updated 1/10/2007 5:47:43 PM ET 2007-01-10T22:47:43

A band of masked robbers pulled off a $4 million rare coin heist at a busy luxury hotel during a coin convention, authorities said.

The stolen items included a set of 1843 U.S. coins once owned by President John Tyler, according to an Orange County sheriff's report, and a variety of copper, gold and silver coins. It was the second theft in a row at the Florida United Numismatists' annual coin show, which is one of the largest in the country.

The most recent attack happened Saturday in the valet parking line at the Peabody Hotel, while an employee of a Minnesota coin dealer unloaded them from a sport utility vehicle. A robber wearing a surgical mask and a hooded sweater grabbed the employee from behind, held a knife to his throat and forced him to the ground, witnesses and the victim told authorities.

The robber kept witnesses at bay while two other men, also in surgical masks, helped grab a Samsonite suitcase from the vehicle. The attackers sped off in a beige Mitsubishi sedan, the report states.

"Nobody would have thought they would have been so brazen," said Robert Brueggeman, executive director of the Professional Numismatists Guild and owner of Positive Protection, which coordinated security at the convention.

Detectives say it is unclear whether Saturday's heist is linked to last year's thefts, in which about $450,000 worth of coins was stolen in at least five different cases involving dealers attending that show.

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