Historic 1oz gold coin goes for $4.6 million at auction

The first gold coin ever made in the United States fetched a record $4.58 million on auction last week, while a nickel made at the Philadelphia Mint in 1913 raised $3.3 million.

Th so-called Brasher Doubloon, the country's first gold coin denominated in dollars, has been off the market since it was bought by a Chicago resident in 1979 for $430,000.

"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," according to Todd Imhof, executive vice president of Heritage Auctions.

Blanchard & Co., the New Orleans-based coin and precious-metals company that brokered the deal, said the doubloon was purchased by a Wall Street investment firm. Identities of the buyer and seller weren't disclosed.

Minted by Ephraim Brasher in 1787, a goldsmith and neighbour of George Washington, the coin contains 26.66 grams of gold — slightly less than an ounce.

It was worth about $15 when it was minted while an ounce of gold now changes hands for around $1,250 an ounce.