The auction house, based in Dallas, said in a news release Friday the coin -- also called a silver nickel and thought to have been minted from silverware belonging to the first U.S. first lady, Martha Washington -- is one of 250 coins still around from the minting of the first U.S. coins following passage of the Mint Act.
"This is a storied and famous coin in American numismatics," said Greg Rohan, president of Heritage Auctions. "Not only is it widely reported that these coins were struck from Martha Washington's silver service -- at the behest of George Washington, no less -- some numismatists over the decades have theorized that Mrs. Washington also posed as Ms. Liberty for the engraver. Whether that is really the case, however, is lost to history."
The coin -- also called a Half Disme and often referred to as The Floyd Starr Example -- was part of a rare coin and currency auction that brought in more than $50 million Thursday, the news release said.