By Amanda Marrazzo (Freelance Reporter-Chicago Tribune)
Aug. 12, 2015
Rare gold coin valued at more than $4.5 million at Rosemont fair
Adam Crum beamed as he held his prized 1787 Brasher Doubloon gold coin like a child holding a favorite toy on Christmas morning.
The rare and storied coin, insured for $10 million, is one of seven of its kind known to still exist, experts say.
The coin is just one of thousands of items on display through Saturday during the 2015 World's Fair of Money at the Donald E. Stephens Center in Rosemont.
"I've always dreamed of having one," said Crum, vice president of Monaco Rare Coins in Newport Beach, Calif. He said he hopes to one day see his prized coin displayed in the Museum of American Finance in New York.
On the day it was minted, the handcrafted coin had a face value of $16 — a far cry from the more than $4.5 million Crum paid for it at auction in Florida more than a year ago.
Its bounty rises still.
Crum said he has since been offered more than $6 million by two separate dealers. And, as he stood in the American Numismatic Association's fair Tuesday, yet another dealer rang his phone with an inquiry, he said.
The fair exhibits include $100,000 gold certificates, the highest denomination paper money ever produced, said Kevin Brown, spokesman for the U.S. Bureau of Engraving and Printing. The certificates were used by Federal Reserve banks until the 1960s, when electronic transfers were made possible, he said.
Spectators also will find the rare 1913 Liberty Head nickel valued at $2.5 million, as well as an 1804 silver dollar, insured for $4 million, one of six in existence, fair facilitators said.
Also on exhibit is the 1792 half disme cent, whose name comes from the early spelling of the word "dime." Enthusiasts say the coin, whose face value was originally 5 cents, was made from Martha Washington's silver. Other coins on display are more than 2,700 years old, retrieved from ancient Greece.
The fair also offers collections from public and private mints around the world, featuring items that range in price from $1 to $1 million.
Dale Winter, of Dubuque, Iowa, one of more than 1,000 dealers on site, displayed some of his collection, including a 1793 penny "that could have been held by George Washington." Winter estimated the coin's value at $10,000.
Douglas Mudd, curator for the nonprofit numismatic association, said collectors are drawn to coins and currency for many reasons, including their mystery and historical background.
Some collectors search for an item to mark the year they were born, or some other meaningful event. Others seek to collect coins and bills for their messages, such as "In God We Trust," he said.
"It's history in your hands," Mudd said.
Admission is free Saturday. Those attending will find numismatic experts available to give free educational appraisals of old coins and paper money from 11 a.m. and 2 p.m.
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