Coins Worth Millions of Dollars

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Contributor, Benzinga
October 29, 2023

Most coins are barely worth their face value, but a handful of exorbitantly rare coins worth millions of dollars are out there. Some coins have sold for more than $10 million. Coins worth this much are more like historical relics and artifacts than collectibles, so you aren’t likely to find one in your change jar. Keep reading to discover some of the most valuable coins ever made.

What Makes a Coin Worth Millions of Dollars?

Various factors can make a coin valuable, including extremely rare mint errors, rare versions of coins and historically important rare coins. Coins with low mintage and limited editions or those that were struck only once can be worth a significant amount of money. Coins important to history can be essentially priceless, as they carry not only their intrinsic value but also their historical significance.

Mint errors such as off-center strikes, doubled dies and overdates can increase the value of a coin exponentially. Sometimes, a mistake made during the minting process can result in a one-of-a-kind coin that is highly sought after by collectors. Coins with historical importance, such as those from ancient civilizations or tied to significant events, can also fetch a high price in the market.

The Most Valuable Coins Worth Millions of Dollars

1933 Saint-Gaudens Double Eagle

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The Saint-Gaudens Double Eagle gold coin is a popular choice for collectors and investors and has a face value of 20 dollars. However, its 90% (and 99.99% for 2009 coins) gold content makes it worth much more. The 1933 Saint-Gaudens Double Eagle is one of the rarest coins of the modern era (if not the rarest, not counting one-off mint errors).

The 1933 Saint-Gaudens Double Eagle easily has the richest history of any modern coin. It was the very last gold coin struck intended for circulation in the U.S. but was never actually circulated. Just under 450,000 of these coins were minted, but all but about 22 were melted back down due to the 1930s banking crisis and an emergency shortage of gold and silver in the U.S. that year. This action was authorized by President Franklin D. Roosevelt’s executive order 6102, which also criminalized hoarding gold and silver, punishable by up to 10 years in prison and a large fine. Only two were saved (and put on display at the Smithsonian Institute) and another 20 were stolen from the mint before they could be melted. 

The stolen coins were deemed illegal to own in 1944 after the Secret Service discovered their existence. However, weeks before this decision was handed down, one of these coins was purchased and was accidentally issued an export license. It entered the world-famous coin collection of Egypt’s King Farouk before disappearing for over 40 years and reappearing in a Secret Service sting. The owner decided to give the coin up to avoid prosecution for the stolen coin. Years later in 2002, it was sold in an auction for $7.59 million, setting the world record for highest selling coin. The same coin was sold in 2021 for $18.9 million, setting the world record yet again. 

1794 Flowing Hair Silver Dollar

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The 1794 Flowing Hair Silver Dollar is another valuable coin with a rich history. It is considered the first dollar coin issued by the United States federal government. It features an image of Lady Liberty with flowing hair on the obverse and a small eagle on the reverse. This coin is not quite as rare as the 1933 Saint-Gaudens Double Eagle, but it’s close. Only about 1,758 were struck in 1794, and many were melted down over the years. 1795 Flowing Hair silver dollars are also valuable but aren’t as rare as their 1794 counterpart.

In 2013, an impeccable specimen of the 1794 Flowing Hair Silver Dollar sold for over $10 million at auction, making it the most expensive coin ever sold (until the 1933 Saint-Gaudens sold for $18.9 million). Another incredible specimen sold for $12 million in 2022 and is the second-highest coin sale ever. The coin's exceptional design, historical importance and rarity make it highly sought after by wealthy collectors.

1787 Brasher Doubloon

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The 1787 Brasher Doubloon is the most valuable privately minted gold coin, and it too played an important role in American coinage. It was minted by Ephraim Brasher, a celebrity goldsmith and silversmith from New York and a neighbor of George Washington. The coin was the first gold coin to be denominated in dollars, even though it wasn’t sanctioned legal tender. It features a mountain range adapted from the New York coat of arms on the obverse, and the nation’s motto "e pluribus unum" surrounding an eagle on the reverse. 

Only a few Brasher Doubloons are known to exist, making them rare and valuable. One 1787 Brasher Doubloon with unusually placed initials sold for $7.8 million in 2011. In 2021, an anonymous bidder purchased the coin for $9.36 million in an auction.

723 Umayyad Gold Dinar

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The 723 Umayyad Gold Dinar is an ancient Islamic coin minted during the reign of Yazid II of the Umayyad Caliphate in 723 AD. This gold coin features inscriptions in Arabic on the obverse and reverse. A portion of the text translates to “Mine of the Commander of the Faithful in the Hijaz.” This suggests that the coin was minted with gold unearthed from a mine that was personally owned by Yazid II and seems to be the first Islamic gold coin to mention a place in modern-day Saudi Arabia. The mine was dug on land that was said to have been owned by the prophet Mohammed himself and handed down to Yazid. 

In 2011, a 723 Umayyad Gold Dinar sold for 3.72 million pounds (~$6 million at the time) at auction. Its rarity, historical importance, and the fact that it is one of the earliest Islamic gold coins mentioning modern-day Saudi Arabia contribute to its enormous value.

1343 Edward III Florin

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The 1343 Edward III Florin, also known as the Double Leopard, is a gold coin from medieval England. It features King Edward III seated on a throne on the obverse and a royal shield with leopards on the reverse. The coin was only minted in 1343 and 1344 and was rare even in its day with a face value of 6 shillings (there are 20 shillings to one pound). The Double Leopard has substantial historical significance as well because it was minted just after the start of the Hundred Years’ War. Edward III is well-known for his military successes and his bold decision to lay claim to the French throne. 

Only three specimens of the 1343 Edward III Florin are known to exist. One of these coins sold for approximately $480,000 pounds ($850,000) at auction in 2006 and is now valued at over $6 million. 

100 Kilogram Canadian Gold Maple Leaf Novelty Coin, "The Big Maple Leaf"

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The 100-kilogram (220-pound) Canadian Gold Maple Leaf is a novelty coin produced by the Royal Canadian Mint with a face value of $1 million. Made of 99.999% pure gold, this monolithic coin features the iconic maple leaf design on the reverse and a portrait of Queen Elizabeth II on the obverse. The coin was intended to promote the Canadian Mint’s regular 1-oz Gold Maple Leaf coins, and only 6 were created. One of the 6 was stolen from Berlin's Bode Museum in 2017 and while the alleged thieves have been found guilty in a German court, the stolen coin is yet to be recovered.

In 2007, this unique coin sold for over 3.27 million euros (about $4 million at the time), making it one of the most expensive coins ever sold. Its immense size, rarity, purity and the fact that it is a one-of-a-kind piece contribute to its value.

Don’t have a million dollars to spend but still want to collect a few interesting coins? Here are some of the most popular collectible coins right now.

Silver Peace Dollars

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The Silver Peace dollar is a United States coin that was minted from 1921 to 1935. It features Lady Liberty on the obverse and a bald eagle clutching an olive branch on the reverse. The Peace Dollar commemorates the end of World War I and is highly popular among collectors for its beautiful design and historical significance. With a relatively low cost compared to rarer coins, it can be a great choice for new collectors. Lear Capital, a top precious metals dealer, offers circulated Silver Peace dollars.

1-Oz Canadian Gold Maple Leaf Coins

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The 1-oz Canadian Gold Maple Leaf coin is one of the world's most popular gold bullion coins. First introduced in 1979 by the Royal Canadian Mint, it is made of up to 99.999% pure gold, making it one of the purest popular gold bullion coins. It features the iconic maple leaf design on the reverse and a portrait of the late Queen Elizabeth II on the obverse. These coins are affordable as gold coins go and are a widely available option for collectors and investors. A few of the best precious metals dealers that offer it are American Hartford Gold, Lear Capital, Gold Gate Capital, and APMEX

American Gold Eagle Coins

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The American Gold Eagle is the official gold bullion coin of the United States. It was first released in 1986 and is available in four sizes: 1 oz, 1/2 oz, 1/4 oz and 1/10 oz. The obverse features Lady Liberty with a torch and olive branch, while the reverse depicts an iconic image of a family of eagles. These coins are widely recognized and easily traded, making them one of the most popular forms of gold bullion in the world. Most precious metals dealers offer the coin and some of the best include American Hartford Gold, Lear Capital, Gold Gate Capital, and APMEX

Frequently Asked Questions

Q

What old coins are worth millions?

A

Some old coins that are worth millions include the 1933 Double Eagle gold coin, the 1794 Flowing Hair silver dollar, and the 1804 Draped Bust silver dollar. These coins are extremely rare and have historical significance, which contributes to their high value.

Q

What's the rarest coin worth?

A

The rarest coin worth is subjective and can vary depending on factors such as condition, rarity, historical significance, and collector demand. Some of the rarest and most valuable coins include the 1933 Double Eagle gold coin, which sold for over $7 million in a private transaction, and the 1794 Flowing Hair dollar, which fetched over $10 million in a public auction.

Q

What year penny is worth $20000?

A

A penny from 1943 made of copper is worth around $20,000.

About Henry Stater

Henry is an expert in all things crypto. He stays up to date with all the latest coins, platforms and technologies in the field. He has particular expertise in the burgeoning decentralized finance ecosystem and loves trying out all the new platforms. He also always follows major events in other financial markets and geopolitics as a whole, especially when an event’s effects ripple through the crypto market.