Top 5 Rarest Coins in the US
The four United States mints — Philadelphia, Denver, West Point, and San Francisco — have produced billions of coins since the 18th and 19th centuries, but the rarest coins have less than 15 pieces remaining.
Learn about the five rarest coins in the United States.
- 1849 Coronet Head Gold $20 Double Eagle
The 1849 Double Eagle is among the oldest and rarest coins to ever exist in the US. It’s a successor to the $10 eagle, the standard gold coin unit that existed since 1795.
In 1848, James W. Marshall discovered gold in California, leading to a gold rush. After this rush, the Philadelphia mint shipped in vast volumes of gold to use for coin production.
After the California Gold Rush, the mint introduced the $20 gold coin, which was known as the double eagle, Judd-117, or Pollock-132. The coin now resides at the National Numismatic Collection in the Smithsonian Institute. Experts estimate a coin value of between $10 to $20 million dollars if the Double Eagle were to sell at a private auction.
- 1794 Silver Flowing Hair Dollar
Following the double eagle closely in value, the 1794 Flowing Hair silver dollar sold at the Stack’s Bowers Galleries auction for ten million dollars. It’s made with 89% silver and 11% copper and features a silver plug in the middle of the coin.
The 1794 silver dollar is also essential to US history as the United States federal government issued it as the first standard dollar coin.
- 1933 Saint-Gaudens Gold $20 Double Eagle
In 1933, the Philadelphia mint produced 445,000 gold Saint-Gaudens $20 Double Eagle coins. But after the Great Depression, President Franklin D. Roosevelt issued a ban on these coins, leaving only two pieces to be purposely saved and the rest to be melted. The remaining two pieces are at the National Numismatic Collection in the Smithsonian Institute, but they’re not the only 1933 $20 Double Eagle coins to survive.
Before the banned coins were melted, about 20 pieces were stolen from the US Mint by unknown people. These coins passed between coin collectors, jewelers, and even King Farouk of Egypt; by the time the coin had passed through so many hands, the coin’s value had skyrocketed. After years had passed, the Secret Service confiscated the stolen rare coins, and the Stack’s Bowers Galleries auctioned some of them.
- 1913 Liberty Head Nickel
In 1913, the Philadelphia mint produced five Liberty Head nickels: Olsen, Norweb, McDermott, Eliasberg, and Walton. They are among the rarest coins — each worth more than a million dollars — even though they have a face value of $0.05. Two of these coins reside in museums, while the remaining three are privately owned.
Over the years, these nickels have been sold privately and at auctions. Depending on the quality of the specimen, the individual nickels have sold for well over a million dollars each.
- 1870 S Seated Liberty Dollar
In 1870, the San Francisco mint minted the Seated Liberty Dollar with a face value of $1. It has an “S” mint-mark engraved under the eagle on the back of the coin. Its composition is 90% silver and 10% copper and is rare with only about 15 coins in existence; surprisingly, there is no official record of these coins in the US mint.
Its price is well over a million dollars, as per the sales in auctions. According to Invaluable, in 2008, Stanford Coins and Bullion sold a piece at $1.3 million.
Do you own a rare coin, or would you like to buy one? Contact us today, or visit our locations in Denver or Greenwood Village to view our extensive inventory of rare coins, paper money, and precious metal bullion.