A rare 1776 Continental dollar that was bought at a French flea market for less than $1 is worth nearly $100,000.
The coin was purchased by a person who has remained anonymous to this point for 56 cents in June 2018, according to a statement from Professional Coin Grading Services (PCGS), which graded the coin.
“The seller had a cookie box full of coins and medals for sale and, while the buyer was looking through it, the seller pulled out another box of coins with this coin on top,” PCGS wrote in the statement. “The buyer unfamiliar with this piece asked a price, and the seller said 50 [Euro] cents. The coin was purchased, and the new owner later Googled ‘Continental Currency’ and ‘1776’ to discover what he had. Believing he had found a treasure, he took it to a local coin dealer for authenticity, who was unsure and suggested he send it to the United States for authentication.”
(Credit: Professional Coin Grading Services)
The rare coin, which is made of pewter, contains three rings, which led the buyer to inquire about his purchase: the center ring, a sundial, has sun rays and reads “MIND YOUR BUSINESS” below it. The next ring features “FUGIO” and the sun, and the last says “CONTINENTAL CURRENCY.”
On the opposite side of the coin is a design of interlocking chain links that features the names of the 13 colonial states. Inside those rings are two separate rings, one that reads “WE ARE ONE” and the other reading “AMERICAN CONGRESS.”
It’s unclear where Continental dollars were made, PCGS added. Some experts believe they were “made as satire by England” in an effort to mock the currency of the newly formed U.S.
Despite that, they’re still rare and valuable, PCGS explained. “While the origin of these pieces is still under debate, the 1776 Continental Dollars are important early coinage celebrating the birth of the brand-new nation of the United States.”
PCGS put a value of $97,500 on the coin, adding that it “represents a true treasure.”
Rare coins are big business. Last year, an extremely rare half-dollar coin from 1838 was sold at auction for $504,000.
An extremely rare 1894 dime, one of only 24 minted and once owned by former Lakers owner Jerry Buss, sold at auction for $1.32 million last year, including the buyer’s commission.
In 2016, an 1894-S dime sold for $2 million at a Florida auction.
Fox News’ James Rogers contributed to this story.