Editor's note: This article is part of a series that reviews Utah and US history for KSL.com's historical section.
SALT LAKE CITY – What is a penny worth?
It depends on which coin you are looking at; and if you happened to have a coin of silver from San Francisco from 1894 lying around, you could be a millionaire.
Utah businessman and owner of Real Salt Lake Dell Loy Hansen paid $ 1.32 million for the 125-year-old coin during an auction at the American Numismatic Association 2019 World's Fair of Money in Chicago Thursday night.
"It's one of the three best-known coins issued by the United States coins," said John Brush, president of Virginia-based David Lawrence Rare Coins, which he co-owns with Hansen. The company made the purchase on behalf of Hansen for its personal collection.
So what makes this 1[ads1]894 crown so special? It starts at the San Francisco Mint, which produced two dozen early versions of the coin for presentation with the belief that many more would be produced later in the year. However, the US coin never ordered more versions of the coin, Brush explained. As of 2019, it is only known that nine of these coins exist.
Note that the coin was once owned by Utah native Jerry Buss, a businessman who had controlling ownership in the Los Angeles Lakers at his time. in 2013, according to Brush.
The United States has minted more than 3,600 different coins in common issue since the 1792 Coin Act was adopted. The 1894 cartilage purchase, Hansen leaves only six coins shy of collecting one of each coin ever minted, Brush added. It's a project Hansen and David Lawrence Rare Coins have been working on for four years.
Collecting one of every American coin ever minted was a goal that, at least in the coin world, was most famously achieved by Louis Eliasburg in 1950. But the famous Eliasberg collection dates only from 1964. Eliasberg died in 1976, and Brush noted Hansen's goal is to fill the 55-year gap in US coins.
Brush said that he and Hansen are aware of the remaining coins needed, but noted that none of the coins are for sale or auction at this time. He did not identify which coins were, but pointed out that all six are gold coins and are not something that can be found in circulation.
"The coins that are still on our list are just so rare that there are probably less than 10 of each," he said. "For us, it comes down to having to wait. You really want those coins , you know where they are, but you can't always have them.… Collectors tend to keep the coins that are special to them, and these remaining coins are certain coins that will be special. ”
However, Brush said the internet has provided today's coin collectors an advantage because the whereabouts of each coin are easy to find, explaining that Eliasberg acquired most of his collection by purchasing two large collections that existed at that time. Using the internet nowadays, Brush and Hansen have managed to track the "highest quality we could possibly find" of each coin.
While the quest to complete the coin collection continues, Brush added that there are plans in the works to exhibit the coins Hansen already owns, including the krone in 1894. They plan to l donate more of the coins to national exhibitions in the future. They hope to do so will arouse interest in the world of coin collection.
"While talking about a $ 1.32 million coin, coin collecting is still a hobby that anyone can enjoy whether the coin is (worth) $ 10 or $ 1 million," Brush said. "It's an interesting part of the hobby. You never know what you'll find in the pocket change. ”