Did You Know

Most Expensive Coins Ever Sold

A 1794 U.S. "Flowing Hair" Dollar fetched more than $10 million at an auction in 2013.

Coin collecting has been a popular hobby and an investment technique for many years. The search for unique, misprinted, and briefly circulated coins has enthralled both serious collectors and amateur collectors alike. The condition of the coin lends to its value and these range from mint to poor and everything in between. The following article takes a look at some of the most expensive coins ever sold. They are all US coins with the exception of one from the Umayyad Caliphate, one of four major Islamic Caliphs under the Umayyad Dynasty.

The Most Expensive Coins

Flowing Hair dollar

Taking the first spot on the list is the Flowing Hair dollar. This American coin was minted in 1794 and sold for $10,016875 in January 2013. Legend Numismatics, a New Jersey-based rare-coin business, purchased the coin at an auction in New York. Why would a coin that was originally worth $1 sell for over $10 million? Well, this was the very first dollar coin printed by the American government. The Flowing Hair Dollar came two years after the signing of the Coinage Act of 1792 and they were circulated for about one year before being replaced by the Draped Bust dollar.

Saint-Gaudens Double Eagle

The second most expensive coin ever sold is the Saint-Gaudens Double Eagle, which was minted in 1933. It sold for $7,590,020 in July 2002. This coin was a gold $20 coin produced between 1907 and 1933. None of the 445,000 minted in 1933 were ever circulated, and the government called for their destruction. Later, Secret Service officials got their hands on 19 that had been stolen before they could be destroyed. Of these, nine were melted down. This coin is one of the rarest in existence and is currently in the hands of a private collector.

Brasher Doubloon

Number 3 on the list is the Brasher Doubloon. Minted in 1787, it sold in December 2011 for $7,400,000. This coin was created prior to the Coinage Act by a goldsmith who had petitioned New York state to print copper coins. The petition was denied. The Brasher Doubloon features an eagle with a shield on its chest on one side and a mountain and sun scene on the back. The goldsmith marked all of his coins with his hallmark although, on this particular piece, his hallmark can be found on the shield rather than on the left wing of the eagle. Nobody knows why, but it certainly added value to the coin given this unique indicator. A Wall Street investment firm purchased this coin, and the details have been kept private.

Other Expensive Coins

The remaining coins on this list sold for under $7 million. These include: Umayyad Gold Dinar, 723 ($6,029,400 in April 2011); Ten-Dollar Eagle, 1804 ($5 million in October 2007); Flowing Hair Dollar, 1794 ($4,993,750 in September 2015); Brasher Doubloon, 1787 ($4,582,500 in January 2014); Class I 1804 Dollar ($4,140,000 in August 1999); Class I 1804 Dollar ($3,737,500 in May 2008; and the 1913 Liberty Head Nickel ($3,737,500 in January 2010).

Rare and Valuable

All of these coins are considered rare and valuable and most of them were once in a private collection and are later sold through auction. What makes somebody offer to pay such high prices? Money is such an interesting concept to begin with because the material used to make it is often worth less than the face value. This is of little interest to collectors. It is the allure of being somehow closer to history, of holding a unique representation of a period in time, that prompts collectors to pay such large sums for these rare and valuable pieces.

Most Expensive Coins Ever Sold

RankCoin, Country Issued, Year MintedSelling Price, Date Sold
1Flowing Hair Dollar, U.S.A., 1794$10,016,875, January of 2013
2Saint Gaudens Double Eagle, U.S.A., 1933$7,590,020, July of 2002
3Brasher Doubloon, U.S.A., 1787$7,400,000, December of 2011
4Umayyad Gold Dinar, Umayyad Caliphate, 723$6,029,400, April of 2011
5Ten-Dollar Eagle, U.S.A., 1804$5,000,000, October of 2007
6Flowing Hair Dollar, U.S.A., 1794$4,993,750, September of 2015
7Brasher Doubloon, U.S.A., 1787$4,582,500, January of 2014
8Class I 1804 Dollar, U.S.A., 1804$4,140,000, August of 1999
9Class I 1804 Dollar, U.S.A., 1804$3,737,500, May of 2008
101913 Liberty Head Nickel, U.S.A.$3,737,500, January of 2010

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