Ear: flowing

On the subject of coins and history … the copper prototype of the first silver dollar, the "No Stars Flowing Hair Dollar" pattern, struck by the U.S. Mint in 1794, was sold by Heritage Auctions for businessman and Texas Rangers co-chairman Bob Simpson recently for $840,000, the Associated Press reports. Quite a coup, since the estimated value was $350,000 to $500,000. 

Starless coins are revered as "one-of-a-kind prototypes for the silver examples that would follow," Jacob Lipson, of Heritage Auctions, explained. "Coin collecting lore states the unique rarity was excavated from the site of the first Philadelphia Mint before 1876."

The coin is shown, courtesy of Heritage Auctions, which says this is the only example known of this pattern.

"I think coins should be appreciated almost as artwork," Simpson said. "I have gotten more than enough joy from them."

Elleda Wilson is an editorial assistant for The Astorian and author of the award-winning In One Ear community column. Contact her at 971-704-1718 or ewilson@dailyastorian.com.