20 Most Valuable Coins and How Much They Were Sold

Based on printing errors, age, rarity, and historical value, some coins have gained a higher value than their printed value. Most of these valuable coins date back to the medieval period when coin collecting actually started. Although some of the older coins have at one point emerged as the most expensive coins ever sold, there are those printed in recent years that have also fetched millions of dollars at auction such as the 2007 $1 Million Gold Maple Leaf.

Interestingly, coins minted in the United States seem to command higher price value than those printed in other countries such as ancient Greece, as the demand for them is often on the rise. Nevertheless, all around the world lies hidden several valuable coins that could fetch good money for anyone with a sizeable collection of coins. But those that have sold for the highest prices are tremendously rare and sometimes, possessed by wealthy collectors.

With that said, here are the twenty most valuable coins that have been sold at auction houses for an eye-watering amount.

The Most Valuable Coins Ever Sold

20. 1907 Saint-Gaudens Ultra High Relief Double Eagle Lettered Edge

  • Value: $1.8 Million
  • Type: Twenty-dollar Gold Coin
  • Date of Sale: January 2007

Most valuable coins
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This valuable coin was sold in an auction for an astounding fee of $1.8 million. The $20 coin was first ordered to be produced in 1907 by former United States President Theodore Roosevelt who thought the coinage in the nation at the time to be artistically hideous. As a result, an artist named Augustus Saint-Gaudens was employed to create new coins, especially the most circulated gold coins at the time ($2.50, $5, $10, and $20), as well as the bronze cent.

In the process of designing a new model of coins, an error occurred, resulting in the production of very rare coins with unique features. Three of the coins had lettered edges, one had a plain edge, and another had a renowned die crack on the reverse side.

19. 1792 Silver Center One Cent Pattern

  • Value: $1.99 Million
  • Type: Pattern Coin
  • Date of Sale: August 2014

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Also referred to as the Judd-1 coin, the 1792 Silver Center One Cent was designed at the Mint in Philadelphia as one of the four examples of the one-cent coin. It was among the first coins to be struck at the time and just a limited number of the coins are in existence. This is due to the difficulty encountered in the production of the Silver Center coins in a large quantity. Until 1857, larger copper cent samples were used as Congress revised the specifications for the minting of the Silver Center coins. However, the size was reduced afterward following an increase in the cost of copper.

18. 1907 Saint-Gaudens Ultra High Relief Double Eagle Inverted Edge

  • Value: $2.1 Million
  • Type: Twenty-dollar Gold Coin
  • Date of Sale: January 13th, 2015

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This is one of the most valuable coins in the world. It was printed one month after the first 1907 Ultra High Relief Double Eagle coins were produced. It was designed with a new collar that had changes in the arrangement of the stars, as well as the lettering. Two pieces of the coin were ordered to be struck for the United States Mint Cabinet by the Mint director. Later in December of that same year (1907), the Mint director ordered for more pieces of the coin to be designed for himself, then-President Theodore Roosevelt (who already had one), the Secretary, and the designer.

What makes this coin unique is the initials of ASG engraved on the edge by the designer, Augustus Saint-Gaudens. The mark was added to differentiate it from another of its model that was on loan for display at the ANS.

17. 1804 Draped Bust Dollar

  • Value: $2.3 Million
  • Type: Dollar Coin
  • Date of Sale: April 2009

Most valuable coin
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1804 Draped Bust dollar Class III coins were produced some years after the original 1804 dollar coins were minted. These subsequent productions were created with a different reverse die, resulting in the production of Class II and Class III 1804 Silver dollars. Among the six Class III coins that were designed, four were artificially worn, giving them the appearance of circulated coins while the other two have the proof condition. This makes them a highly collectible coin by several museums.

The quality of this Draped Bust dollar is the finest among the four Class III coins that were artificially worn. No wonder, it was sold at auction in the United States for $2.3 million.

16. 1793 Chain Cent

  • Value: $2.35 Million
  • Type: Large Cent Coin
  • Date of Sale: January 2015

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In April 1792, the United States Congress gave authorization to the US Mint to start producing the nation’s coinage. As such, they produced a few sample coins by the year-end, and later in the next year, precisely in March 1793, the Mint in Philadelphia created the first coin for circulation which was the 1793 one-cent coin – the first federal coin to be produced.

Although 36,103 pieces of the coin were produced at the time, only 28 mint state Chain cents are in circulation today. In 2015, it became the most expensive United States coin ever to be sold at public auction for a record fee of $2.35 million.

15. 1913 Liberty Head Nickel

  • Value: $3.7 Million
  • Type: Five-cent Coin
  • Date of Sale: January 7th, 2010

Most valuable coins
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Also known as the Olsen specimen, this 1913 Liberty Head Nickel was the first coin to sell at a higher price of over $100,000 when it was auctioned in 1972. It was among the three privately held nickel coins that were owned by multiple wealthy individuals besides Col. Edward H. R. Green. King Farouk of Egypt equally had in his possession one of the 1913 nickels known as Norweb which can be found presently at the Smithsonian Institution.

This Olsen specimen has the second finest quality among the 1913 nickel coins and may have been the second nickel to be minted. The coin was featured in the 1970s TV series, Hawaii Five-O for closeup action shots but was replaced with a common Liberty Head nickel in order to avoid damaging such a rare and expensive coin.

14. 1804 Draped Bust Dollar Class I (Dexter-Poque Specimen)

  • Value: $3.8 Million
  • Type: Dollar Coin
  • Date of Sale: March 31st, 2017

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Having been auctioned for $3.8 million as part of the D. Brent Pogue coin collection, the 1804 Bust dollar Class I is a highly valuable coin. It is also known as Dexter-Poque specimen, as its name was gotten from the name of the coin’s long-term owner, James V. Dexter, who had the coin in his possession at the end of the 19th century, for fourteen years. One distinctive feature of this Draped Bust dollar Class I is the stamping of a tiny letter “D” in a cloud on the reverse side of the coin.

Despite James V. Dexter possessing the coin for several years, it is believed that the mark “D” was placed on the coin by its longest owner – William Forrester Dunham. At a certain point, it was also noticed that one of the original sets of the Draped Bust dollar coin that was minted eight in number in 1834 had a fingerprint on the obverse right-center. The entire D. Brent Pogue coin collection was sold in five separate auctions and it brought in a total of $106.69 million.

The finest specimen of the 1804 silver dollar coin is The Sultan of Muscat-Watters-Brand-Childs-Poque which received an offer of $10.81 million in an auction held in May 2016 but was not sold for such high bidding.

13. 1804 Draped Bust Dollar – Class I

  • Value: $3.87 Million
  • Type: Dollar Coin
  • Date of Sale: August 9th, 2013

Most valuable coins
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This world’s most valuable coin is also referred to as the Class I or Lettered Edge 1804 Silver Dollar, as well as the Mickley coin. It was produced in eight pieces in the year 1834 (though 1804 is printed on the coin) and is reported to have been in circulation following its acquisition by Joseph J. Mickley from a Philadelphia-based bank. In 1989, the coin came close to being the first coin to be sold for $1 million, as it was purchased at an auction for $990,000. However, another of its piece was subsequently sold for a much higher price – $3.87 million.

12. 1898 Single 9 Pond (South Africa)

  • Value: $4 Million
  • Type: South African Gold Coin
  • Date of Sale: 2010

Most valuable coins
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The pond coins were first created during the start of the second Anglo Boer War in 1899 and stamped with the number “9” to indicate the year. As the number was very large and infringed on President Paul Kruger’s image depicted on the coin, another batch of the pond coin was later redesigned to include two smaller 9s. While celebrating the Boer’s Republic Independence, the Single 9 coin was gifted to then US Consul General, C. E Macrum.

A few years later, it was spotted in the collection of King Farouk and was purchased by a collector before King Farouk made a return to South Africa. The Single 9 pond coin entered into the hands of five more collectors before it was sold at auction for a record fee of $4 million.

11. 2007 $1 Million Canadian Gold Maple Leaf

  • Value: $4.02 Million
  • Type: $1 Million (CAD) Gold Coin
  • Date of Sale: June 2010

Most valuable coin
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As of early 2020, only six of the nearly pure gold $1 million Canadian Gold Maple Leaf coins have been produced and they have a face value of $1 million each. Five of these rare and valuable coins have been bought by investors across the globe. The coins, which weigh 100 kg (almost 220 lbs), were used as a promotional centerpiece for the Royal Canadian Mint’s new line of Troy ounce Gold Maple Leaf bullion coins. It’s almost 20 inches (50 cm) wide and also has more than one-inch thickness. As such, the $1 million Canadian Gold Maple Leaf coin entered the Guinness Book of World Record as the largest gold coin in the world in October 2007. Three years later, this world’s first million-dollar coin to be produced by the Royal Canadian Mint was purchased at an auction for €3.27 million (or a little over $4 million).

10. 1804 Silver Dollar Class I (The Watters-Childs Specimen)

  • Value: $4.1 Million
  • Type: Dollar Coin
  • Date of Sale: August 30th, 1999

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This specimen of the 1804 Silver Dollar Class I emerged as the most valuable coin in the world when it was sold by the auction house, Bower & Merena in August 1999. It has the finest quality among other examples of the 1804 Silver Dollar and was given a grade of Proof-68 by the Professional Coin Grading Service. Over the years, the coin has been owned by many wealthy coin collectors, including Charles and Ruth Green, Henry Chapman, the Pogue Family, the Sultan of Muscat, Virgil Brand, Charles Frederick Childs, and C.A. Watters.

The coin was initially in the possession of the Sultan of Musca in the year 1835 before later making its way into the coin collection of the Childs Family where it stayed for over fifty years. However, in May 2016, the coin was put up for auction once again and received a bewildering offer of $10.5 million, which became the highest bid ever offered for a coin. Surprisingly, it failed to sell as the offer wasn’t enough to purchase the 1804 Silver Dollar finest specimen.

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9. 1913 Liberty Head Nickel – Morton-Smith-Eliasberg

  • Value: $4.5 Million
  • Type: Five-cent Coin
  • Date of Sale: August 2018

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The Liberty Head Nickel is another one of the most valuable coins as there are only five specimens in circulation. The Liberty Head Nickel – Morton-Smith-Eliasberg coin has the finest quality among the five, having been the only coin to possess a high mirror-like surface in the field. It has been graded by the Professional Coin Grading Service between MS-62 and Proof-64. This valuable coin was auctioned at the Philadelphia-based ANA U.S. Coins Auction in August 2018 as part of the collection of Dr. William Morton-Smith/Louis E. Eliasberg Sr. and was sold for $4.5 million.

Two other specimens; the McDermott and Norweb coins are held by public institutions. The McDermott coin has the lowest quality amongst the five and can be found at the ANA Money Museum situated in Colorado Springs while the Norweb coin is on display at the Smithsonian.

8. 1787 Brasher Doubloon – EB on Wing (Gilmor, Newlin, Davis, Brand)

  • Value: $4.5 Million
  • Type: Gold Coin
  • Date of Sale: January 9th, 2014

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In the 1700s, when the US Mint was not in operation, colonies were minting their own coins at the time using the services of some private entrepreneurs such as the New York City-based goldsmith and silversmith, Ephraim Brasher. He designed the Brasher Doubloon coin in 1787, incorporating a New York Style on the coin which made it unique. As a result, it has been regarded by many numismatics including Q. David Bowers and Henry Chapman as one of the world’s most valuable coins. Ephraim Brasher’s specifications for his coin has similar features with the Lima Doubloons, as well as the 1780s Spanish coins.

7. 1794 Flowing Hair Silver Dollar

  • Value: $4.9 Million
  • Type: Dollar Coin
  • Date of Sale: September 30th, 2015

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This rare and expensive coin is among the six examples of the 1794 Flowing Hair Silver Dollar specimen that have been graded professionally. Having been one of the two coins that were privately secured for close to 170 years in the Chippendale cabinet which originally belonged to Lord Saint Oswald, this mint state dollar coin is regarded to be a die state II. It is one of the earlier strikes, and as such, its first three stars are full with the image of Liberty being precisely struck. This differentiates the coin from other existing coins of its type that depict more die lapping and softer images.

6. 723 Umayyad Gold Dinar (Islamic Umayyad Kingdom)

  • Value: $6 Million
  • Type: Islamic Medieval Gold Coin
  • Date of Sale: April 4th, 2011

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Regarded among the rarest and earliest Islamic coins, the Umayyad Gold Dinar was struck from a goldmine owned by the Commander of the Faithful, Ma’din Bani Sulaim, situated in the northwest of Mecca, as the text on the coin shows. It is believed that this valuable gold coin must have been among the caliph’s special issues during his pilgrimage to Mecca. On the coin is indicated a location in modern-day Saudia Arabia and a date, A.H. 105 (between 723 A.D and 724 A.D).

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The Umayyad Gold Dinar became the second most expensive coin ever to be sold at auction in 2011 when the gold coin was purchased for £3.7 million (about $6 million). Up to 12 examples of the Umayyad Gold Dinar is presently in circulation.

5. 1343 Edward III Florin

  • Value: $6.8 Million
  • Type: English Gold Coin
  • Date of Sale: July 2006

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About three pieces of the 1343 Edward III Florin are in existence, with two of the expensive gold coins which were discovered in the River Tyne in 1857 kept in the British Museum, London. The third example of the coin was discovered in the year 2006 by a prospector using a metal detector. The coin has unique characteristics. It is distinguished with the image of King Edward III on the front of the coin, with two leopard’s heads on both sides while the reverse side depicts the Royal Cross inside a quatrefoil.

Following the artistic design on the coin, it is also referred to as the Double Leopard. The 1343 Edward III Florin coin was sold at an auction in July 2006 for a record fee for a British coin – $850,000 (£480,000) which is presently estimated at $6.8 million.

4. 1787 Brasher Doubloon – EB on Breast (Bushnell-Garrett)

  • Value: $7.4 Million
  • Type: Gold Coin
  • Date of Sale: 2011

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In the late 18th century, New York City-based silversmith and goldsmith, Ephraim Brasher designed one of the most valuable coins in the world, the Brasher Doubloon – EB on Breast (Bushnell-Garrett). On the front of the coin is displayed a state seal with a rising sun and the reverse side has the image of the American eagle with a shield. Based on their unique characteristics, the coins have been sold for higher prices at auctions.

One example of the Doubloon coin stamped with Ephraim Brasher’s signature (EB) on the breast was purchased for $7.4 million at an auction in 2011. Later in 2018, another version of the coin that has the signature EB on the wing of the bird was sold privately for over $5 million.

3. 1933 Saint-Gaudens Double Eagle

  • Value: $7.6 Million
  • Type: Twenty-dollar Gold Coin
  • Date of Sale: July 30th, 2002

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Sold at an auction for a whopping fee of $7.6 million, the 1933 Saint-Gaudens Double Eagle is one of the world’s most expensive coins. Following an order by Franklin Roosevelt to melt all 1933 $20 coins before they were made legal currency, several pieces escaped the destruction, two of which were preserved at the Smithsonian Institute. In subsequent years, about nine pieces of the coin have been found and seized for destruction by the Secret Service.

Another one of the 1933 Saint-Gaudens Double Eagle coins which was discovered in the coin collection of Egyptian King Farouk was sold in 1954. It was later found in the hands of the British coin dealer Stephen Fenton in the year 1995. This led to a long legal battle to decide if the coin could be legally owned. Afterward, the coin was sold and the proceeds were divided between the United States Mint and Stephen Fenton. The 1933 Saint-Gaudens Double Eagle coin was later declared a legal currency in 2002, making it the only 1933 double eagle that could legally be owned.

2. 1787 Brasher Doubloon – EB on Wing (Patrick Specimen)

  • Value: $9.3 Million
  • Type: Gold Coin
  • Date of Sale: January 21st, 2021

Most valuable coins
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One of the world’s most valuable coins, the 1787 Brasher Doubloon – EB on Wing (Patrick specimen), was first produced in the late 1700s and was ranked among the earliest privately issued gold coins that have a face value of $15. Later in 1848, numismatist Matthew Stickney became the original owner and the New York Style Brasher doubloon emerged as the world’s most famous numismatic rarest coin. Its quality is the finest among the other seven known specimens.

This coin is highly valued by any numismatist that has it in their coin collection. It was sold by Heritage Auctions for a staggering fee of $9.3 million in January 2021.

1. 1974 Flowing Hair Silver Dollar

  • Value: $10 Million
  • Type: Dollar Coin
  • Date of Sale: January 24th, 2013

Most valuable coins
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The most valuable and expensive coin in the world is the 1974 Flowing Hair Silver Dollar coin. It was sold in January 2013 by the Stack’s Bowers Galleries for a record fee of $10 million. The coin is believed to be the first silver dollar coin to ever be produced in the US. Following the launching of the United States Mint in 1792, they only produced some copper coins, as well as minted copper coins for their first two years of operation. Unlike other known examples of the 1794 silver dollars, this rare coin that has been preserved by collectors for more than 200 hundred years in its original mint state condition displays proof-like reflectivity in the field.

It also has light adjustment marks that are stamped on both the obverse and reverse sides of the coin, basically around the rim. This distinguishes it from many other 1975 silver dollar coins that have silver plugs along with noticeable adjustment marks. It is quite an especially relevant coin to be added to the collection of any serious coin collector, but unfortunately, the coin is an oldie and goldie and can’t be easily found in circulation.

Factors That Determine The Value of a Coin

As an item used specifically as a medium of exchange or investment, there are certain factors that add to the worth of a coin – like those produced with valuable metals and are preserved in large quantities. Coins that are most valued by collectors and investors must also be in good condition and also have the finest quality. Mint coins often have greater chances of selling at a higher price than those that are not in the mint state.

Aside from a coin being in a good condition and having the best quality, other factors that can increase the value of a coin includes:

  1. Specific historical design
  2. The rarity of the coin
  3. The beauty of the artistic design
  4. Its overall popularity with collectors

Coins that are devoid of all these factors would not likely be worth much to collectors, and as such, they won’t fetch any substantial money to the owner. Then the value of bullion coins, on the other hand, can also be determined by the aforementioned factors but their value is mostly dependent on the quality and value of the metals from which they were produced such as the value of their gold, silver, or platinum contents.

Recap of The 20 Most Valuable Coins And How Much They Were Sold

  1. 1974 Flowing Hair Silver Dollar – $10 Million

2. 1787 Brasher Doubloon – EB on Wing (Patrick Specimen) – $9.3 Million

3. 1933 Saint-Gaudens Double Eagle – $7.6 Million

4. 1787 Brasher Doubloon – EB on Breast (Bushnell-Garrett) – $7.4 Million

5. 1343 Edward III Florin – $6.8 Million

6. 723 Umayyad Gold Dinar (Islamic Umayyad Kingdom) – $6 Million

7. 1794 Flowing Hair Silver Dollar – $4.9 Million

8. 1787 Brasher Doubloon – EB on Wing (Gilmor, Newlin, Davis, Brand) – $4.5 Million

9. 1913 Liberty Head Nickel – Morton-Smith-Eliasberg – $4.5 Million

10. 1804 Silver Dollar Class I (The Watters-Childs Specimen) – $4.1 Million

11. 2007 $1 Million Canadian Gold Maple Leaf – $4.02 Million

12. 1898 Single 9 Pond (South Africa) – $4 Million

13. 1804 Draped Bust Dollar – Class I – $3.87 Million

14. 1804 Draped Bust Dollar Class I (Dexter-Poque Specimen) – $3.8 Million

15. 1913 Liberty Head Nickel – Hawaii-Five-O Star – $3.7 Million

16. 1793 Chain Cent – $2.35 Million

17. 1804 Draped Bust Dollar – $2.3 Million

18. 1907 Saint-Gaudens Ultra High Relief Double Eagle Inverted Edge – $2.1 Million

19. 1792 Silver Center One Cent Pattern – $1.99 Million

20. 1907 Saint-Gaudens Ultra High Relief Double Eagle Lettered Edge – $1.8 Million

Chioma Uchenwoke
Chioma Uchenwoke
Apart from content writing in the area of entertainment, personal finance and celebrity net worth, Chioma’s main interests are movies, football, music and books. She has been writing professionally for about 2 years in these fields

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