Coins have been around for a long time. The oldest minted coin was from 700 BC to 550 BC in ancient Anatolia. Since then, many different kinds of coins have been created. Some coins are more valuable than others because they are rare.
12 Most Valuable Coins
1. Gold 10000 and 2000 Yuan
The Chinese government issued ten 10,000 Yuan Panda gold coins in 1991 to commemorate the 10th anniversary of the first Panda coin. Each of these coins weighs around 5 kg and features the Temple of Heaven on one side and a collage of all previous Panda coin designs on the other. One of these coins was sold for $1.5 million in 2011.
Ten gold coins were minted in 1992 to commemorate different Chinese achievements—one of these coins sold for almost $1.3 million at an auction in 2011.
2. 1894-S Barber dime
One of the world’s most valuable coins is the 1894-S Barber dime. It is rare because it was never circulated, and only 24 pieces were produced. Out of those 24, only nine coins are known to survive today.
Since the late 1990s, some 1894-S Barber dimes have been auctioned off. In 2005, one of them was sold for $1 million. Another was auctioned off for about $1.3 million in the same year.
However, the most money paid for this coin was close to $2 million in a 2016 coin auction.
3. Polish 1621 100 Ducats
The Polish 1621 100 Ducats is a valuable coin minted to celebrate the Polish-Lithuanian victory over the Turks in the Battle of Khotyn in 1621.
The coin has a picture of king Sigismund III on it. He is wearing armor and a commander’s sash. You can also see the coat of arms of the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth on the back of the coin.
In January 2018, the Classical Numismatic Group auctioned a coin for $2,160,000. Another copy of this coin was auctioned in 2008 for more than 1 million dollars.
4. 1792 Birch Cent
In January 2015, Heritage Auctions sold an American cent for a lot of money. It wasn’t just any ordinary cent. It was made in 1792, one of the original coins the United States created. Only a few were made, and Thomas Jefferson had something to do with it.
The coin’s front side features a side portrait of Lady Liberty and the motto “Liberty Parent of Science and Industry.” Four varieties of Birch Cent were created. One of the varieties, Judd-3, was sold by Heritage Auctions in January 2015.
5. Single 9 Pond
The Single 9 Pond is a unique coin produced during the South African War of independence. This war was fought between 1899 and 1902.
After the outbreak of war, the President of the South African Republic, Paul Kruger, ordered the minting of new gold coins to support the economy. However, due to the lack of new (coin) dies, the authorities used the existing 1898 dies. A ‘9’ on the coin’s obverse was engraved to indicate 1899 production.
Unluckily, after the first coin was punched, it was realized that ‘9’ was out-sized, spoiling the president’s bust. No further coins were produced. In 2010, the coin was sold for 20 million Rand ($4,000,000).
6. Bust Dollar – Class I
The Bust Dollar, also known as Bowed Liberty Dollar, is a rare one-dollar coin the United States Mint issued in the 1830s. There are only about fifteen of these coins known to exist.
Initially, only eight Bust Dollar coins were minted for diplomatic purposes. However, they were never used. The coins quickly became in high demand as news of their existence spread to numismatists and private collectors.
Mint employees produced more Bust Dollar coins to meet the demands. However, the new coins (second set) were missing proper lettering. This mistake was fixed in the third and final set of coins.
Back in 1999, a Class I (original) Bust Dollar was sold by Bowers & Merena for $4,140,000. This was the highest amount of money paid for a coin then.
7. Liberty Head Nickel
The Liberty Head Nickel is a five-cent coin that was forged in 1913. Only five coins were made, but no official production record exists.
Two specimens are in museums, but three are currently in private possession. They have been sold at various auctions for large sums of money.
In 1996, one specimen of this coin was sold for close to $1.5 million. However, in 2007, the same coin was sold for $5 million in a re-sale auction.
8. $10 Proof Eagle
The Gold Eagle was the largest denomination in the U.S coinage system from 1795 to 1933. This means that it was worth more than other coins. The denominations in use at that time were the mill, the cent (10 mills), the dime (10 cents), the dollar (10 dimes), and the Eagle (10 dollars).
The coin’s reverse initially featured an eagle holding a wreath in its mouth. However, it became unpopular, so the design was changed to a heraldic eagle. In October 2007, Albanese Rare Coins sold 1804 minted $10 proof Eagles for $5 million in a private transaction.
9. Umayyad Gold Dinar
The first-ever gold dinars were created by Caliph Abd-al-Malik ibn Marwan and his Umayyad Caliphate in 696-697 CE. The word ‘dinar’ comes from the Latin word denarius, a popular silver currency used in the Roman Empire.
In 2011, one of the remaining Umayyad Gold Dinars was auctioned off for about $6 million. The coin was minted in 723 A.D. and is believed to have been made with gold mined from Ma’adin Bani Sulaim, a gold mine close to Mecca.
A similar coin was auctioned off for $4.7 million on October 24, 2019.
10. 1787 Brasher Doubloon-EB
The 1787 Brasher Doubloon is among American history’s rarest and most valuable coins. The coin was designed by Ephraim Brasher, a goldsmith who became popular for his engraving and assay proofing skills.
In 2011, an unnamed Wall Street investment firm bought one of the 1787 Brasher Doubloons for $7.4 million. The coin had been the focus of Raymond Chandler’s mystery novel “The High Window.”
11. 1933 Saint Gaudens Double Eagle
The story of the 1933 Saint Gaudens Double Eagle is interesting. In 1933, 445,500 $20 gold coins were struck, but all were melted down (due to the 1934 Gold Reserve Act). However, two coins managed to escape and are now part of the National Numismatic Collection.
But unknown to the authorities, twenty more coins were rescued. For about a decade, those coins were secretly traded among private collectors. One of them fell into the possession of King Farouk of Egypt.
The United States Secret Service was aware of some coins that were made illegally. They searched for and destroyed nine of them by 1952. In the same year, after King Farouk was overthrown from power, the United States government tried to bring the missing coin back into the country but failed. The coin unexpectedly resurfaced at a public auction in 1996 and was sold for over $7.6 million in 2002.
12. 1794 Flowing Hair Dollar
The Flowing Hair Dollar was the first silver dollar coin issued by the United States Mint on behalf of the federal government in 1794. Engraver Robert Scot designed the coin. Its measures were based on the Spanish dollar, prevalent in the U.S. at the time. The minting of the Flowing Hair Dollar ceased in 1795 and was replaced by the Draped Bust Dollar.
About 120-130 coins are still circulated from the Flowing Hair Dollar. In 2013, a coin auctioneer named Stack’s Bowers Galleries sold a 1794 minted Flowing Hair Dollar for $10,016,875. This was the highest price ever paid for a coin.
Frequently Asked Questions About Most Valuable Coins
The coin is from 1971. That’s when decimalization happened. It’s half silver and half copper. It might be less valuable because it has been tarnished and tampered with over the years. Still, it could also be a mistake made during the minting process.
Valuable coins to look out for are sixpences minted between 1920 and 1946. These coins are made of 50% silver. Sixpences minted before 1920 are made of 92.5% silver, so they are worth almost double. Rare coins, such as an 1893 sixpence with the Victoria jubilee head, could be worth thousands of pounds.
The Royal Mint has revealed the most valuable 50p coin. Ahead of the 50th anniversary of decimalization, this coin is special because it is rare. Only 210,000 coins with this design were ever minted.