The 8 Rarest & Most Valuable Coins in the World –
Nearly as long as there has been civilization, there has been money circulating throughout it. There have been both valuable coins and bills, but coins are amongst the rarest forms of currency in the world. Perhaps it is because of the craftsmanship that goes into creating different coins in different cultures, or perhaps it has to do with the value of the coin itself and the history behind it. Whatever it is, people have always been fascinated with rare and valuable coins as long as they’ve been in use. Whether you collect coins as a hobby or just find the history behind their creation worth exploring, we hope this list of the 8 rarest and most valuable coins in the world will capture your interest and teach you something new.
Check Out the 8 Rarest and Most Valuable Coins in the World
This list contains coins that have actually been used as currency at some point in time all around the world, from as far back as the 11th and 12th centuries, to today. Many of these coins have been removed from public use and currently reside only in museums across the globe and are considered to be priceless while others are still in use to this day. Still, others are novelty coins or marketing stunts that were created for a specific reason, such as commemorating an event or else with only brief use in mind. Without further ado, check out the 8 rarest and most valuable coins in the world (in no particular order!):
1. 1913 Liberty Head Nickel
Source: Coin Trackers
This coin is currently valued at $3.7 million but could be as valuable as well over $4 million. It was initially pressed without the authorization of the U.S. Mint after it had switched the 5-cent piece design from Lady Liberty to the depiction of a Native American profile. There were only ever five of these coins released to the public domain, with the most expensive one being bought at an auction for $3.7 million in 2010. The bought coin and two others currently reside in private collections, while the remaining two are held in museums. Also known as the Indian Head (Buffalo) nickel, these were first introduced in February 1913 and were the first official strikings of nickels in that year. All five of the coins were at one point owned by a man named Samuel Brown, who worked as a numismatist and is rumored to have struck the coins himself!
2. 1794/5 Flowing Hair Dollar
The 1794/5 Flowing Hair Dollar was the very first dollar coin ever issued by the U.S. Federal Government. It was sold for $10 million in January of 2013, which means the value may have risen since one of these coins was last bought. Due to this, it remains one of the world’s most valuable coins. It was first minted between 1974 and 1975 by the newly-founded U.S. Federal Mint and depicts the famous bust of Lady Liberty with her iconic long flowing locks. On top of being the first dollar coin in the U.S., the unique picture makes it a historical memento not many want to pass up. There are three types of the Flowing Hair Dollar in all: one has two leaves, one has three leaves, and one has the Silver Plug. Of these three types, the silver plug is worth two times more than the leaf versions. If you come across one of these dollars, be prepared to shell out a pretty penny for this incredibly rare coin.
3. 1343 Edward III Florin
Source: The British Museum
The 1343 Edward III Florin is one of the oldest and rarest coins on our list. Known as a “double leopard,” it had a face value of about six shillings when it was circulated throughout December 1343 to July 1344 in medieval England. Today, there are only three of these English coins still in existence after all these centuries. Two of the three were first found in the River Tyne in 1857, while the third coin was sold for 460,000 pounds at an auction in the summer of 2006, after being found by a metal detecting enthusiast in February of that year in the south of England. The coin is currently valued at $6.8 million.
4. 2007 C$1m Coin
Source: The Guardian
Perhaps one of the rarest coins in the world today is the 2007 Canadian $1 million coin. It was minted by the Royal Canadian Mint for the Royal Canadian Mint exhibit. It is known as the world’s largest coin and sold at an auction for $4 million in 2010. It is 21 inches in diameter, weighs 200 pounds, and depicts the image of Queen Elizabeth II, earning it a place in the Guinness Book of World Records. What’s more, the coin is made from nearly pure gold (99.99 percent) and is one of five Canadian Maple Leaf coins carrying a $1 million face value.
5. 1849 Double Eagle
Source: 1849 Double Eagle
When gold was discovered in California in 1849, it gave way to the California Gold Rush, a whirlwind of discovery and wealth. During this time, two new denominations of American gold coins were forged, one of which was the 1849 Double Eagle. This coin was engraved by James B. Longacre, who is well known for his Indian Head Cent design (another coin on this list!). There are only 2 proofs of this coin in existence, and the 1849 Double Eagle itself was not struck for circulation. One of the 1849 Double Eagle coin proofs is currently part of the National Numismatic Collection in the Smithsonian Institution, while the other’s whereabouts are unknown.
6. 1933 Double Eagle
Source: Coin World
The 1933 Double Eagle was also forged in denominations of $20. There are well over 440,00 Double Eagles that have been minted with the 1933 date, but none of them were released into circulation. This was mainly due to the changes in currency laws issued during the Great Depression. As the country was spiraling into financial ruin, President Franklin Roosevelt took America off of the Gold Standard, which meant no gold coins could be issued into circulation, and the ones that were in circulation had to be returned. Due to the fascinating history surrounding the 1933 Double Eagle, this coin is another one of the especially rare ones on our list. In fact, a 1933 Double Eagle was sold in 2002 at an auction for a whopping $7,590,020 million.
7. 1787 Brasher Doubloon EB on Wing
Forged by the goldsmith Ephraim Brasher, the 1787 Brasher Doubloon almost wasn’t made. Brasher had petitioned New York state to mint a new set of coins in copper in the 1780s. Unfortunately, the state legislature did not want copper coins, let alone Brasher’s work, and so the Goldsmith was ignored. Pressing forward, Brasher overlooked the decision of the state and instead went and minted the coins anyway. His coins were mostly minted in bronze, but there are some that were minted in 22-carat gold. It depicts an eagle with Brasher’s initials on the wing and today remains one of the rarest coins in the U.S. It was sold to a Wall Street investment firm for a cool $7.4 million, one of the highest prices ever paid for a gold coin.
8. 2011 Scotland Edinburgh City
Source: Royal Mint
The Scotland Edinburg City Coin was first issued in 2011 and is already considered one of the rarest European coins of the 21st century. The Edinburgh city was one of the final two one pound (£1) coins made in the “City Series” of 2010, which also featured three other capital cities of the UK. The coin depicts the official badge of Edinburgh, has a mintage of 935,000, and was designed by Stuart Devlin, who is Goldsmith and Jeweller to the Queen. Check your change, you might be carrying a fortune in a single coin in your back pocket!
Final Thoughts on Priceless Pieces
We hope that both collectors and historians enjoyed learning about these different coins. Each one has its own unique history and represents a tie to the past and different cultures. From the medieval coins of England to those steeped in early American history, each of these coins is rare and holds a truly priceless value both monetarily and historically.