half eagles including the 1815 and 1822, and the Earle Collection, which brought over $50,000 in 1912, did not have an 1804 dollar. Colonel Green and Mr. Newcomer were willing to pay almost any price to obtain a specimen, but none were available.

“As it has always been truly said that “ownership and pride of possession contribute a large part of the pleasure of collecting” surely, then, the joy and pride of ownership of this famous coin, “the King of American Coins,” can never be measured in dollars and cents. Its acquisition will provide a thrill which only a true collector can appreciate and enjoy—its ownership, a treasure to be valued and enjoyed an entire lifetime, and which will always be the source of untold dividends in price and happiness.”



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