- Associated Press - Sunday, February 28, 2016

VIRGINIA BEACH, Va. (AP) - John Brush has a dollar worth a million dollars.

Brush recently bought an American dollar coin from 1794. The American relic is as rare as it is old.

“It’s an honor to own this kind of coin,” said Brush, president of David Lawrence Rare Coins, which is based in Virginia Beach. “It’s a very historically significant coin. It’s clearly a million-dollar coin.”

Lady Liberty is on one side, and an early design of the U.S. eagle is on the other. Brush’s coin was likely in circulation for a short time, judging by the minimal wear, he said. The Numismatic Guaranty Corporation authenticated the 222-year-old piece of currency.

Brush has it listed for $975,000 online. Within a day, two buyers had expressed interest, he said.

Buyers are often coin collectors, Brush said, and it’s a popular hobby among older veterans.

The coin first came on Brush’s radar at a 2008 auction in Illinois. He spent eight years waiting for the former owner to be ready to sell it.

Because of a purchase agreement, Brush can’t disclose how much he paid. Another 1794 American dollar sold for $10 million in 2013, according to the Professional Coin Grading Service, which authenticates rare coins.

The $10 million coin spent some time at the Edward C. Rochette Money Museum in Colorado. Most 1794 dollars are worth six figures, said Doug Mudd, the museum’s director. Sometimes, if a coin has a special attribute or is in exceptionally good condition, it can top $1 million.

Regardless of condition, the 1794 dollar is valuable in tracing American history, Mudd said. Only about 1,700 dollar coins were made that year, all on the same day, he said.

The U.S. Mint had been operating for just two years, and the 1794 dollar was one marker of the United States’ newfound independence.

Before that, Americans relied on Spanish currency. Some parts of the United States used English currency, but Spain’s money was often used in international trade. Brush considers the dollar the beginning of American currency.

“Whoever found the coin shouldn’t consider themselves a millionaire,” Mudd said, “but they do have something very valuable.”

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Information from: The Virginian-Pilot, https://pilotonline.com

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