Valuable Rare Coins

saint gaudens double eagle

President Theodore Roosevelt was euphoric.

It was December, 1906, and the President just caught a glimpse of the design for the new double eagle gold coins.

The mock-up coin design featured extremely high relief, just as Roosevelt requested.

President Roosevelt instructed the director of the Mint, “These dies are to be reproduced just as quickly as possible and just as they are.”

saint gaudens double eagle

Even though coin designer Augustus Saint-Gaudens was hesitant to use such a high relief for the new double eagle, fearing the Mint press equipment wasn’t adequate, it was Roosevelt who encouraged him to push the limits.

Roosevelt told Saint-Gaudens in a letter, “I suppose I shall be impeached for it in Congress, but I shall regard it as a very cheap payment!”

20 sample double eagle coins were struck in 1907 and given away as gifts by either Roosevelt himself or chief engraver of the Mint, Charles Barber.

Today, there are only 15 known examples, valued at $3 to $5 million each.

Why are these little coins so valuable?

It’s a beautiful design, to be sure, but it was the teamwork of my favorite coin-designing dynamic duo, Theodore Roosevelt and Augustus Saint-Gaudens, that give these coins their legendary status.

saint gaudens roosevelt

One of my favorite traits of the World’s Greatest Collectibles is they only come up for sale once or twice in a generation.

The 1822 Capped Half Eagle gold coin absolutely qualifies. As auction house Stack’s Bowers described it, “One of America’s most noteworthy historic collectibles in any form.”

1822 capped half eagle

The amazing coin sold for $8.4 million at auction in 2021, but that only begins to tell the story.

It changed hands just three times in 120 years, and was owned by the greatest coin collectors to ever live.

Virgil Brand
Louis Eliasberg
Brent Pogue

It’s the only 1822 Capped Half Eagle privately owned. The two others rest at the Smithsonian.

Official U.S. Mint records showed 17,796 half eagle’s struck in 1822, but almost all of them were dated 1820 or 1821. The three existing coins from 1822 may have been erroneously struck in 1823 or 1824, nobody knows for sure.

1822 capped half eagle

Not until 1906 did collectors realize the extreme rarity of this coin, that’s how long it took to solve the mystery. And there’s no telling when, or if, the coin will ever sell again.

If you’ve wondered why someone might pay millions for a tiny little old coin, the 1822 Capped Half Eagle perfectly illustrates.

1822 capped half eagle

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Most Valuable Coins of All Time

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RankCoinValueDate SoldFactsBuyer & SellerGradeCompositionImage
11933 Double Eagle$18,900,0002021445,500 Double Eagle coins were minted in 1933, none were circulated, all but two were melted down. Shoe designer Stuart Weitzman sold the coin to a private party after buying the coin in 2002 for $7.59 million.MS6590% gold, 10% copper1933 Double Eagle
21794 Flowing Hair Dollar$12,000,0002022This coin is believed to be the very first silver dollar struck by the U.S. Mint in Philadelphia. One of just 1,758 silver dollars minted on the first day of production.Nevada businessman Bruce Morelan sold the coin to auction house Great Collections after buying the coin for $10 million in 2013.SP6690% silver, 10% copper1974 flowing hair silver dollar
31787 Brasher Doubloon EB Wing$9,360,0002021New York Goldsmith Ephraim Brasher designed gold coins that were mostly forgotten, then rediscovered at the Philadelphia Mint in 1838. Only seven examples are know to exist.First sold in 1907 for $6,200, then again in 1979 for $725,000.SP66Gold1787 Brasher Doubloon EB Wing
41822 Half Eagle$8,400,0002021There is only one 1822 Half Eagle coin owned privately, and this is the one. The other two coins are permanently held at the Smithsonian.First owned by Virgil Brand in 1899, then sold to Louis Eliasberg in 1945. Brent Pogue purchased the coin in 1982. Sold to an anonymous buyer for $8.4 million. That gives the $5 coin a 7.5% annual return over 199 years.AU5091.7% gold, 8.3% copper1822 Half Eagle
51804 Bust Dollar$7,680,0002021The coins were minted at the order of President Andrew Jackson to be given as diplomatic gifts. This coin was given to the Sultan of Muscat, Said bin Sultan Al-Said, in 1835.Real estate developer, and lifelong numismatist, Brent Pogue, paid $4.1 million for the coin in 1999. It was only the second time the coin was sold since it mysteriously appeared in a London auction in 1917.PR6889% silver, 11% copper1804 Bust Dollar
61787 Brasher Doubloon EB Breast$7,395,0002011Creator of the coin, Ephraim Brasher, lived at 1 Cherry Street in New York, next door to President George Washington. Sold for $505 in 1882, and again in 1981 for $625,000. An unnamed Wall Street Investment firm purchased the coin in 2011 from an anonymous seller.AU5089% gold, 6% silver, 3% copper, 2% trace elements1787 Brasher Doubloon EB Breast
71861 Paquet Liberty Head Double Eagle$7,200,0002021Before any 1861 Double Eagles were released for circulation, they were ordered to be recalled and melted. Only two examples known to exist. Originally sold for $37 in 1865, later owned by King Farouk of Egypt in the 1940s. Then purchased by Mrs. Emery May Holden Norweb. Sold again in the late 1980s for $660,000.MS6790% gold, 10% copper1861 Paquet Liberty Head Double Eagle
81794 Flowing Hair Dollar$6,600,0002021In 1791, Congress established the national mint and President George Washington urged Congress to pass the Coinage Act of 1792. By October, 1794, the first silver dollars were struck.Past owners of the MS66+ example are Colonel EH Green, Adolph Friedman, Lelan Rogers, and Jay ParrinoMS66+90% silver, 10% copper1794 Flowing Hair Dollar
91723 Umayyad Gold Dinar$6,029,0002011The translated text on the coin reads, "Mine of the Commander of the Faithful." It was struck with gold from the caliph's mine near the holy city of Mecca.The coin was purchased for a European private collection. N/AGold1723 Umayyad Gold Dinar
101787 Brasher Doubloon EB Wing$5,500,0002018Some theories suggest the Brasher Doubloons were supposed to be struck in copper, but the gold versions were used as bribes for New York politicians for Brasher to land the contract for the copper coinage.Purchased for a private collection.MS63+89% gold, 6% silver, 3% copper, 2% trace elements1787 Brasher Doubloon EB Wing

Top 10 Most Valuable Quarters of All Time

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RankCoinValueDate SoldFactsBuyer & SellerImageGradeComposition
11796 Draped Bust Quarter$1,740,0002022Total mintage of the 1796 quarter was just 6,146. This record setting auction sale was one of the early strikes delivered in April of the same year.The coin is most likely from the Ten Eyck Collection, then owned by Milton Holmes. It's just one of three coins in MS66 condition, and there is only one finer.1796 Draped Bust QuarterMS6689% Silver, 11% copper
21827 Capped Bust Quarter$705,0002015The finest known 1827 Capped Bust quarter, produced by the Philadelphia Mint with light gold tones. Sold from the D. Brent Pogue Collection, the coin was originally purchased by Dr. George Massamore for $215. Then, bought by T. Harrison Garrett. 1827 Capped Bust QuarterPR66+89% silver, 11% copper
31807 Draped Bust Quarter$630,000MS67This was the finest Browning-1 example, and the sole Simpson 1807 Draped Bust Eagle known. It's the second appearance in an auction since 1907. Not sold publicly since the Eliasberg Collection in 1997, and before that wasn't sold since Clapp Estate held it from 1907 to 1942.1807 Draped Bust QuarterMS6789% silver, 11% copper
41805 Draped Bust Quarter$402,50020081805 was only the third year the U.S. Mint produced quarters. After minting about 6,000 coins in the first two years, the U.S. Mint increased quarter production up to 121,000 coins in 1805.The coin was sold from The Madison Collection.1805 Draped Bust QuarterMS6689% silver, 11% copper
51920-D Standing Liberty Quarter$372,0002021Designed by American sculptor Hermon MacNeil, the Standing Liberty Quarter was minted from 1916 to 1930.Sold from a collection known for the finest quality, the Just Having Fun Collection, this coin was also owned by the Bob R. Simpson Collection.1920 D standing libertyMS68+90% silver, 10% copper
61828 Capped Bust Quarter$352,5002013This coin is the finest certified quarter dollar from 1828.Sold from the Newman Collection.1828 Capped Bust QuarterMS6789% silver, 11% copper
71804 Draped Bust Quarter$345,0002011The finest example of only three or four 1804 Draped Bust quarters.Once owned by Colonel Edward Green, then the Jerome Kern Collection.1804 Draped Bust QuarterMS6590% silver, 10% copper
81840 Seated Liberty Quarter$329,0002013The design by Christian Gobrecht was only struck for three years on the Seated Liberty quarter, from 1838 to 1840.Sold from the Eric P. Newman Collection1840 Seated Liberty QuarterMS6790% silver, 10% copper
91806 Draped Bust Quarter$188,0002015Designed by Robert Scot, the Draped Bust Quarter was minted from 1796 to 1807. Sold from the D. Brent Pogue Collection1806 Draped Bust QuarterMS6690% silver, 10% copper
101913-S Barber Quarter$172,5002005Of the 2 million quarters produced in 1913, only 40,000 Barber quarters were minted at the San Francisco Mint. The finest known example of the 1913-S Barber quarter was sold from the John C. Hugon Collection.1913 barber quarterMS6890% silver, 10% copper