10 Rarest and Most Valuable Coins in the World

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    How the Top 10 List Was Selected

    Most Valuable Coins In The World
    Most Valuable Coins In The World. Image Copyright: © 2014 James Bucki

    This list of the rarest and most valuable coins in the world features coins that were actually sold and the prices that they realized. There are coins that are unique, housed in museums and will never be available for sale to the general public. Since these coins are considered "priceless" they are not included in this list of the world's most valuable coins.


    Other coins are made as marketing stunts with the intent that they will never be sold. For example, The Australian Kangaroo One Tonne Gold...MORE Coin made by the Perth Mint in Australia in 2011. After a publicity tour in Europe, the coin is now on permanent display in The Perth Mint’s Gold Exhibition. Canada also made extremely large gold coins (mostly for publicity) but they did sell five of them to various investors and collectors.


    Additionally, only coins that were publicly traded (for example, auctions or public sales) are listed. It is impossible to verify coins that were sold via private treaty and are therefore not included in this top 10 list of the world's most valuable coins.


    All prices listed are in U.S. dollars and include any auction fees and commissions that were charged to the buyer.


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  • 02 of 11

    #10 1804 Bust Dollar - Class I (Mickley-Hawn-Queller Specimen)

    The Mickley-Hawn-Queller 1804 Silver Dollar
    The Mickley-Hawn-Queller 1804 Silver Dollar. Image Courtesy of: Heritage Auction Galleries, Ha.com

    Price Realized: $3,737,500
    Date Sold: April 17, 2008
    Sold By: Heritage Auctions, Dallas, Texas (Auction #1104, Lot #2089)


    For more than 100 years the 1804 silver dollar has been known as the "King of U.S. Coins."  Although the coin is dated 1804, none of the silver dollar specimens were actually minted in 1804. In 1834 The U.S. Mint received orders from the White House to strike complete sets of proof coinage meant to serve as diplomatic gifts for sovereigns such as the Sultan of Muscat,...MORE the King of Siam, and the Emperors of Cochin-China and Japan. Unfortunately, there were no silver dollars with the date of 1804. So the U.S. Mint made a die with the 1804 date and created some 1804 silver dollars. Little did they know that they were creating one of the most rarest and expensive coins in the world.


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  • 03 of 11

    #9 1913 Liberty Head Nickel - Hawaii Five-O Star

    1913 Liberty Head Nickel Walton Specimen
    1913 Liberty Head Nickel Walton Specimen. Image Courtesy of: Heritage Auction Galleries, Ha.com

    Price Realized: $3,737,500
    Date Sold: January 7, 2010
    Sold By: Heritage Auctions, Dallas, Texas  (Auction #1136, Lot #2455)


    This is the exact same coin that is listed as the #10 Most Valuable Coins in the World above that sold for $3,290,000 on January 10, 2014. As you can see, the owner originally paid $3,737,500 for it in January of 2010 and sustained a loss of close to $500,000. Starring in the 1970s television series Hawaii Five-O apparently did not help this coin to increase in value. This...MORE exact coin was used for close-up shots for the television show while a common Liberty Head nickel was used for action shots where the date could not be discerned in the risk of damaging it was too great.


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  • 04 of 11

    #8 1804 Bust Dollar - Class I (Dexter-Pogue Specimen)

    1804 Bust Dollar - Class I (The Watters-Childs Specimen)
    1804 Bust Dollar - Class I (The Watters-Childs Specimen). Image courtesy of the Wikimedia Commons

    Price Realized:  $3,865,750
    Date Sold: March 31, 2017
    Sold By: Stack’s Bowers Galleries and Sotheby's


    Once again the "King of American Coins" takes one of the top 10 spots on the list of The World's Rarest and Most Valuable Coins. This coin was auctioned as part of the D. Brent Pogue coin collection auction jointly by Stack's Bowers Galleries and Sotheby's over the span of 2 1/2 years.  This specimen has a small D punched in a cloud on the reverse of the coin indicating that...MORE it's promenades belonged to James V. Dexter, a wealthy numismatist who owned it for 14 years at the end of the 19th century.


    The entire collection is expected to fetch more than $100 million. There was another 1804 silver dollar in the Pogue coin collection (The Sultan of Muscat-Watters-Brand-Childs-Pogue) that is the finest known specimen, but unfortunately a bid of $10.81 million was not high enough for the coin to sell in the May 24, 2016 auction.


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    #7 1804 Bust Dollar - Class I (Mickley-Hawn-Queller Specimen)

    The Mickley-Hawn-Queller 1804 Silver Dollar
    The Mickley-Hawn-Queller 1804 Silver Dollar. Image Courtesy of: Heritage Auction Galleries, Ha.com

    Price Realized:  $3,877,500
    Date Sold: August 9, 2013
    Sold By: Heritage Auctions, Dallas, Texas (Auction #1188, Lot #5699)


    This is the exact same coin that is listed as the #10 Most Valuable Coins in the World above that sold for $3,737,500 in April of 2008. Unlike the Hawaii Five-O 1913 Liberty Head Nickel that lost almost $500,000 when it sold a second time, this owner made a $140,000 profit when he sold it.


    There are only 15 known authentic specimens that were struck at three different times. By...MORE closely examining the coins, professional numismatists classified each of the fifteen coins into one of three classifications: Class I or "Original", Class II or "First Restrike" and Class III or "Second Restrike".  Regardless of their classification, these coins always set records when they cross the auction block.


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  • 06 of 11

    #6 $1 Million Gold Canadian Maple Leaf

    2007 $1 Million Gold Canadian Maple Leaf Coin
    2007 $1 Million Gold Canadian Maple Leaf Coin. Photo courtesy of The Royal Canadian Mint, www.mint.ca

    Price Realized: $4,020,000
    Date Sold: June 2010
    Sold By: Dorotheum Auction House, Vienna, Austria


    In 2007 the Royal Canadian Mint produced the world's first million dollar coin. The coin measures 50 cm (20 inches) in diameter by 3 cm (1.2 inches) thick, and contains 100 kilograms (almost 220 pounds or 3,215 troy ounces) of  99.999% pure gold. The idea for the coin was originally conceived as a centerpiece to promote the Royal Canadian Mint's new line of 99.999% pure one Troy ounce Gold...MORE Maple Leaf bullion coins.


    To date, five of these majestic gold bullion coins have been purchased by investors from around the world. The last coin to sell at a public auction sold for 3.27 million euros ($4.02 million USD) at an auction in Vienna at the Dorotheum auction house.


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  • 07 of 11

    #5 1804 Silver Dollar - Class I (The Watters-Childs Specimen)

    1804 Bust Dollar - Class I (The Watters-Childs Specimen)
    1804 Bust Dollar - Class I (The Watters-Childs Specimen). Image courtesy of the Wikimedia Commons

    Price Realized: $4,140,000
    Date Sold: August 30, 1999
    Sold By: Bowers & Merena


    This specimen of the "King of U.S. Coins" is the finest known example of the 1804 Silver Dollar and is graded Proof-68 by Professional Coin Grading Service. When this coin sold in August of 1999, it became the world's most valuable coin to date. It easily beat the previous record holder (another 1804 silver dollar") by over two times the amount. Some of the previous owners included: The Sultan of Muscat,...MORE C.A. Watters, Henry Chapman, Virgil Brand, Charles and Ruth Green, Charles Frederick Childs and the Pogue Family.


    In May 2016 this finest known 1804 Silver Dollar, originally owned by the Sultan of Muscat in 1835 and then by the Childs Family Collection for more than 50 years, was once again put on the auction block by D. Brent Pogue. A bid of $10,575,000, the most ever offered for a coin, was place by phone for this 1804 Draped Bust Silver Dollar, but it failed to reach the consignor’s reserve price, Sotheby's auction house said in a statement. 


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  • 08 of 11

    #4 1787 Brasher Doubloon - EB on Wing

    1787 New York Brasher Doubloon EB on Wing, MS63, Obverse
    1787 New York Brasher Doubloon EB on Wing, MS63, Obverse. Image Courtesy of: Heritage Auction Galleries, Ha.com

    Price Realized: $4,582,500
    Date Sold: January 9, 2014
    Sold By: Heritage Auctions, Dallas, Texas (Auction #1201, Lot #5100)


    Ephraim Brasher was a goldsmith and silversmith in the New York City area in the late 1700s. Since the United States Mint was not operational yet, the colonies resorted to minting their own coins. Some of which were minted by private entrepreneurs such as Brasher. It has been acknowledged as the most important coin in the world by such luminaries as Henry Chapman and Q. David...MORE Bowers. Brasher created his New York Style Brasher doubloon in 1787 and the specifications for his coin are almost identical to the Lima doubloons and are very close to those of the earlier Spanish coins of that time period.


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  • 09 of 11

    #3 1787 Brasher Doubloon - EB on Breast

    1787 Brasher Doubloon - EB on Breast
    1787 Brasher Doubloon - EB on Breast. Image Courtesy of: Professional Coin Grading Service (PCGS) - www.pcgs.com

    Price Realized: $7,395,000                                  
    Date Sold: December 2011
    Sold By: Blanchard and Company


    Although this coin was not sold at a coin auction, Blanchard and Company placed it into the hands of a private collector for over $7,000,000. Unlike the previous 1787 Brasher Doubloon (#4) that have Ephraim Brasher's counter stamp on the eagle's wing, this coin has his mark on the breast of the eagle. The coin was minted in 1787 by Ephraim Brasher, a silversmith and...MORE goldsmith in New York City, and at that time it contained $15 worth of gold. Brasher also made a small number of gold coins we believe were intended for public circulation since the U.S. Mint had not begun operations yet.


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    #2 1933 Double Eagle

    1933 Saint-Gaudens Double Eagle - $20 U.S. Gold Coin
    1933 Saint-Gaudens Double Eagle - $20 U.S. Gold Coin. Image courtesy of the Wikimedia Commons

    Price Realized: $7,590,020
    Date Sold: July 30, 2002
    Sold By: Sotheby's and Stack's


    In 1933 the United States was in the midst of . Almost 500,000 twenty dollar gold pieces were minted in that year. President Roosevelt issued an executive order recalling all gold coins from the general public and ordering the mint to melt all the $20 gold pieces that were still in its possession. Somehow, a handful of 1933 dated $20 gold pieces escaped from the mint's vaults even though they were never...MORE officially issued. Currently they are illegal to own and will be seized by the United States government. Except one, that was originally owned by King Farouk of Egypt. After a long legal battle, the Mint and the private owner agreed to sell the coin and split the proceeds. The buyer had to pay an additional $20 to the mint in order to monetize the coin so it will be illegal to own.


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  • 11 of 11

    #1 1794 Flowing Hair Silver Dollar

    1794 Flowing Hair Silver Dollar
    1794 Flowing Hair Silver Dollar - The Most Expensive Coins in the World. Image Courtesy of: Stack's Bowers Galleries, www.stacksbowers.com

    Price Realized: $10,016,875            
    Date Sold: January 24, 2013
    Sold By: Stack’s Bowers Galleries


    Sold by the auction firm Stack's Bowers in the January 2013 New York Americana Sale, this coin set the world record for a single coin being sold. It is believed to have been the very first silver dollar ever minted by the United States. The United States Mint first opened in 1792, but only minted copper coins and some pattern coins for the first two years. This pristine example has been...MORE preserved in its original mint state condition for over 200 years. It's not very often that you come across a coin this old and in almost perfect condition.


    Of the entire known population of 1794 silver dollars, this is the only example to exhibit prooflike reflectivity in the fields. Indeed, when the coin is viewed out of its encapsulation, the fields flash with astounding deep mirror reflection, providing remarkable contrast to the fully frosted devices. Several 1795 silver dollars have not only the silver plugs but show adjustment marks. On this coin, adjustment marks are light but noted on both the obverse and reverse, primarily around the rim. The term "once in a lifetime opportunity" is seen now and again, but for this piece it is especially relevant, according to a press release by Stack's Bowers Galleries.