A legendary gold coin -- the first of its kind ever minted in the U.S. and once featured in the plot of a Raymond Chandler novel -- has sold at an auction in Florida for more than $4.5 million.
The “Brasher doubloon” was purchased for $4,582,500 by an unidentified buyer during the U.S. Coin Signature Auction at last week’s Florida United Numismatists Convention in Orlando, according to Agence France-Presse, which cited a report from the auctioneer, Heritage Auctions.
Believed to be the world’s most valuable coin, the Brasher doubloon was reportedly minted for general circulation in 1787 by New York City silversmith Ephraim Brasher, who lived just feet from George Washington after the Revolutionary War. Washington reportedly lived at 3 Cherry Street and Brasher resided next door at 1 Cherry Street on Manhattan's Lower East Side.
"The legendary Brasher Doubloon is one of the most important coins in American history because it's the first gold coin struck for the young United States and it's one of only a handful that exist," Todd Imhof, executive vice president of Heritage Auctions, told the wire service.
The coin, which Heritage Auctions says has been off the market since Chicagoan Walter Perschke bought it in 1979 for $430,000, was once the center of the 1942 Raymond Chandler novel, “The High Window.”
In the book, tough-talking fictional private investigator Philip Marlowe investigates the doubloon’s theft from the home of a wealthy widow, Elizabeth Bright Murdock.
But the Brasher doubloon wasn’t the only coin with pop culture significance to be sold at the Florida auction.
AFP reports a second coin once featured on “Hawaii Five-O” -- a 1913 Liberty Head nickel made at the Philadelphia mint – sold for $3.3 million. One of five of the nickels known to exist, it was reportedly only revealed in public seven years after its creation when it was offered for sale by a former mint employee.