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From Pocket Change to Millions: Listing The Top 10  Most Expensive Coins Ever Sold

Most Expensive Coins

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Have you ever wondered what the most expensive coins in the world are?

These aren’t just a handful of change in your pocket; they are historical artifacts worth millions, sometimes even tens of millions of dollars! These most expensive coins hold stories of innovation, leadership, and the ever-evolving world of currency.

In this blog, you will learn some fascinating information about the world of coins that every coin lover must know.

So, coin collectors, let’s begin.

List of Top 10 Most Expensive Coins

1.     1933 Saint Gaudens Double Eagle

1933 Saint Gaudens Double Eagle
  • Base Value: 20 USD
  • Price: $18,900,000
  • Years of minting: 1933
  • Designer: Augustus Saint-Gaudens
  • Design date: 1907

The United States’ 1933 double eagle coin stands as a marvel and one of the most expensive coins in existence.

This coin, far from being merely a piece of metal, weighs a hefty 33.431 grams and boasts a diameter of 34.1 mm with a thickness of 2.0 mm.

Furthermore, the coin’s edge bears the inscription “E Pluribus Unum,” which adds to its uniqueness.

Moreover, a blend of 90% gold and 10% copper crafts the coin, and its design features the iconic image of Liberty holding a torch and olive branch, symbolizing the nation’s enduring values.

However, the story becomes truly fascinating when considering its rarity. Initially, the mint produced 445,500 coins, but nearly all were melted down, leaving only 13 coins in existence.

Consequently, this scarcity catapults the 1933 Double Eagle to the status of one of the most expensive coins known.

Additionally, the coin’s design, with its powerful motto “E Pluribus Unum” – “Out of many, one” – encapsulates the unity and freedom of the states.

Thus, the coin represents not just currency, but a slice of American history and a testament to its founding principles.

2.     1794 Flowing Hair Silver Dollar

1794 Flowing Hair Silver Dollar
  • Base Value: 1 USD
  • Price: $12,000,000
  • Years of minting: 1794–1795
  • Designer: Robert Scot
  • Design date: 1794

The Flowing Hair dollar, emerging as one of the most expensive coins ever, hails from the United States and is steeped in history.

This coin, far from ordinary, tips the scales at 26.96 grams and spans a diameter of 39 to 40 mm. Moreover, its edge features a distinctive decoration with letters.

Furthermore, the coin’s composition of 90% silver and 10% copper gives form to the iconic image of Liberty, her hair flowing in the wind.

Now, let’s look into the fascinating details that render this coin a collector’s dream. Remarkably rare, only a few of these coins remain today.

Additionally, it enjoys the distinction of being the very first dollar issued by the U.S. Mint. And what’s more?

The design graced circulation for merely two years before changing, further enhancing its rarity and value.

But the rationale behind this particular design, one might inquire? The image of Liberty signifies the newfound freedom of the United States, while the eagle on the reverse side embodies the nation’s strength.

These potent symbols were deliberately selected to mirror the spirit and ambition of the burgeoning nation.

3.     1787 Brasher Doubloon – EB on Wing

1787 Brasher Doubloon - EB on Wing
  • Base Value: 8 Spanish Escudos
  • Price: $9,360,000
  • Years of minting: 1787
  • Designer: Ephraim Brasher
  • Design date: 1787

The Brasher Doubloon, minted in the USA, ranks among the world’s most expensive coins. This coin, with a unique reeded edge, weighs 26.6 grams and measures 31mm across with a 2mm thickness.

Composed of lustrous 22-carat gold, the coin’s face proudly displays an eagle clutching an olive branch and arrows, symbolizing peace and readiness. Moreover, the Brasher Doubloon’s rarity is undeniable, with only a handful in existence.

Ephraim Brasher, the goldsmith responsible for their creation, selected this design to represent unity, encapsulated by the motto ‘UNUM E PLURIBUS,’ meaning ‘One from many.’ This motto captures the essence of the new United States.

Furthermore, the Brasher Doubloon transcends mere currency; it stands as a piece of history, embodying the unity and strength of a nation uniting.

Ephraim Brasher’s vision and craftsmanship have immortalized the coin as a testament to the founding principles of the United States.

4.     1822 Half Eagle

1822 Half Eagle
  • Base Value: 5 USD
  • Price: $8,400,000
  • Years of minting: 1822
  • Designer: Keenan Barber Ganz
  • Design date: 1795 – 1908

The Half Eagle proudly stands as the United States’ first gold coin and a distinguished member of the most expensive coins collection.

This coin, with a mass of 8.75 grams and a diameter of 25 mm, showcases its solid build with a thickness to match. Additionally, the coin’s edge features reeding, providing a textured feel.

Moreover, its composition predominantly consists of gold, boasting a purity of 91.67%, while copper and silver make up the remainder, enhancing its durability and value.

Initially, the “Turban Head” design graced the Half Eagle, featuring Liberty with a cap to symbolize freedom, and the reverse side displayed a small eagle representing unity.

Furthermore, the Half Eagle’s design transcends mere aesthetics; it embodies a deeper significance.

The cap-adorned image of Liberty was deliberately chosen to reflect the American ideals of freedom and liberty.

Meanwhile, the eagle on the reverse side was intended to symbolize the United States’ strength and unity.

These design choices were deliberate, mirroring the nation’s values during its formative years.

The Half Eagle is not just a coin; it’s a symbol of the enduring principles upon which the United States was built.

5.     1804 Silver Dollar (PR-68)

1804 Silver Dollar (PR-68)
  • Base Value: 1 USD
  • Price: $7,680,000
  • Years of minting: 1830
  • Designer: Gilbert Stuart
  • Design date: 1804

The 1804 dollar, renowned as one of the world’s most expensive coins, originates from the United States. These coins feature a mass ranging from 26.10 to 26.98 grams and a diameter of 37-40 mm.

Each class boasts its unique edge design: Class I coins display the inscription “HUNDRED CENTS ONE DOLLAR OR UNIT,” Class II coins have a plain edge, and Class III coins share the same edge as Class I.

Composed of 90% silver and 10% copper, the coins’ obverse design proudly presents the iconic Bust of Liberty, while the reverse depicts a heraldic eagle clutching a scroll inscribed with “E PLURIBUS UNUM” surrounded by 13 stars.

These coins, shrouded in mystery and rarity, count only 15 known specimens. They were minted as diplomatic gifts during Edmund Roberts’ trips to Siam and Muscat.

Although the original designer remains officially unknown, Gilbert Stuart often receives credit for the design.

The motto “E PLURIBUS UNUM,” meaning “Out of many, one,” symbolizes the unity of the United States. Minted between 1834 and 1835, the talented Robert Scot is recognized as the designer.

The coins’ intricate design and motto mirror the young nation’s pride and ambition for a cohesive identity and international presence, making them not just currency, but symbols of America’s early aspirations.

6.     1787 Brasher Doubloon – EB on Breast

1787 Brasher Doubloon - EB on Breast
  • Base Value: 8 Spanish escudos
  • Price: $7,395,000
  • Years of minting: 1787
  • Designer: Ephraim Brasher
  • Design date: 1787

The Brasher Doubloon ranked as one of the most expensive coins, is an American treasure with a weight of 26.41 grams.

Although specific figures are elusive, their diameter and thickness reflect the era’s fine craftsmanship.

The coin’s edge remains unadorned, and it comprises 22-carat gold with a fineness of 0.917.

Moreover, the Brasher Doubloon features the New York coat of arms on its face, depicting a sunrise over mountains with a river flowing in the foreground—a scene symbolizing natural beauty and promise.

Encircling this image, the Latin inscription “NOVA EBORACA COLUMBIA EXCELSIOR” translates to “New York, America, Ever Upward,” echoing the state’s motto of striving for excellence.

Furthermore, the coin’s designer has left an indelible mark on history and the coin itself by inscribing his name, “BRASHER,” beneath this picturesque scene.

His design captures the aspirations and values of a young nation, with the eagle on the reverse clutching an olive branch and arrows, symbolizing the nation’s desire for peace but readiness for defense.

The Brasher Doubloon transcends mere currency; it is a narrative cast in gold, a testament to the early United States’ ideals and the unity embodied in its motto, “UNUM E PLURIBUS” – “One from many.”

This coin encapsulates the melting pot of cultures that forged a new nation, rendering it a timeless piece for collectors and historians alike.

7.     1861 Paquet Liberty Head Double Eagle

1861 Paquet Liberty Head Double Eagle
  • Base Value: 20 USD
  • Price: $7,200,000
  • Years of minting: 1849 – 1907
  • Designer: James B. Longacre
  • Design date: 1849

The Liberty Head double eagle, celebrated as one of the most expensive coins, emerged from the United States as a significant piece of history.

This coin, weighing 33.431 grams and measuring 34.1 mm in diameter, demonstrates its robustness with its thickness and reeded edge.

Crafted from a solid blend of 90% gold and 10% copper, the Liberty Head double eagle was minted from 1850 to 1907.

It serves not merely as a monetary instrument but as a canvas that displays the iconic image of Liberty.

Moreover, the later addition of the motto “In God We Trust” mirrors the nation’s values and ethos.

Here’s an intriguing fact: the Liberty Head double eagle is enveloped in mystery, with only one known specimen in existence, making it an extraordinarily rare treasure for collectors.

This coin’s story is not just about its monetary value; it’s a narrative of national pride and historical significance.

8.     1903 Fengtien Tael

1903 Fengtien Tael
  • Base Value: Unavailable
  • Price: $6,900,000
  • Years of minting: 1903
  • Designer: Unavailable
  • Design date: 1903

The 1903 Fengtien Tael, known as the “King of Chinese Coins,” shines among the most expensive coins.

Minted in China’s Fengtien Province, this silver coin holds the title of the most expensive Chinese coin ever auctioned.

With a weight of 7 Mace and 2 Candareens, the coin spans 49.75 mm in diameter and 2.5 mm in thickness, featuring a reeded edge.

The obverse proudly declares “Made in Fengtien Province,” alongside the date and weight, and proclaims itself as the “Valuable Currency of the Kuang-hsu period.”

Moreover, the reverse displays a majestic dragon, embodying the emperor, set against clouds and a fiery pearl.

This coin not only serves as currency but stands as a historical artifact, symbolizing China’s rich heritage and the transformative era of its numismatics.

Furthermore, the 1903 Fengtien Tael captures a critical moment in China’s history, reflecting the currency reform debates within the Imperial Chinese government. It is indeed a legendary piece, marking its place among the world’s most expensive coins.

9.     Umayyad Gold Dinar (723 AD)

Umayyad Gold Dinar (723 AD)
  • Base Value: Not Available
  • Price: $4,780,000
  • Years of minting: 696–697 CE
  • Designer: Caliph Abd al-Malik ibn Marwan
  • Design date: 696–697 CE

The gold dinar, embodying a rich cultural heritage, originates from the Arabic term ‘Dinar,’ itself derived from the Latin ‘Denarius.’

Countries such as Algeria, Bahrain, Iraq, Jordan, Kuwait, Libya, Macedonia, Serbia, and Tunisia have each adopted the dinar, assigning it a unique ISO code.

Moreover, the Islamic State attempted to establish the dinar as currency, albeit with limited success.

These coins transcend mere currency; they are artworks that encapsulate the civilizations they represent.

Furthermore, the Islamic gold dinar, with its precise 19 mm diameter, 1.15 mm thickness, and 4.25 grams of pure gold, boasts intricate designs that reflect its era.

These designs convey political and religious statements, contributing to economic and cultural identity.

Today, the dinar’s value is linked to the market value of gold, which is approximately $64.30 USD for 22-karat gold in the United States.

Additionally, the minting of the dinar commenced around 697 CE by the Umayyad Caliphate, with influential designers like Umayyad Caliph Abd al-Malik shaping its visual narrative throughout the centuries.

The gold dinar is not just a currency; it’s a narrative of history, art, and identity.

10.  Saint-Gaudens Double Eagle

Saint-Gaudens Double Eagle
  • Base Value: 1 USD
  • Price: $4,750,000
  • Years of minting: 1795–1804
  • Designer: Augustus Saint-Gaudens
  • Design date: 1795

The United States issued the Saint-Gaudens double eagle, a gold coin notable for its mass of 33.431 grams and a diameter of 34.1 mm, reflecting its solid value with its thickness.

Moreover, the edge uniquely features the lettering “E PLURIBUS UNUM,” while its composition of 90% gold and 10% copper lends it a distinctive sheen.

Furthermore, the design showcases a bold Liberty holding a torch and olive branch, symbolizing enlightenment and peace.

As one of the most expensive coins, this piece holds fascinating facts. Notably, the 1933 double eagle is exceedingly rare, having fetched over $7 million at auction.

Additionally, the design originated from President Theodore Roosevelt’s desire for aesthetically superior coinage, leading to Augustus Saint-Gaudens’ involvement and the creation of this iconic design.

Valued at 20 US dollars, these coins were minted from 1907 to 1933.

However, their release sparked controversy due to the absence of “In God We Trust,” a decision based on Roosevelt and Saint-Gaudens’ artistic and personal beliefs.

The public outcry led Congress to mandate the inclusion of the motto on subsequent coins, ensuring that the phrase would continue to be a staple of American coinage.

End Note

By studying these coins, we gain a deeper understanding of the economic structures, political power struggles, and artistic sensibilities of these past empires and kingdoms. Each coin is a tiny window into a bygone era, whispering tales of trade routes, powerful rulers, and the ever-evolving human story.

So, the next time you hold a coin in your hand, take a moment to appreciate its history. It may not be one of the most expensive coins, but it undoubtedly holds a story waiting to be discovered.

Parag Ahire

TEM

TEM

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