Whether you’re a coin collector looking for your next prized piece or just an enthusiast who wants to know what coins are worth the most, understanding valuable coins is a great way to add value to your collection.
From historic American coins to worldwide vintage and modern coins, here’s a look at some of the most valuable currencies worldwide.
The Most Valuable Coins in The U.S.
The U.S. has produced many of the most valuable coins in the world. Let’s review.
The Most Valuable Coin in The World: The 1933 Saint-Caudens Double Eagle
The top-valued spot in collectible coins is the 1933 Saint-Gaudens Double Eagle, with its gold version most recently bought for $20 million in 2023.
This rare specimen is an American gold coin created from 1907 to 1933 with a unique history. After President Roosevelt abandoned the country’s gold standard in 1933, most people traded their coins for paper money (per the law).
The 1933 version was never released and is technically illegal to own, except for one private coin with an anonymous owner. Only a few others are still around in designated U.S. museum collections and a bank bullion suppository in Fort Knox, making it one of the rarest and most expensive coins and nearly impossible to collect.
1794 Flowing Hair Silver Dollar
The 1794 Flowing Hair Silver Dollar is not only one of the most valuable coins in the U.S. but is among the most expensive anywhere in the world, valued at over $10 million. It was the first silver dollar to be authorized by Congress and features a portrait of Liberty on its obverse side with an eagle on its reverse side inspired by the Great Seal of the United States.
One silver dollar coin is the most valuable because it is believed to be the first silver dollar ever struck.
1787 Brasher Doubloon
The 1787 Brasher Doubloon is another highly valuable U.S. coin minted during the same year the Constitution of the United States came into effect. It sold for over $9 million and is considered one of the rarest coins in existence.
The obverse side of the coin features a sunburst with a lion’s head and, on its reverse side, an eagle with outstretched wings. The coin was privately minted by the esteemed Ephraim Brasher.
Other American Coins
Other honorable mentions in the U.S., ranging from most valuable to least, include:
- 1913 Liberty Head V Nickel: Valued at over $5 million, only five coins exist and aren’t technically registered with the U.S. Mint.
- 1894-S Barber Dime: Last bought at $2.4 million, this mysterious coin had 24 made, but only nine are left. It’s unclear why the coin was originally minted, but many intriguing theories exist.
- 1943 Lincoln Head Copper Penny: Worth $2.3 million, this coin was mistakenly made with copper during World War II when most coins were made with steel to reserve precious metals for other uses–only around 40 exist today.
- 1893 Morgan Silver Dollar: Valued at $551,000, only 100,000 were made, many of which have been lost. A few in good condition still sell for thousands of dollars on sites like eBay- making them one of the most affordable coins on this list.
- Sacagawea Cheerios Dollar: Worth $25,000, this coin was put in 5500 Cheerios boxes in 2000. There are around 60 unique coins with enhanced details on the tail feather of Sacagawea that people are willing to pay more money for to collect.
Valuable Coins Worldwide
Let’s review some of the most valuable coins produced worldwide.
1343 Edward III Florin
The 1343 Edward III Florin is by far one of the most valuable coins in Europe, selling for over $6.8 million. The coin was produced during the reign of King Edward III (1943 to 1944) when he wanted to make a suitable coin for Europe and Medieval England.
Its obverse side features an image of King Edward holding a scepter and shield on its reverse side. It is one of the oldest gold coins in Europe and was by far the most valuable.
Interestingly, one coin was discovered in 2006 with a metal detector sold for a $6 million price tag. That’s quite a find!
The Oldest Valuable in The World: 723 Umayyad Gold Dinar
The oldest coin to date is in a British museum known as the Lydian Lion. However, it’s not very valuable (a couple of thousand dollars) compared to the Umayyad gold coin from 723 AD. It is one of the most valuable coins in the world and is currently valued at $5 million.
The coin was minted during the Umayyad Caliphate (the Mulsim dynasty in the current Middle East), featuring a lion and bull on its obverse side with Arabic inscriptions on its reverse side. It is an incredibly unique coin considered one of the rarest in the world and has garnered attention from collectors.
The Largest Coin: 2007 1 Million Canadian Gold Maple Leaf
The Canadian coin is in the Guinness World Records as the largest coin ever produced, with a diameter of 53 cm and a weight of 100 kg. It was made by the Royal Canadian Mint in 2007 to commemorate the 30th anniversary of its Gold Maple Leaf coins.
The coin is 18 karats, contains 1 million CAD worth of gold, and features Queen Elizabeth II on its obverse side with the Canadian national symbol–a maple leaf–on its reverse side. The coin is currently valued at $5 million.
Most Valuable Coins FAQ
Coin collections can be a fun hobby or a valuable asset. Here are some of the most frequently asked questions about these collectible assets.
Why are certain coins worth so much money?
The most valuable coins are typically incredibly rare, with only a few in existence and one-of-a-kind in history. For instance, the 1933 Saint Gaudens Double Eagle isn’t just valuable because of its gold content; it is unique with an illegal status.
What makes a coin a collector?
It is all about rarity and condition. Coins with fewer specimens, particularly in uncirculated or mint conditions, are typically more valuable because of their rarity. The age of the coin also matters- typically, the older it is, the rarer it will be and, thus, the higher its value.
How can I tell if a coin is valuable?
You can check the coin’s catalog value on price guides. Of course, you should also consider its condition and rarity when reviewing what it is worth. For more information on buying collectibles or selling a coin you think might be worth something, it’s best to talk to a trusted professional who understands the nuances of coin collecting.
Can any of these coins still be found or purchased?
Many of the coins on this list are too rare to find or purchase unless you have an insider in the collector’s industry and a pocket lined with cash. However, if you’re lucky, you can occasionally get your hands on some. For instance, the Sacagawea Cheerios Dollar is still circulating and worth “just” $25,000–a steal compared to the other coins on this list.
Why can I find versions of these coins for much less online?
If you Google the names of the coins on this list, you might be surprised to find coins with a similar name and design for much less. It is important to note these are replicas of the original coins and don’t carry any real value except for the value of the metal used to make them. Thus, it’s best not to buy them if you’re looking for an investment or addition to your collection unless you want to collect coins for silver or gold specifically.
Where can I learn more about coin collecting?
Coin collecting is a fun and exciting pastime that can yield great returns if you make the right purchases. To learn more, find a local coin club near you to get started. You can also follow trusted professionals on social media and read their blogs about coins they’ve collected over the years.
Coins Offer Rich History, Benefits, and Investment Potential
Coins offer an opportunity to explore the history and culture of different countries, discover rare specimens, and build your collection. Many collectors enjoy sharing the history behind their prized coins.
Plus, many coins are valuable enough to have investment potential. Thus, collectors enjoy owning these unique pieces and watching their value appreciate over time.
Finally, coins make an excellent gift for novice and experienced collectors. They spark conversations, represent significant historical moments, and offer a unique way to remember special occasions or honor loved ones.
While you likely won’t be able to get your hands on the most expensive originals discussed here, you can undoubtedly find some rare coins to add to your collection.
This article originally appeared on Wealth of Geeks.