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Getting to know you, getting to know all about you...If you have the good fortune to see an 1804 United States Draped Bust Heraldic Eagle, Silver Dollar, your heart might skip a beat like Deborah Kerr's and Yul Brynner's in "The King and I" (or Jodie Foster's and Chow Yun-Fat's in the 1999 remake). However, like a romance with a monarch who has 39 wives, finding a genuine 1804 King of Siam silver dollar is challenging to say the least. You'll need some great silver dollar tips to find the genuines, that's for sure.
None of the silver dollar coins with the 1804 date were produced in 1804, for a start, thanks to the high price of silver. The legend says that ten of the silver dollars, Class I, were produced for presentation to the King of Siam--King Mongkut's half-brother. (Trivia: King Mongkut was born the year the silver dollar was supposedly produced.) Rodgers and Hammerstein fans and coin collecting buffs will scramble like the King's children to find the seven coins known to exist.
Anna beware: Coin collectors have knowingly or unknowingly offered 1801, 1802 or 1803 silver dollars masquerading as 1804 silver dollars. If your coin has a collar (unlike most 1804 coins), it's probably genuine, or if it has a plain edge, it's a bona fide Class II silver dollar. Coins in the 1830s were minted with restraining collars, so you can tell an 1804 coin from an 1834 issue.
Chances are, like dancing with a king, the King of Coins won't come your way. A specimen did sell for $4.14 million at a public auction. The closest you'll probably get is a replica. If a coin dealer offers you a genuine silver dollar, have it examined or hightail it out of there on the nearest elephant.