A rare $10 gold coin used as a diplomatic gift during trade missions of U.S. president 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.
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 "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 is at the bottom. The other side 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.
The U.S. 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. The proof sets, which included every denomination of U.S. coin, were to be given to the leaders of China, Siam (now Thailand), Japan and Muscat.
Only two of the proof sets made it to their destinations. The envoy carrying the other two died of dysentery before he could present them, Dean Albanese said.