Lorin was noted for his baked-bean
business in Boston, but he
also amassed one of the most notable coin collections
in the late 19th century. There still are rare
coins today that carry Lorin's
pedigree, such as the "1804 Parmelee
Just 15 are known to exist; only eight --
including Lorin's -- are Class I specimens, one of
which sold for
$2.64 million at a 2018 auction in Long Beach, Calif.
And now for the great story behind these coins:
Silver dollars actually struck in 1804 bear the
date 1803. Die steel was prohibitively expensive, so
the mint used its dies until they finally wore out.
In fact, nearly every coin struck from 1793 to 1825
had some made in a year other that the date on them.
Flash forward to 1834, when the State Department
decided to produce a complete set of U.S. coins as
gifts to overseas dignitaries and leaders. A look at
mint records showed that 1804 was the last year the
dollar and the $10 Eagle were both struck, so
officials decided the coins in the gift sets would
all bear that date. Yet none of the mint officials
knew that all 19,000-plus dollars recorded as struck
in 1804 actually bore the date 1803 -- no
"1804" dollar had ever been minted.
Unit they made these gift sets. Yes, all silver
dollars stamped 1804 were produced in 1834 for these
An unknown woman supposedly purchased Lorin's from
the U.S. Mint for face value during the Polk
administration, 1845-49. She sold it to E.H. Sanford
for an unnamed sum in 1868. Six years later, Lorin
paid $700 for it from the Sanford collection and held
it until 1890 (a second source says 1892) when he
sold it to Byron Reed of Omaha, Neb., for $570. The
dollar remained in the Omaha Public Library
collection until the 1980s when it was transferred to
the Western Heritage Museum of Omaha, which is now
the Durham Museum.
Another rare coin of Lorin's, the 1793
Flowing Hair Wreath Cent
with a "strawberry leaf," recently was
listed for sale.