Regarding the most valuable dollar coins, we can think of more than a dozen worth talking about.
But the U.S. dollar coins have a long history, one easily depicted in each of these coins.
We’ll go over the unique history of the dollar coin and the most valuable minted versions.
Coming across any of them could prove value far beyond a dollar.
History of the Dollar Coin
Much like Europeans have a dollar euro, Americans use a dollar coin before the dollar bill.
Now the dollar coin is a collector’s item because the oldest examples of the currency are so hard to come across.
The first one-dollar coins were produced around the late 1700s. Production slowly waned into nothing.
The idea of a dollar coin came about in 1972, as American coinage was not new.
Two years later, they would introduce the first American Dollar Coin, with each silver example representing the price of 1 dollar.
Most Valuable Dollar Coins
Let’s explore that first dollar coin made. In coin collecting, sometimes the most valuable coins are not just the rarest but also have a little-known history.
1794 Flowing Hair Silver Dollar
The 1794 Flowing Hair Silver Dollar Silver Plug is monumental because it was the first U.S. Coin Dollar minted.
Despite being minted in Philadelphia, it is also extremely rare and has no mint mark.
1795 Flowing Hair Silver Dollar came from the U.S. Coinage Act, and many believe this was the first U.S. dollar ever made.
The obverse shows the bust of Lady Liberty with the words LIBERTY above and the date 1794 below her. On the side outlining the rim are 13 stars for 13 original colonies.
The silver plug sits directly in the middle. On the coin’s reverse is an eagle with a wreath and the words “UNITED STATES OF AMERICA.”
The silver plug is also directly in the center here. The value of this particular version is $12,053,700.
It’s one of the most expensive antique coins in the world because it is estimated that only one is left in existence.
1794 Flowing Hair Silver Dollar coins were also minted without the silver plug. The features remained nearly identical.
Of course, the silver plug does not exist in this version, making it slightly less rare. The value of this coin is $5,838,700.
1870-S Seated Liberty Silver Dollar
Struck at the U.S. Mint in San Francisco was the Sealed Liberty Silver Dollar of 1870. It was made of 90% silver and 10% copper.
It’s high on our list of extremely valuable and rare coins because only 15 are estimated to be around today.
On the coin’s reverse, we can see that the S mintage mark sits underneath the eagle. The words “IN GOD WE TRUST” can be seen written on a ribbon above.
The words “ONE DOL” are also printed below the eagle grasping arrows in one talon and an olive branch in the other.
This coin is interesting in the fact that two different chief engravers technically design the obverse and reverse.
While Christian Gobrecht designed the Seated Liberty featured on the front with 13 stars lining the rim, the eagle was taken from John Reich from the 1807 coin.
Because of this, it’s estimated that this coin is worth $2,030,000. Some of the largest rare coin collections include the 1870 silver dollar, and many smaller collectors focus on ways to invest or trade for rare examples of this coin.
1795 Flowing Hair Silver Dollar
The 1795 Flowing Hair Silver Dollar had a few variations amounting to different values. Among the most valuable was the 1795 Flowing Hair Silver Dollar – Silver Plug.
Much like 1794, version 1795 had a rare minted variable with a silver plug in the middle. This particular version of the dollar coin is worth $1,717,200.
The reason for the silver plug in both the 1794 and 1795 versions was that they were formed on blank silver slates.
With some pieces being overweight (the U.S. required them to have the correct weight of material to determine value), they had to be filed down, exposing the silver plug and the precious metals below the surface.
The base of the coin saw the bust of Lady Liberty surrounded by 13 stars and the words LIBERTY at the top, and the date of 1795 at the bottom.
However, the back is where we can notice one different variation.
On the coin’s reverse, the eagle is surrounded by a wreath. Under the wings, there were three leaves on the wreath, whereas one variation only had two.
This is called the 1795 Flowing Hair Silver Dollar 2 Leaves. It’s estimated to be worth $1,021,700.
The three leaves variety is worth slightly less as it was more common.
It’s worth much more than face value, ringing up just under $1 million, coming in at $906,900.
1796 Draped Bust Silver Dollar and Its Varieties
Despite having no mint mark, this variety of the Draped Bust Silver Dollar was made in Philadelphia.
One of the key findings in this particular version is that there was a variety of small letters versus large letters in later versions.
Looking at the obverse of the coin, we can see the dates underneath the draped bust profile.
Comparing this to later versions, both the 1 & 7 are closed and noticeably smaller in printing size.
The same can be said on the coin’s reverse with small lettering. The letters in larger dates are much thicker. The eagle is surrounded by a wreath and the “UNITED STATES OF AMERICA.”
Because of this and how rare the coin is, coin dealers estimate the value to be near $1,360,000. They are made of 89% silver and 11% copper.
It needs to be clarified how many are left to be discovered. This may be the most valuable of the varieties, but there are many more worth looking at.
1803 Draped Bust Silver Dollar
The 1803 version is just a little behind in value. This is because it was a proof of restrike, and only four are known to exist.
This U.S. dollar coin was also minted in Philadelphia with no mint mark. The only reason why they were minted was for prominent collectors at the time.
In good condition, these coins are all worth around $1 million.
1802 Draped Bust Silver Dollar
1802 had the same thing happen as in 1803, with a proof restrike done for collectors as well.
The obverse features the classic Draped Bust, while the reverse features a Heraldic Eagle. These coins are of the same value as their 1803 colleagues.
1801 Draped Bust Silver Dollar
The 1801 coin is no different from the 1802 and 1803. However, the 1801 coin was struck with the same die used for 1804.
There are only three of these coins left, and they are valued to be $1 million as well.
The 1801 Draped Bust Silver Dollar was also a proof restrike for collectors.
1795 Draped Bust Silver Dollar
Last but certainly not least, the 1795 Draped Bust Silver Dollar is in this particular series.
This particular coin was different because the bust was proven off-centered, making it an interesting variety.
It was clearly seen on the obverse of the coin, with the bust falling farther to the left side than the right side.
The reverse remained the same. This coin is said to be valued at slightly more than $1 million, but it needs to be clarified how many are left in the world.
The Morgan Silver Dollar and The Peace Dollar
The Morgan Silver Dollar and The Peace Dollar were symbols of how the United States was a country evolving to be a world power.
The fine art embodied on the coin was deeply loved by collectors, so much so that they were minted again in 2021. They are still highly sought after today.
The Morgan Silver Dollar was struck at the United States Mint from 1878 to 1904, again in 1921, and last in 2021.
It was the first silver dollar after the passing of the 1873 Coinage Act. George T. Morgan was the designer, so the coin is named after him.
The Obverse is a portrait of Anna Willess Williams, modeling for Liberty. The reverse sees an Eagle with its wings stretched wide.
The Peace Dollar saw a lot of love as it was minted between 1921 and 1928, again in 1934 and 1935, as well as in 2021.
Designed by Anthony de Francisci, the Obverse features no one other than the Goddess of Liberty herself. The back features of a calm eagle clutching an olive branch with the words PEACE scribed below.
1893-S Morgan Silver Dollar
1879 CC Morgan Silver Dollar
Are All Valuable Silver Dollars Worth Money?
Regarding the silver dollars listed above, these are your coins worth the most. These are just the highest values.
Many more are worth between $10,000 and $500,000 on the market. However, tons of more U.S. dollar coins can rack up a pretty penny.
Even a silver-copper-clad Eisenhower dollar coin can be worth $10,000 or more.
Whether you’re a coin collector searching for valuable dimes, half-dollars, gold coins, silver eagles, liberty head nickels, or valuable pennies, you need to know what coins are rarer than others.
More Facts About the U.S. Dollar Coins –
We’ve Already Learned –
- Before paper currency was issued, the U.S. relied on coins beginning with the Flowing Hair Silver dollar in 1794.
- The most valuable silver dollar in the world is the 1794 coin worth over $12 million.
- As the U.S. was turning into a powerful country the Morgan silver dollar was designed in 1878, named after the coin’s designer, George T. Morgan.
But There’s Even More to the U.S. Silver Dollar Coin –
- The word “dollar” originates from the German word “thaler,” which was a large German silver coin.
- After 2012, silver dollars have been produced primarily for coin collectors. Although the coin is still legal tender and does appear in pocket change on occasion.
- Prior to the Revolutionary War, there was a mixture of coinage from several European countries circulating in the U.S. Colonies and deemed legal tender until 1857.
- The very first 1,758 silver dollars were struck on October 15th, 1794, and distributed to political dignitaries by U.S. Mint director David Rittenhouse.
- One of the rarest key dates for silver dollars is 1804 when U.S. Mint officials struck the coins with the incorrect date of 1803. Many years later, it was discovered that no coins with the 1804 date were actually struck in 1804.
- Because the Mint realized there were no legitimate 1804 silver dollars, in 1934 they decided to create a set of dollar coins to use as gifts to Asian politicians. The Mint didn’t know this at the time, but the 15 silver dollar coins with the 1804 date struck in 1934 are the only coins with this date. Creating 15 of the most valuable error coins in the world, one coin sold for $4 million at auction.
- Silver dollar coins were popular Christmas gifts in the 30s and 40s, but interest faded as paper currency became popular. Silver dollars piled up in government vaults and in 1962, the U.S. Mint allowed collectors to purchase $1,000 bags of silver dollars directly from mint storage. Many of these coins were rare dates from the New Orleans Mint, preserved in excellent condition.
Continue Your Rare Coin Collecting Journey –
- Do you want to sell your coins online? Here’s a quick and resourceful guide.
- Are you wondering, “How much are my coins worth?” Consider my coin valuation breakdown.
- Learn the fascinating history of U.S. Coinage.
Attic Capital – Writer, Editor, and Lifelong Collector
I would love to connect with you, so don’t hesitate to reach out and let me know more about your passion for collecting.