A 1794 Flowing Hair Silver Dollar - an example of what is thought to be the first silver coin struck by the US Mint - brought $10m in the US yesterday (January 24), taking the world record for the most valuable coin ever sold.
Another 1794 Flowing Hair Silver Dollar previously held the world record, having changed hands through a private treaty for $7.9m in 2010. The silver dollar has also trumped the previous record for most valuable coin ever auctioned, which until yesterday was held by a 1933 Saint-Gaudens Double Eagle, which brought $7.6m in 2002.
The difference in value between the 2010 Flowing Hair Silver Dollar and yesterday's star lot represents a 26.5% increase, or 12.5% pa.
Chris Napolitano, the auction house's president, commented: "While it is well known that the value of the American dollar has depreciated over the years, here is a dollar that has increased in value beyond the wildest of anyone's dreams."
The new world record-holding coin shows Miss Liberty in profile, facing right, surrounded by stars, which represent each state of the union. The reverse features an eagle. Since the design was used for a very short time between 1794 and 1795, few were struck, and of those produced, even fewer remain today.
The coin was bought by a New Jersey-based firm that specialises in rare coins. It was the uncontested highlight of a sale that brought $17.2m overall.
Coins not only offer strong investment potential - with results rivalling postage stamps in recent years - but are also fascinating items, steeped in history, which have exchanged hands thousands of times.
For more information on the investment potential of the rare coin market, see Paul Fraser Collectibles' free guide to investing in coins.
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