The most valuable coins all share important traits. Age, rarity, condition, and historical significance. Although the most expensive coins might be out of your budget, every collector should understand the 10 most valuable coins, and why they sell for millions of dollars.
There are hundreds of desirable coins that collectors admire, from the modest Lincoln cent and Roosevelt dime to hardest-to-find silver dollars. But these are the very best. The best coins need to check all the boxes.
Extreme rarity, one of one, or one of just a few is an absolute must if a coin is going to sell for multi-millions of dollars.
Near-perfect condition is also a requirement. Not only are the most valuable coins in the world old and rare, but they must have been preserved, in some way, somehow, in pristine condition.
Sometimes that means an uncirculated coin has been stored in a safe-deposit box with a PCGS protective case around it for nearly its entire life. Other times, it’s covered in dust, sitting in an old attic for decades, completely undetected. Or discovered in a handful of pocket change.
And another important, but often forgotten, trait of the most valuable coins in the world is the story. Rarity, old age, and condition are key, but without being a part of history, a coin is not going to break auction records.
Let’s go one by one, and take an up-close view of the 10 most valuable coins of all time.
#1 – 1933 Double Eagle – $18,900,000
The 1933 Double Eagle coin was designed by renowned artist Augustus Saint-Gaudens and minted in Philadelphia, making it a highly sought-after collectible.
The world-famous Saint-Gaudens double eagle obverse features a full-length figure of Liberty with her hair blowing in the wind, while the reverse contains an eagle standing on a bundle of arrows with an olive branch in its talons.
The coin’s value is nearly $19 million, making it the most valuable coin of all time.
#2 – 1794 Flowing Hair Dollar – $12,000,000
Designed by Robert Scot, the 1794 Flowing Hair Dollar was the first silver dollar issued by the U.S. Mint in 1794, with a mintage of just 1,758 coins. The design features Lady Liberty on one side, with an eagle and the denomination on the other. This historic coin has a storied history, making it highly collectible and valuable to numismatists.
There were only two types of dollar coins issued during its time, the 1794 Flowing Hair Dollar, and the other being the Draped Bust Dollar. It is also among the rarest of early U.S. coins, with very few surviving examples in circulation today.
The 1794 Flowing Hair Dollar is highly prized by collectors for its history and design, and its value continues to appreciate over time. It is a truly unique artifact from the history of the United States that any collector would be proud to own.
#3 – 1787 Brasher Doubloon EB Wing – $9,360,000
The 1787 Brasher Doubloon EB Wing is a coin that has history and rarity on its side. It takes its name from the goldsmith Ephraim Brasher, who made coins in early America. This particular design was crafted by hand and issued in limited numbers, making it a sought-after item for coin collectors today. Its iconic design of a sun on one side and an eagle on the other make it instantly recognizable.
In addition, its history gives it added importance to those interested in early American history. While some coins were melted down for gold, this rare item still exists as a lasting reminder of an important time in history.
Numismatics around the world seek out this unique coin, as it offers a glimpse into the history and the beginnings of American coinage. Whether you’re interested in history or collecting rare coins, the 1787 Brasher Doubloon EB Wing is an item that should not be overlooked.
#4 – 1822 Half Eagle – $8,400,000
At face value, the Half Eagle coin is worth five bucks. Nowadays, Half Eagles from the 1800s are worth millions.
There is only one 1822 Half Eagle in privately owned hands, the other two are owned by the Smithsonian.
The 1822 Half Eagle is a rare and special coin that history buffs and coin collectors alike are always eager to get their hands on. This gold coin was minted by the United States Mint in 1822 and has since become one of the most sought-after coins in history.
It is considered rare due to its limited mintage of only 6,812 coins, making it a valuable and unique piece of history.
Its popularity has only grown over the years as more and more people have become interested in coin collecting. This coin is truly special due to its history and rarity, making it a great addition to any coin collection.
Whether you’re looking for an interesting history lesson or just a rare and valuable coin to add to your collection, the 1822 Half Eagle is sure to be a great choice.
#5 – 1804 Bust Dollar – $7,680,000
This coin, minted in 1804, was never officially circulated as currency and only eight examples are known to exist making it one of the most rare coins in American history. It is believed that these coins were struck for diplomatic presentations rather than for use as currency.
This makes the 1804 Bust Dollar an incredibly valuable and sought-after item for collectors. The composition for the 1908 Bust Dollar was 89% silver and 11% copper.
The 1804 Bust Dollar is truly one of the most impressive silver coins in history and has become a symbol of prestige among collectors.
#6 – 1787 Brasher Doubloon EB Breast – $7,395,000
Made by Ephraim Brasher in 1787, the gold piece is widely referred to as the “EB” breast due to its unique design that includes EB on the eagle’s breast. As of 2021, only seven known examples are in existence, it’s one of the most valuable gold bullion coins in the world.
#7 – 1861 Paquet Liberty Head Double Eagle – $7,200,000
The 1861 Paquet Liberty Head Double Eagle dates back to the American Civil War when it was minted as a result of significant changes to US coinage laws at the time.
This coin has also become an integral part of coin collecting history, with many collectors attempting to acquire an example of the 1861 Paquet Liberty Head Double Eagle to add to their collection. As such, the coins’ worth can be quite high depending on their condition, making them an attractive investment for coin collectors.
#8 – 1794 Flowing Hair Dollar – $6,600,000
The 1794 Flowing Hair Dollar was the first dollar coin issued by the United States Mint and features Lady Liberty on one side and an eagle design on the other.
This iconic coin was minted with no mint mark, which makes it even more difficult to find. In fact, only 1,758 of these coins were ever minted.
The rarity and history behind the 1794 Flowing Hair Dollar make it an incredibly sought-after collectible for coin enthusiasts and history buffs alike.
#9 – 1723 Umayyad Gold Dinar – $6,029,000
The 1723 Umayyad Gold Dinar was minted in Damascus during the Umayyad era, an Islamic dynasty that ruled from 661 to 750 AD. The coin features an inscription on both sides, with the mint mark “Damascus” stamped on the reverse. It is thought to have been minted in 1723, making it a valuable and rare find.
Despite its age, the coin still retains much of its original shine and luster due to its gold content. Coin dealers recognize the dinar for being one of the earliest coins with an Arabic inscription, which makes it a special piece of history.
It is a reminder of the trading and financial history of Syria during the Umayyad period, and it serves as a valuable artifact in the study of pre-modern Islamic history. The 1723 Umayyad Gold Dinar is an important piece of history that deserves to be cherished and preserved.
#10 – 1787 Brasher Doubloon EB Wing – $5,500,000
The history behind this amazing artifact begins with its namesake, Ephraim Brasher, who was a goldsmith and silversmith in colonial New York.
He was commissioned by the colonial government to mint a special set of coins, and the Brasher Doubloon EB Wing was one of them. Its iconic mint mark, EB in an oval, is believed to have been designed by Brasher himself.
The history and rarity of this coin make it highly prized among collectors, with the record sale price ringing in at over $5 million dollars. Whether you’re a history buff or an avid coin collector, the Brasher Doubloon EB Wing is an amazing piece of history and has earned its place in history books.
The Most Valuable Rare Coins in the World
The most expensive and valuable rare coins all have similar characteristics. Rare, old, in great condition, and featuring an amazing story.
If you’re just getting started collecting coins, it’s important to understand the most valuable coins and learn how they reached such high status.
Other Valuable Coins
There are dozens of other great collector coins that you won’t have to pay millions to own. Sacagawea coins, Presidential Dollar coins, there’s special edition commemorative coins have recently gained popularity.
Here’s a quick list of a few types of rare coins that might be in your price range.
Morgan Silver Dollar – The most valuable Morgan Silver Dollar is the 1893-S. Sold for $550,000 recently. Only 100,000 coins were minted, but many were melted, leaving only a few in fine condition.
Jefferson Nickel – Much like the Buffalo Nickel, the Jefferson Nickel has many variations valued at thousands of dollars. Indian Head nickels were circulated until 1939 before being replaced by the Jefferson Nickel. Once World War II began, the war effort consumed many resources, including nickel, so U.S. coin composition changes were made.
Liberty Head Nickel – Some of the most valuable nickels in the world are Liberty Heads. The most valuable is the 1913 Nickel, selling for over $4 million.
State Quarter – The extra leaf 2004-D Wisconsin State Quarter can be worth thousands.
Half Dollar – Half dollars are well-known as the most valuable coins in history. Earliest half dollars are the Walking Liberty, Seated Liberty, Capped Bust, and Draped Bust coins.
Washington Quarters – The 1776-1976 bicentennial Washington quarter can be worth hundreds of dollars. With no mint mark? Several thousand. The front of the coin features the profile of George Washington and the words ‘In God We Trust.’
S-Barber Dime – The 1893-S Barber dime sold for over $60,000 at auction.
1854-S Coronet Head Half Eagle – In 1854, there were only 268 five-dollar gold coins struck at the San Francisco U.S. Mint.
1969-S Doubled Die Obverse Lincoln Penny Error Coin – It’s not only the Lincoln head copper/steel penny error that’s valuable, several double-die errors also sell for thousands of dollars. The Lincoln wheat penny is one of the most well-known collectible coins of all time.
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