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The Top 10 Most Valuable Coins In The World | James Bucki

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This list of the most valuable coins in the world features coins that were actually sold and the prices that they realized. There are coins that are unique, housed in museums and will never be available for sale to the general public. Since these coins are considered “priceless” they are not included in this list of the world’s most valuable coins. All prices listed are in U.S. dollars and include any auction fees and commissions that were charged to the buyer.


Price Realized: $3,290,000
Date Sold: January 9, 2014
Sold By: Heritage Auctions, Dallas, Texas (Auction #1201, Lot #5161)

If there was ever a coin that was a TV star, this is the coin. There are only five known authentic examples of the 1913 Liberty Head nickel. Although the United States Mint never officially released any Liberty Head nickels in 1913, somehow five of them made it out of the U.S. Mint. In the 1970s, this very coin was the star of a popular TV show known as Hawaii Five-O (Season 6, Episode 14, The $100,000 Nickel, Dec. 11, 1973). The episode’s title uses “$100,000” because the coin sold back then for the then astronomical sum of $100,000. Also, The Travel Channel featured the nickels in their “Mysteries at the Museum” series “Million-Dollar Nickel” episode.

Auction Listing:  1913 5C Liberty PR64 NGC Olsen Specimen


Price Realized: $3,737,500
Date Sold: April 17, 2008
Sold By: Heritage Auctions, Dallas, Texas (Auction #1104, Lot #2089)

For more than 100 years the 1804 silver dollar has been known as the “King of U.S. Coins.”  Although the coin is dated 1804, none of the silver dollar specimens were actually minted in 1804. In 1834 The U.S. Mint received orders from the White House to strike complete sets of proof coinage meant to serve as diplomatic gifts for sovereigns such as the Sultan of Muscat, the King of Siam, and the Emperors of Cochin-China and Japan. Unfortunately, there were no silver dollars with the date of 1804. So the U.S. Mint made a die with the 1804 date and created some 1804 silver dollars. Little did they know that they were creating one of the most rarest and expensive coins in the world.

Auction Listing: 1804 $1 Original PR62 NGC Mickley-Hawn-Queller


Price Realized: $3,737,500
Date Sold: January 7, 2010
Sold By: Heritage Auctions, Dallas, Texas  (Auction #1136, Lot #2455)

This is the exact same coin that is listed as the #10 Most Valuable Coins in the World above that sold for $3,290,000 on January 10, 2014. As you can see, the owner originally paid $3,737,500 for it in January of 2010 and sustained a loss of close to $500,000. Starring in the 1970s television series Hawaii Five-O apparently did not help this coin to increase in value. This exact coin was used for close-up shots for the television show while a common Liberty Head nickel was used for action shots where the date could not be discerned in the risk of damaging it was too great.

Auction Listing: 1913 5C Liberty PR64 NGC Olsen Specimen



Price Realized:  $3,877,500
Date Sold: August 9, 2013
Sold By: Heritage Auctions, Dallas, Texas (Auction #1188, Lot #5699)

This is the exact same coin that is listed as the #9 Most Valuable Coins in the World above that sold for $3,737,500 in April of 2008. Unlike the Hawaii Five-O1913 Liberty Head Nickel that lost almost $500,000 when it sold a second time, this owner made a $140,000 profit when he sold it. There are only 15 known authentic specimens that were struck at three different times. By closely examining the coins, professional numismatists classified each of the fifteen coins into one of three classifications: Class I or “Original”, Class II or “First Restrike” and Class III or “Second Restrike“.  Regardless of their classification, these coins always set records when they cross the auction block.

Auction Listing: The Mickley-Hawn-Queller Class I; Original 1804 Dollar, PR62 PCGS


Price Realized: $4,020,000
Date Sold: August 1999
Sold By: Dorotheum Auction House, Vienna, Austria

In 2007 the Royal Canadian Mint produced the world’s first million dollar coin. The coin measures 50 cm (20 inches) in diameter by 3 cm (1.2 inches) thick, and contains 100 kilograms (almost 220 pounds or 3,215 troy ounces) of  99.999% pure gold. The idea for the coin was originally conceived as a centerpiece to promote the Royal Canadian Mint’s new line of 99.999% pure one Troy ounce Gold Maple Leaf bullion coins. To date, five of these majestic gold bullion coins have been purchased by investors from around the world. The last coin to sell at a public auction sold for 3.27 million euros ($4.02 million USD) at an auction in Vienna at the Dorotheum auction house.


Price Realized: $4,140,000
Date Sold: August 30, 1999
Sold By: Bowers & Merena

This specimen of the “King of U.S. Coins” is the finest known example of the 1804 Silver Dollar and is graded Proof-68 by Professional Coin Grading Service. When this coin sold in August of 1999, it became the world’s most valuable coin to date. It easily beat the previous record holder (another 1804 silver dollar”) by over two times the amount. Some of the previous owners included: The Sultan of Muscat, C.A. Watters, Henry Chapman, Virgil Brand, Charles and Ruth Green, Charles Frederick Childs and the Pogue Family.


Price Realized: $4,582,500
Date Sold: January 9, 2014
Sold By: Heritage Auctions, Dallas, Texas (Auction #1201, Lot #5100)

Ephraim Brasher was a goldsmith and silversmith in the New York City area in the late 1700s. Since the United States Mint was not operational yet, the colonies resorted to minting their own coins. Some of which were minted by private entrepreneurs such as Brasher. It has been acknowledged as the most important coin in the world by such luminaries as Henry Chapman and Q. David Bowers. Brasher created his New York Style Brasher doubloon in 1787 and the specifications for his coin are almost identical to the Lima doubloons and are very close to those of the earlier Spanish coins of that time period.

Auction Listing: 1787 DBLN Brasher Doubloon, EB on Wing, W-5840, MS63 NGC. CAC.


Price Realized: $7,395,000                                  
Date Sold: December 2011
Sold By: Blanchard and Company

Although this coin was not sold at a coin auction, Blanchard and Company placed it into the hands of a private collector for over $7,000,000. Unlike the previous 1787 Brasher Doubloon (#4) that have Ephraim Brasher’s counter stamp on the eagle’s wing, this coin has his mark on the breast of the eagle. The coin was minted in 1787 by Ephraim Brasher, a silversmith and goldsmith in New York City, and at that time it contained $15 worth of gold. Brasher also made a small number of gold coins we believe were intended for public circulation since the U.S. Mint had not begun operations yet.



Price Realized: $7,590,020
Date Sold: July 30, 2002
Sold By: Sotheby’s and Stack’s

In 1933 the United States was in the midst of The Great Depression. Almost 500,000 twenty dollar gold pieces were minted in that year. President Roosevelt issued an executive order recalling all gold coins from the general public and ordering the mint to melt all the $20 gold pieces that were still in its possession. Somehow, a handful of 1933 dated $20 gold pieces escaped from the mint’s vaults even though they were never officially issued. Currently they are illegal to own and will be seized by the United States government. Except one, that was originally owned by King Farouk of Egypt. After a long legal battle, the Mint and the private owner agreed to sell the coin and split the proceeds. The buyer had to pay an additional $20 to the mint in order to monetize the coin so it will be illegal to own.


Price Realized: $10,016,875            
Date Sold: January 24, 2013
Sold By: Stack’s Bowers Galleries

Sold by the auction firm Stack’s Bowers in the January 2013 New York Americana Sale, this coin set the world record for a single coin being sold. It is believed to have been the very first silver dollar ever minted by the United States. The United States Mint first opened in 1792, but only minted copper coins and some pattern coins for the first two years. This pristine example has been preserved in its original mint state condition for over 200 years. It’s not very often that you come across a coin this old and in almost perfect condition.

Auction Listing: Stack’s Bowers – The January 2013 New York Americana Sale Lot #13094

Images/Copy U.S. Mint// James Bucki


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