As a numismatist or coin collector, you’re probably very interested in the value placed on specific coins. We all know that many factors determine the worth of an item, and coins are no different. Not only must the grade and rarity of the coin be considered, as well as the historical importance, but the inherent value placed by the buyer can heavily sway “worth” when it is purchased for addition to a collection. We’ve compiled a list of the most valuable coins on record, using the price they sold at auction.
Claimed to be the first silver coin ever minted by the US Treasury, this coin is highly coveted by numismatists. It sold in 2013 for approximately $10 million due to its notoriety. The US Mint opened two years previously but only used copper for coinage. It wasn’t until 1974 that they began minting silver coins. While the currency has some wear and lacks luster, due to being 227 years old, it’s still an acceptable grade and most of the details are extremely clear, including the legend.
In 1933, the gold Double Eagle coin was recalled, as then-President Theodore Roosevelt banned the private acquisition of gold to bolster the economy. The US mint melted each coin, but a few choice specimens escaped that fate. One such coin landed in the hands of King Farouk of Egypt and was then purchased by a private buyer. To this day, it is illegal to own one, and the new owner was forced to sell the coin and split the profits with the US treasury. It sold for $7,590,200 in 2002.
Once production of the 1907 SG Double Eagle began, it quickly became evident that the minting process and equipment weren’t up to par to recreate the intricacies in large quantities. Charles Barber, the US Mint Engraver Chief at the time, decided to remove “In God We Trust” from the design, which Congress halted nearly immediately. However, several were made before the halt, and one sold for $7,600,000.
At one point in history, a brilliant goldsmith set out to convince New York to use copper to mint coins instead of actual gold. When his idea was turned down, he set out to mint them on his own, using bronze. While producing the coins, he made a handful out of gold, and to this day, they’re the holy grail of numismatists collections. A Wall Street Investment Firm acquired one of them for $7,400,000 in 2011.
While there are a few coins that sold for more, this gorgeous specimen is on the list because its history is fascinating, as it’s believed to be one of five originals stolen by an employee of the mint and then sold on the black market for a hefty profit. This specific coin was also used in the Hawaii Five-O television series that ran from 1968 throughout the 70s. It sold for $3,737,500 in 2007 at the Heritage Auction House.