Wednesday, October 13, 2010

King of Siam coin

A reader asked me "What is King of Siam coin"? He heard a friends is selling his King of Siam coin at adorable price but the coin is a 1804 United States coin not Thailand (Siam). Is this some kind of fake or a scam or is this for real? How much is the value? To that particular reader, I suggest you search anything you want to buy at a high price like that in the Internet first before making any decision. Its not that hard to do some research about anything nowadays. Just go to Google and type what information you want to search. Yes.., that coin a fake. 1804 silver dollar is very rare and you can only see them in museum or private collections. Real 1804 silver dollar is worth millions dollars, fake only cost you few hundreds ringgit. 

In 1804, United States Mint records indicate that 19,750 silver dollars were struck. However, in keeping with common Mint practice at the time, these were all minted from old but still-usable dies dated 1803, and are indistinguishable from the coins produced the previous year. Silver dollars dated 1804 did not appear until 1834, when the U.S. Department of State was creating sets of coins to present as gifts to certain rulers in Asia in exchange for trade advantages. The U.S. Government ordered the Mint to produce "two specimens of each kind now in use, whether of gold, silver or copper". Since the silver dollar was still in use, but had last been recorded as produced in 1804, Mint employees struck several dollars with an 1804 date. Due to the cost-cutting measures of the US Mint in its early history and the reuse of 1803 dies, this act led to confusion.

The first 1804 silver dollars minted in 1834 were presented as gifts to Rama III, King of Siam and Said bin Sultan, Sultan of Muscat and Oman. The other five were dispersed under unknown circumstances after Ambassador Edmund Roberts died en route during the voyage. One was retained in the US Mint Coin Collection. In 1842, numismatists first learned of the 1804 dollar through a book displaying an illustration of the 1804 dollar from the Mint Cabinet. These silver dollars are known among numismatists as “original” or Class I 1804 dollars. Eight of these coins are known to exist. One currently resides in the Smithsonian Institution, one is in the American Numismatic Association museum, and the other six are in private collections.

Popular legend states that the rare coin given by King Rama IV of Siam to Anna Leonowens, as seen in the story of “Anna and the King of Siam” and the movie The King and I, was indeed the same 1804 silver dollar produced in 1834 as a gift to Siam. This coin was kept in Anna’s family for several generations, until in the 1950s it was sold by a pair of British ladies claiming to be Anna’s descendants. This coin was displayed as part of the “King of Siam” collection at the Smithsonian Institution in 1983, where it was given the name “the King of Coins.” It was purchased by an anonymous collector in 2001, who purchased the entire set of coins from the King of Siam collection for over $4 million.

Value:  1.00 U.S. dollar
Mass Class I:  26.96 g 
Mass Class II: 24.711 g 
Class III: 27.15-27.41 g 
Diameter:   39-40 mm 
Class II: Plain
Composition:  90.0% Ag 10.0% Cu
Years of minting:  Class I - 1834; Class II, Class III - 1858-1860.

Obverse: Design Bust of Liberty facing right
Designer:  Robert Scot
Design date:  1804

Reverse: Design Heraldic representation of the Great Seal of the United States with UNITED STATES OF AMERICA around the rim.
Designer:  Robert Scot

Source: Wikipedia
There is no easy money in numismatic world nowadays. If that deal is too good to be true, most probably they're trying to selling fake items. I got so many phone call or sms like that. But some people do get lucky finding treasure in their own backyard.

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