Wednesday 10 August 2022

10 Rarest and Most Valuable Coins in the World


10 Rarest and Most Valuable Coins in the World

a sampling of some of the rarest and most expensive coins in the world

Heritage Auctions,, The Royal Canadian Mint

There are many ways to determine the value of a collectable item. The best way to determine the value of coins is to research coins that were actually sold and record the prices that they realized. Some coins are unique, housed in museums, and will never be available for sale to the general public. Since these coins are considered "priceless," they are not included in this list of the world's most valuable coins.

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Occasionally, mints make extremely unusual coins as marketing stunts with the intent that it will never be sold. For example, The Australian Kangaroo One Tonne Gold Coin was made by the Perth Mint in Australia in 2011. After a publicity tour in Europe, the coin is now on permanent display in The Perth Mint’s Gold Exhibition. Canada also made extremely large gold coins, mostly for publicity, but they did sell five of them to various investors and collectors.

Additionally, only coins that were publicly traded (for example, auctions or public sales) are listed. It is impossible to verify coins that were sold via private treaty and are therefore not included in this top 10 list of the world's most valuable coins.

All prices listed are in U.S. dollars and include any auction fees and commissions that the auction house charged to the buyer of the coin.

  • 01of 10

    #10 - 1804 Bust Dollar - Class I (Dexter-Pogue Specimen)

    1804 Bust Dollar - Class I (The Watters-Childs Specimen)
     Wikimedia Commons

    Price Realized:  $3,865,750
    Date Sold: March 31, 2017
    Sold By: Stack’s Bowers Galleries and Sotheby's

    Once again the "King of American Coins" takes one of the top 10 spots on the list of The World's Rarest and Most Valuable Coins. This coin was auctioned as part of the D. Brent Pogue coin collection auction jointly by Stack’s Bowers Galleries and Sotheby’s over the span of two and a half years.  This specimen has a small D punched in a cloud on the reverse of the coin indicating that it's promenades belonged to James V. Dexter, a wealthy numismatist who owned it for 14 years at the end of the 19th century.

    The entire collection realized $106.69 million sold across five separate auctions. There was another 1804 silver dollar in the Pogue coin collection (The Sultan of Muscat-Watters-Brand-Childs-Pogue) that is the finest known specimen, but unfortunately, a bid of $10.81 million was not high enough for the coin to sell in the May 24, 2016 auction.

    Auction Listing: The Legendary Dexter Specimen of the 1804 Dollar

  • 02of 10

    #9 - 1804 Bust Dollar - Class I (Mickley-Hawn-Queller Specimen)

    The Mickley-Hawn-Queller 1804 Silver Dollar
     Heritage Auctions,

    Price Realized:  $3,877,500
    Date Sold: August 9, 2013
    Sold By: Heritage Auctions, Dallas, Texas (Auction #1188, Lot #5699)

    This is the same coin that is listed as the #10 Most Valuable Coins in the World above that sold for $3,737,500 in April of 2008. Unlike the Hawaii Five-O 1913 Liberty Head Nickel that lost almost $500,000 when it sold a second time, this owner made a $140,000 profit when he sold it.

    There are only 15 known authentic specimens that were struck at three different times. By closely examining the coins, professional numismatists classified each of the fifteen coins into one of three classifications: Class I or "Original," Class II or "First Restrike" and Class III or "Second Restrike."  The Class I coin has the highest population with eight coins known to exist. The Class II is a unique coin, and the Class III has six known specimens. Regardless of their classification, these coins always set records when they cross the auction block.

    Auction Listing: The Mickley-Hawn-Queller Class I; Original 1804 Dollar, PR62 PCGS

  • 03of 10

    #8 - $1 Million Gold Canadian Maple Leaf

    2007 $1 Million Gold Canadian Maple Leaf Coin
     The Royal Canadian Mint,

    Price Realized: $4,020,000
    Date Sold: June 2010
    Sold By: Dorotheum Auction House, Vienna, Austria

    In 2007 the Royal Canadian Mint produced the world's first million dollar coin. The coin measures 50 cm (20 inches) in diameter by 3 cm (1.2 inches) thick and contains 100 kilograms (220 pounds or 3,215 troy ounces) of 99.999% pure gold. The idea for the coin was originally conceived as a centerpiece to promote the Royal Canadian Mint's new line of 99.999% pure one Troy ounce Gold Maple Leaf bullion coins.

    To date, five of these majestic gold bullion coins have been purchased by investors from around the world. The last coin to sell at a public auction sold for 3.27 million euros (USD 4.02 million) at an auction in Vienna at the Dorotheum auction house. In March 2017, one of these massive coins was stolen from the Bode Museum in Berlin, Germany. The thieves used a wheelbarrow to haul the 220-pound coin away after they got it out of the building.

  • 04of 10

    #7 - 1804 Silver Dollar - Class I (The Watters-Childs Specimen)

    1804 Bust Dollar - Class I (The Watters-Childs Specimen)
     Wikimedia Commons

    Price Realized: $4,140,000
    Date Sold: August 30, 1999
    Sold By: Bowers & Merena

    This specimen of the "King of U.S. Coins" is the finest known example of the 1804 Silver Dollar and is graded Proof-68 by Professional Coin Grading Service. When this coin sold in August of 1999, it became the world's most valuable coin to date. It easily beat the previous record-holder (another 1804 silver dollar") by over two times the amount. Some of the previous owners included: The Sultan of Muscat, C.A. Watters, Henry Chapman, Virgil Brand, Charles and Ruth Green, Charles Frederick Childs and the Pogue Family.

    In May 2016 this finest known 1804 Silver Dollar, originally owned by the Sultan of Muscat in 1835 and then by the Childs Family Collection for more than 50 years, was once again put on the auction block by D. Brent Pogue. A bid of $10,575,000, the most ever offered for a coin, was placed by phone for this 1804 Draped Bust Silver Dollar, but it failed to reach the consignor’s reserve price, Sotheby's auction house said in a statement. 

  • 05of 10

    #6 - 1913 Liberty Head Nickel - Morton-Smith-Eliasberg Specimen

    1913 Liberty Head Nickel Morton-Smith-Eliasberg specimen
     Stack's Bowers Galleries

    Price Realized: $4,560,000
    Date Sold: August 2018
    Sold By: Stack's Bowers

    This specimen of the 1913 Liberty Head nickel is by far the finest known example of only five specimens. The Dr. William Morton-Smith/Louis E. Eliasberg, Sr. Collection specimen came to auction in August 2018 at the ANA U.S. Coins Auction in Philadelphia, PA. This specimen has a highly mirrorlike surface in the field. This is the only coin of the five that exhibit this characteristic. Since no one mint records exist for the production of this coin is the cause of some controversy. It has been graded by professional coin graders varying from MS-62 Proof-64. 

  • 06of 10

    #5 - 1787 Brasher Doubloon - EB on Breast [Bushnell-Garrett]

    1787 Brasher Doubloon - EB on Breast
     Professional Coin Grading Service (PCGS) -

    Price Realized: $7,395,000                                  
    Date Sold: December 2011
    Sold By: Blanchard and Company

    Although this coin was not sold at a coin auction, Blanchard and Company placed it into the hands of a private collector for over $7,000,000. Unlike the previous 1787 Brasher Doubloon (#4) that have Ephraim Brasher's counter stamp on the eagle's wing, this coin has his mark on the breast of the eagle. The coin was minted in 1787 by Ephraim Brasher, a silversmith and goldsmith in New York City, and at that time it contained $15 worth of gold. Brasher also made a small number of gold coins we believe were intended for public circulation since the U.S. Mint had not begun operations yet.

  • 07of 10

    #4 1787 Brasher Doubloon - EB on Wing [Gilmor, Newlin, Davis, Brand]

    1787 New York Brasher Doubloon EB on Wing, MS63, Obverse
     Heritage Auctions,

    Price Realized: $4,582,500
    Date Sold: January 9, 2014
    Sold By: Heritage Auctions, Dallas, Texas (Auction #1201, Lot #5100)

    Ephraim Brasher was a goldsmith and silversmith in the New York City area in the late 1700s. Since the United States Mint was not operational yet, the colonies resorted to minting their own coins. Private entrepreneurs such as Brasher minted some of these coins. Many numismatists, including such luminaries as Henry Chapman and Q. David Bowers, acknowledge the Brasher Doubloon as the most important coin in the world. Brasher created his New York Style Brasher doubloon in 1787, and the specifications for his coin are almost identical to the Lima doubloons and are very close to those of the earlier Spanish coins of that period.

    Auction Listing: 1787 DBLN Brasher Doubloon, EB on Wing, W-5840, MS63 NGC. CAC.

  • 08of 10

    #3 - 1787 Brasher Doubloon - EB on Wing [Patrick Specimen]

    1787 Brasher Doubloon - EB on Wing Patrick Specimen

    Heritage Auctions

    Price Realized: $9,360,000
    Date Sold: January 21, 2021
    Sold By: Heritage Auctions, Dallas, Texas (Auction #1326, Lot #3934)

    The New York Style Brasher doubloon is the most famous numismatic rarity in the world. This particular specimen is the finest known example of the seven known specimens. This was originally acquired by numismatist Matthew Stickney in 1848. When it was first issued in the late 1700s, was one of the first private-issued gold coins with the face value of fifteen dollars. this was important because the United States mint would not be set up for another five years. The growing United States of America needed gold coins to facilitate commerce. Any serious numismatist, with the budget to allow them, would be proud to add this coin to their collection.

    Auction Listing: 2021 January 20 - 24 FUN US Coins Signature Auction #1326 

  • 09of 10

    #2 - 1794 Flowing Hair Silver Dollar

    1794 Flowing Hair Silver Dollar - The Most Expensive Coins in the World
     Stack's Bowers Galleries,

    Price Realized: $10,016,875            
    Date Sold: January 24, 2013
    Sold By: Stack’s Bowers Galleries

    Sold by the auction firm Stack's Bowers in the January 2013 New York Americana Sale, this coin set the world record for the sale of a single coin. Numismatic researchers believe it was the very first silver dollar ever minted by the United States.

    The United States Mint first opened in 1792, and only minted copper coins and some pattern coins for the first two years. Coin collectors have preserved this pristine example in its original mint state condition for over 200 years. It's not very often that you come across a coin this old and in almost perfect condition.

    Of the entire known population of 1794 silver dollars, this is the only example to exhibit Proof-like reflectivity in the fields. When viewed out of its encapsulation, the fields flash with an astounding deep mirror reflection, providing a remarkable contrast to the fully frosted devices. Several 1795 silver dollars have the silver plugs but also show adjustment marks. On this coin, adjustment marks are light but noted on both the obverse and reverse, primarily around the rim. The term "once in a lifetime opportunity" is seen now and again, but for this piece, it is especially relevant, according to a press release by Stack's Bowers Galleries.

    Auction Listing: Stack's Bowers - The January 2013 New York Americana Sale Lot #13094

  • 10of 10

    #1 - 1933 Double Eagle

    1933 Saint-Gaudens Double Eagle - $20 U.S. Gold Coin
     Wikimedia Commons

    Price Realized: $18,872,250.00
    Date Sold: June 2021
    Sold By: Sotheby's

    In 1933 the United States was in the midst of . ​Almost 500,000 twenty dollar gold pieces were minted in that year. President Roosevelt issued an executive order recalling all gold coins from the general public and ordering the mint to melt all the $20 gold pieces that were still in its possession. Somehow, a handful of 1933 dated $20 gold pieces escaped from the mint's vaults even though they were never officially issued.

    Currently they are illegal to own and will be seized by the United States government. Except one, that was originally owned by King Farouk of Egypt. After a long legal battle, the Mint and the private owner agreed to sell the coin and split the proceeds. The buyer had to pay an additional $20 to the mint in order to monetize the coin so it will be illegal to own.

    According to the United States Mint, “This is the only 1933 Double Eagle monetized and issued by the United States Mint. It is also the only example that the United States Government has ever authorized, or ever intends to authorize, for private ownership. Any additional examples that may exist are, similarly, property of the United States Government, illegal to own, and subject to seizure.”

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