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Last Updated: Wednesday, 3 March, 2004, 18:46 GMT
$1m silver dollar unearthed in US
The finder said he had no idea how much the coin was worth
One of the world's rarest coins, an 1866 silver US dollar worth more than $1m and feared lost, has been found by a librarian in the United States.

The coin is thought to be one of only two 1866 dollars minted without the "In God We Trust" inscription.

It was stolen almost 40 years ago from the prestigious du Pont family in an armed raid in Miami, Florida.

The man who found it said it turned up amongst a hoard of coins given to him by an "eccentric friend", AP reported.

He told coin experts at the American Numismatic Rarities (AMR) coin auction firm that his friend had gone bankrupt and offered him the coins as collateral for a loan.

The man, who works as a librarian in the US state of Maine, said he had no idea how much the coin was worth until he saw a notice of auction for the other 1866 silver dollar.

Stolen property

He then contacted the firm, who sent to experts to Maine to verify the coin.

"Despite my initial disbelief that this famously stolen coin was actually in the caller's possession... it became clear to me that the gentleman had done a copious amount of homework in an attempt to figure out what he had," AMR coin expert John Kraljevich said in a statement on the firm's website.

Unfortunately, as the coin is stolen property, the man will not be able to keep or sell it.

The AMR says it has now begun the process of returning the coin to the du Pont family - founders of one of the largest chemical corporations in the world.

The du Pont robbery took place in October 1967 at the family's home in Miami, Florida.

Armed robbers stole thousands of valuable coins that the family had collected, although most have since been recovered.

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