Most investors value gold or silver coins for their precious metal content and high liquidity. However, some of the rarest coins in the world fetch extremely high prices thanks to their scarcity and historical value.
What is the world’s most expensive coin in the world, and how can you avoid unnecessary risks when investing in valuable coins? In this guide by Oxford Gold Group, we’ll cover how to appraise and store valuable coins—and how to tell if a coin is legitimate.
All expensive coins have two things in common: they are both rare and old. The following ten coins are among the most valuable in the world.
The King Edward III Florin, also known as the Double Leopard, is a famous and extremely rare British coin. This exquisite coin shows an image of Edward III in full regalia, with a crowned leopard head on either side of His Majesty.
Only three known examples of these florins exist in the entire world, two of them on display in the British museum. These two coins owe their discovery to two British schoolchildren who found them near a river in the mid-19th century. A global fund purchased the third coin in 2006. The florin sold for around 460,000 GBP, but most experts value it at around 5 million GBP today.
The Million Dollar Coin, or Big Maple Leaf (BML), was the world’s first coin with a face value of $1 million. The Canadian government minted a collection of six BML coins to promote the Canadian mint’s collectible gold coin line in 2007. The Guinness World Records declared the BML the world’s largest gold coin, and it held this title until the production of the Australian Gold Nugget (Gold Kangaroo) in 2011.
This Big Maple Leaf weighs 220 pounds with a thickness of 1.1 inches and a diameter of 20 inches. The coin’s obverse design is similar to other Canadian coinage and features Queen Elizabeth II’s bust in maturing dignity without a crown or tiara.
The Liberty Head Nickel is a five-cent piece that the United States Mint struck and circulated from 1883 to 1912. However, even though the mint didn’t officially strike 1913 nickels, at least five with this mint date exist.
While the origin of the 1913 coins is uncertain, they are among the most expensive coins in the world. The Morton-Smith-Eliaspberg Liberty Head Nickel sold for $4.5 million back in 2018. This coin received an MS-62 Proof 64 grading from Professional Coin Graders.
The coin has a diameter of 0.8350 inches, and the obverse design is the goddess of Liberty wearing a wreath and coronet. The coin’s reverse features the Roman numeral V, earning this coin the nickname “V nickel.” One of the 1913 coins is on display at the Smithsonian National Museum of American History.
The Philadelphia, Denver, and San Francisco minting branches produced 1943 pennies from zinc-plated steel in an attempt to conserve tin and copper during World War II. However, a production mistake led to the striking of around 1943 pennies on copper planchets.
In 1958, one of these pennies sold for around $40,000, and another sold for $82,500 in 1996. More recently, a New Jersey dealer sold a 1943 copper penny in mint condition for $1.7 million, making it one of the most valuable coins in the United States.
If you have a 1943 penny, hold it near a magnet. If the coin doesn’t stick, you have an authentic copper penny.
Ephraim Brasher, a prominent New York jeweler and George Washington’s neighbor, privately created a set of seven Brasher Doubloon coins in 1792, five years before the opening of the federal mint. As a result, the 1787 Brasher Doubloon coins weren’t legal tender, but they had a melt value of around $15 due to their 89% gold content.
The coin’s obverse features a mountain range, an element from the New York State coat of arms. The reverse design includes an eagle and elements of the Great Seal of the United States with the inscription “E Pluribus Unum.” Today, the Doubloons are among the most expensive coins in the world.
The Umayyad Gold Dinar is an Islamic gold coin that dates back 1,300 years. The coin features the inscription “Ma’din Amir al-Mu’minin bi’l-Hijaz,” which means “Mine of the Commander of the Faithful in the Hijaz.” This inscription is one of the reasons why the Umayyad Gold Dinar is among the most expensive coins in the world.
Scholars believe this subscription indicates that the coin’s gold comes from one of the Caliph’s mines Northwest of the Holy City of Mecca. Consequently, the Umayyad Gold Dinar is one of the oldest Islamic coins that names the origin of its gold.
The Double Eagles are famous for being the last gold coins of the United States Mint before President Franklin Roosevelt ended gold coin minting in the U.S. as part of the government’s efforts to offset the Great Depression crisis.
The extremely valuable Double Eagles count as government property and are generally off-bounds for private citizens. The only private purchase of the famous Double Eagle in recent times occurred in 2002 when the wealthy numismatist Stuart Weitzman purchased the sought-after coin for nearly $8 million with special permission. King Farouk of Egypt previously owned this specific coin, which only resurfaced in 1996.
The Saint-Gaudens Double Eagle is an American $20 coin with an interesting history, and many regard its design as one of the most beautiful of all U.S. coins. The coin’s obverse features Lady Liberty, and the reverse features an eagle in flight.
The United States mint struck 445,500 of these coins. However, after President Franklin Roosevelt moved the United States off the gold standard, the United States Mint ordered the melting of all Saint-Gaudens Double Eagle coins, except for two.
Someone stole 20 more coins from the mint’s vaults, saving them from the melting process. Today, only 13 of these coins exist, and one of them is under private ownership. The two original coins are in the U.S. National Numismatic Collection, and the ten remaining coins are in the United States Bullion Depository at Fort Knox.
The Draped Bust U.S. Silver Dollar series features some of the rarest American coins. The federal mint struck the first of these coins in the 1830s after the State Department ordered these coin sets as a special gift to the King of Siam. The mint misunderstood the instruction and created coins for each denomination, including the silver dollar minted in 1804.
Today, fewer than 20 of these coins exist. The coin’s obverse displays Lady Liberty’s draped bust with six stars to the right and seven to the left. The reverse features a heraldic eagle with a scroll that reads “E Pluribus Unum.”
The Flowing Hair Silver Dollar series was the first coins struck by the U.S. Mint after its establishment in 1792. The Philadelphia Mint produced 1,758 coins featuring the flowing hair design, but these specimens didn’t go into circulation. Instead, Mint Director David Rittenhouse distributed these silver dollars to dignitaries.
Today, only around 130 of these coins still exist. In 2013, one of the silver dollars sold for $10 million at auction, making it one of the most valuable coins in the world.
Various factors contribute to a coin’s value, with mintage being the most significant. Generally, the world’s most valuable coins have the lowest mintage numbers.
For example, the 1913 Liberty Head Nickel has a mintage number of five, and the 1910 Liberty Head Nickel has a mintage number of over 30 million. This difference in mintage numbers explains the vast difference in the coins’ values.
Demand is another critical factor that determines a coin’s value. For example, the demand for Morgan silver dollars is significantly higher than the demand for the Peace silver dollar, which explains why the Morgan silver dollar is more expensive.
A coin’s grading or condition is another variable that determines its value. You can take your most valuable coins to a professional coin grading service to learn more about their worth.
Fineness doesn’t always affect a coin’s numismatic value. For example, 1982 Gold Maple Leaf coins have a purity of 99.99%, but they are relatively affordable.
Properly storing valuable coins is crucial to protecting them against corrosion and tarnish. Never store your most expensive coins loose in a container where they can damage each other. Coin collection albums and single-coin holders are the ideal storage solutions for your most valuable coins.
You can determine the value of your rare coins with an appraisal. Whether you want to sell a Morgan Silver Dollar or Gold Maple Leaf coin, getting an appraisal is critical to ensure you get the highest possible price.
Find an appraiser who is a member of the American Numismatic Association and has experience with the coin types you own.
Look for casting seams or hole markings to find out if you have a counterfeit coin. A counterfeit coin might also have mint marks and designs that are inconsistent with a certified authentic coin.
You might not be able to buy the most expensive coins, but investing in coins with a relatively high value can help to diversify your investment portfolio. These coins might also offer profit potential beyond the underlying metal value.
While it’s hard to deny the appeal of rare coins, remember that the numismatic market is highly volatile. Often, it’s hard to predict how much a coin may be worth beyond its face value.
In contrast, precious metals in the form of bars, rounds, and legal tender coins provide a safe, balanced hedge investment that can help offset risks in an uncertain economy.
Oxford Gold Group is your reliable source of easily tradable, high-purity silver, gold, platinum, and palladium investment products. Explore our selection of coins and bars, and call us today at (833) 600-GOLD to diversify your investments with high-value coins.
INSIDE THIS INVESTMENT GUIDE YOU WILL LEARN:
• How Gold & Silver can protect your savings & retirement accounts
• Types of Gold & Silver products available for Home Delivery
• How a Gold & Silver IRA can protect your Retirement account