25 Rarest And Most Valuable Coins Worth Money

You might want to be more deliberate about the old cache of coins in your attic. Or those ones you log around in the pockets of old clothes from years ago. Coins have long fascinated collectors and experts since the first ones were made. For some, coins are simply valued based on sentiments, for others, they are a store of ever-increasing wealth.

It is for this reason you have experts whose job it is to grade coins to determine how valuable they are. And quite a lot of coins have surprised their owners when they brought in huge income at sales or auctions.

What makes one coin more valuable than the next coin? Rarity is one major reason for its high value.  At other times it is the condition of the coin. The more pristine and near-mint the condition of a coin is, the more valuable it is. Other coins become instant hits because they’ve been engraved mistakenly with errors. The prying eyes of engravers missed these coins and they found their way into circulation.

This article presents 25 of the rarest and most valuable coins.

25 Rarest And Most Valuable Coins (Price And Chart)

The coins in the list made the cut because they’re graded higher than their peers. They were all found in a high state of preservation. And lastly, they’re in high demand, thus, the high price they command.

Name Of Coin
1804 Draped Bust Silver Dollar (Dexter Pogue Type)
PR 65
Liberty Head Nickel Morton Smith Eliasberg Specimen
PR 64
1787 Brasher Doubloon EB On Wing
MS 63
1822 Half Eagle
AU 50
Paquet Liberty Head Double Eagle
MS 67
723 CE
Umayyad Gold Dinar
The 1804 Eagle Coin
PR 65+
Saint Gaudens Double Eagle
PR 68
Trade Dollar
PF 66
1927 D Saint Gaudens Double Eagle
MS 66+
1880 $4 Coiled Hair
PR 67
1794 Flowing Hair Dollar
MS 64
Birch Cent
MS 65
Quarter Eagle
MS 65
1793 Cent Chain S-4
MS 66
1792 Pattern Quarter Dollar
SP 58
1907 Eagle-Rolled Edge
MS 67
1854-S Five Dollar Liberty Eagle
XF 45
1894-S Barber Dime
PR 66 BM
1792 Silver Center Cent J-1 (Special Strike)
1795 Draped Bust-4 13 Leaves Regular Strike
MS 66+
1944-S Steel Lincoln Penny (Regular Strike)
MS 66
1943-D Bronze Lincoln Wheat Cent (Regular Strike)
MS 64
1838 Seated Liberty Quarter No Drapery
MS 68
1933 Double Eagle (Regular Strike)
MS 65

1. 1804 Draped Bust Silver Dollar (Dexter Pogue Type)

Year: 1804

Grade: PR 65

Price: $3,290,000

1804 Draped Bust Silver Dollar (Dexter Pogue Type)

This coin is also called the Bowed Liberty Dollar. It was a one-dollar coin struck by the United States mint in 1804. This is one of the rarest coins in existence; there were only fifteen of it known in existence at this time. Although it carries the date of 1804, none of these Draped Bust coins was made in that year. They were all struck in the 1830s. They were struck as proof coins to be used as diplomatic gifts by Edmund Roberts on his trips to Siam and Muscat.

The obverse of the coin has the image of liberty facing right with the date and the word LIBERTY. The design date is 1975. There were three classes of the Draped Bust coin each with its own weight. Collectors didn’t realize the existence of this coin until 1842. The sale happened in March 2017 by Stacks And Bowers in collaboration with Sotheby’s.

2. 1913 Liberty Head Nickel Morton Smith Eliasberg Specimen

Year: 1913

Grade: PR 64

Price: $4,560,000

1913 Liberty Head Nickel Morton Smith Eliasberg Specimen

There are only five specimens of this coin and that one is the best of them. In August 2018, this William  Morton-Smith/Louis E. Eliasberg came to auction at the ANA US Coins Auction in Philadelphia.

This particular option features a mirror-like appearance, unlike the others. The controversy over the mintage of this coin is further increased by the lack of mint records for it. Anyhow, this specimen was sold by Stacks And Bowers in 2018.

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3. 1787 Brasher Doubloon EB On Wing

Year: 1787

Grade: MS 63

Price: $4,582,500

1787 Brasher Doubloon EB On Wing

This coin was made at a time when the US mint had not started operation yet. The colonies did their own minting at the time. This coin was made by goldsmith and silversmith Ephraim Brasher who operated in the New York area in the 1700s. Expert numismatics have established that this coin is good for its money. This coin has a close identity with the Spanish coins of that era. It came to auction on January 9 2014 at Heritage Auctions. It was graded MS 63.

4. 1822 Half Eagle

Year: 1822

Grade: AU50

Price: $8,400,000

1822 Half Eagle

This is also a US coin produced between 1795 to 1929. Its composition is almost entirely of gold. It was the first coin made of gold in the US. The design was originally created by Keenan Barber Ganz.

The obverse design features a peculiar liberty wearing a turban and facing to the right. On the reverse, you have an eagle. The Half Eagle coins were produced by the New Orleans mint from 1840 to 1861. It was not until 1854 that the San Francisco mint produced Half Eagle coins. The Denver mint followed suit in 1906. Stacks and Bowers sold this rare Half Eagle in May 2016.

5. 1861 Paquet Liberty Head Double Eagle

Year: 1861

Grade: MS 67

Price: $7,200,000

1861 Paquet Liberty Head Double Eagle

This coin is also called the Coronet Double Eagle. It is an American $20 gold piece that was struck as a pattern coin in 1849. It was also struck for commerce from 1850 to 1907. The design was created by chief mint engraver James B Longacre.

It was composed of 90% gold and 10% copper. This coin came about after the US congress noticed the large amount of gold bullion being brought in from the gold discovery in California. Congress considered denominations of gold coinage. Only one of these coins is known to exist now. It is extremely rare and valuable. The Paquet Liberty Head Double Eagle went on sale on August 18 2021 on Heritage Auctions.

6. 723 Umayyad Gold Dinar

Year: 723 CE

Grade: Not Graded

Price: $6,029,400

723 Umayyad Gold Dinar

This coin is an Arabic coin first issued between 696 to 697 CE or AH 77 by Caliph Abd Al Malik ibn Marwan. The word dinar came from the word denarius which itself was a silver coin. The first dinars were issued by the Umayyad Caliphate, one of the four major caliphates established after the death of Muhammad. This caliphate was ruled by the Umayyad dynasty. The first gold coin was struck with 4.4 grams of gold. This coin constitutes the second most expensive and rare coin ever sold. It was sold by Morton & Eden Auctions.

7. 1804 Eagle Coin

Year: 1804

Grade: PR 65+

Price: $5,280,000

1804 Eagle Coin

Though this coin carries the date of 1804, it could well have been made in the 1830s. It was also likely a diplomatic gift like the others in its class. Its composition is 91.7% gold and 8.3% copper. The face value is $10 and 6 of it was minted in the year they were made. They are super rare and very valuable. This one graded PR 65+ and sold at Heritage Auctions in January 2021.

8. 1907 Saint Gaudens Double Eagle

Year: 1907

Grade: PR 68

Price: $4,750,000

1907 Saint Gaudens Double Eagle

The Saint Gaudens Double Eagle is a $20 gold coin that was produced from 1907 to 1933. It was named after Augustus Saint-Gaudens, the designer of the coin. Many believe this is the most beautiful coin ever made in the US. It is 90% gold and 10% copper. Only a few of these coins are in existence now. This rare piece above sold in a private sale for $4.75 million dollars.

9. 1885 Trade Dollar

Year: 1885

Grade: PF 66

Price: $3,960,000

1885 Trade Dollar

Trade dollars began production in 1873 and the first batches of it were sent over to China. Soon bullion owners started converting their cache of silver into trade dollars until these found their way into the American commercial public.

Furthermore, this proliferation led to a low value for the coin. Eventually, these coins were demonetized in 1876. They continued to circulate. In 1878 they stopped making business strikes. In 1908 it was discovered that five proof coins dated 1885 were produced but there were no records of this production. In January 2019 this coin was sold at auction by Heritage Auctions for 3.9 million dollars.

10. 1927-D Saint-Gaudens Double Eagle

Year: 1927

Grade: MS 66+

Price: $4,440,000

1927-D Saint-Gaudens Double Eagle

This coin belongs to the series of Saint-Gaudens coins. It was produced in the Denver mint and this is why you’d find the mint mark D on the obverse. 180,000 of the coins were produced in the Denver mint. It was produced with 90% gold and 10% copper. On August 28 2002 this coin was sold by Heritage Auctions for the price of $4,440,000.

The coin bears the designs from the original which began production in 1907. It was a pretty heavy coin at 33.40 grams. On the obverse, liberty is seen holding a torch and olive branch. Behind her are rays of the sun and near her feet is the US capitol. Finally, 46 stars circle the circumference of the coin.

11. 1880 $4 Coiled Hair

Year: 1880

Grade: PR 67

Price:  $1,821,250

1880 $4 Coiled Hair

This is one of the most expensive coins sold at auction. The series was known for its remarkably low mintage. The 1880 coin is the rarest of the series. The originator of the coin was congressman John A Kasson. He was the one who outlined a plan to establish a four-dollar metric gold coin with a 90% gold and 10% copper composition.

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It was called a stellar coin on account of the pentagonal star that graces the reverse of the coin. Charles Barber designed the features of the coin but the number of coins that were produced is uncertain. Which is why this coin is quite rare. There were four variants of this coin and the 1880 coiled hair is the rarest of them. This coin went on sale on April 23, 2015, on Heritage Auctions.

12. 1794 Flowing Hair Dollar

Year: 1794

Grade: MS 64

Price: $2,820,000

1794 Flowing Hair Dollar

This was the first coin issued by the United States federal government. The size and weight were based on the Spanish dollar of the early 1700s which was popular for trades in those years. The coin features were designed by Robert Scot in 1794 and 1,758 of the coins were produced in the Philadelphia mint. It was composed of 90% silver and 10% copper.

It weighed 27 grams. If featured liberty as a flowing-haired woman facing right, the word LIBERTY is written on the obverse and 15 stars surround it. The reverse features the eagle standing in the middle of two olive branches. The words UNITED STATES OF AMERICA are written on it. This coin went on sale at Stacks & Bowers auction in January 2017.

13. 1792 Birch Cent

Year: 1792

Grade: MS 65

Price: $2,585,000

1792 Birch Cent

This is the finest known of the Birch Cent. There is uncertainty as to who designed this coin. At first, the production wanted to use George Washington’s image as the design for the obverse but this resulted in heavy debates.

Finally, the House and Senate decided on using Liberty. The features of the coin include a prooflike surface and smoothness. Liberty takes up a lot of space on the obverse. The lettered edge bears the words TO BE ESTEEMED BE USEFUL. And on the base of liberty’s neck is the word BIRCH. It is unknown how many of the coins were produced. This one went on sale on January 8, 2015, at Heritage Auctions.

14. 1808 Quarter Eagle

Year: 1808

Grade: MS 65

Price: $2,350,000

1808 Quarter Eagle

The quarter eagle is a $2.50 dollar coin that was in production from 1808 to 1834. The designer was Robert Scot and 2,710 of the coins were made in that year in the Philadelphia mint. It was sold by Stacks & Bowers in May 2015 for more than 2 million dollars. The first coins were issued in 1796 but by 1933, it was discontinued.

15. 1793 Cent Chain S-4

Year: 1793

Grade: MS 66

Price: $2,350,000

1793 Cent Chain S-4

It is agreed that Henry Voight designed this coin. 36,103 of the coins were produced in that year in the Philadelphia mint. The component is copper. On January 7 2015 this coin sold for $2,350,000 on Heritage Auctions. When the advertisement for the sale of the Chain coin came out, even those who aren’t coin collectors showed interest in purchasing the beautiful and rare coin. This coin is arguably the most historically important United States coin.

16. 1792 Pattern Quarter Dollar

Year: 1792

Grade: SP 58

Price: $1,260,000

1792 Pattern Quarter Dollar

A very rare coin, this quarter dollar was made of white metal. It is unknown how many of it was produced but they were minted in the Philadelphia facility. On April 24 2021 this coin sold on Heritage Auctions for $1,260,000. According to Heritage Auctions, just four of these coins—Judd-13 white metal pattern—are known. Two of those are in museum collections.

17. 1907 Eagle Rolled-Edge

Year: 1907

Grade: MS 67

Price: $1,140,000

1907 Eagle Rolled-Edge

Augustus Saint-Gaudens designed this beautiful coin. It was produced in the Philadelphia mint in 1907. The composition is 90% gold and 10% copper. Only 42 of this coin was minted making it one of the rarest on this list.

This coin is pursued by numismatics and coin collectors for its rarity. There is a variety of it that was made with a rounded rim as an improvement on the Saint-Gaudens design. Only 40 of that variety now exist. This rare coin was sold on Stacks & Bowers auction site in 2022 for $1,140,000.

18. 1854-S Five Dollar Liberty Eagle

Year: 1854

Grade: XF 45

Price: $2,160,000

1854-S Five Dollar Liberty Eagle

From the day this coin was struck, it was destined to be a rare dollar. Just 268 of these coins were produced. It has become one of the rarest US coins you can find. In fact, it is doubtful that you will find it in pocket change these days. Only four of these coins are known to exist now. The 1854 five dollars were struck in the San Francisco mint and it was in this same year that the facility began operation. Heritage Auctions sold this one on August 16, 2018, for 2.6 million dollars.

19. 1894-S Barber Dime

Year: 1894

Grade: PR 66 BM

Price: $1,997,500

1894-S Barber Dime

These super rare gems were produced in the San Francisco mint. Only 24 of the coins were made in 1894 as proof coins and were graded PR 66. They were made of 90% silver and 10% copper.

The designer was Charles E Barber which is why it is called the Barber Dime. In 2016 this coin made more than $1.9 million dollars on Heritage Auctions It is often grouped with the 1804 dollar and the 1913 liberty nickel and together they’re called The Big Three.

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20. 1792 Silver Center Cent J-1 Special Strike

Year: 1792

Grade: SP 67

Price: $2,520,000

1792 Silver Center Cent J-1 Special Strike

It is not certain how many of the 1792 silver cents were made in that year, which makes them all the rarer. What we do know is they were all made of copper and the designer was Henry Voight. They were produced in the Philadelphia facility. On January 20, 2021,  this coin sold at Heritage Auctions for $2,520,000. Only 12 of these coins are known by numismatics now.

21. 1795 Draped Bust-4 13 Leaves Regular Strike

Year: 1795

Grade: MS 66

Price: $2,585,000

1795 Draped Bust-4 13 Leaves Regular Strike

Made of wholly copper, the 1795 Draped Bust-4 coin is 91.7% gold and 8.3% copper. They were made in the Philadelphia mint but no one is sure about the total number of coins minted. The coin was designed by Robert Scot. Stacks & Bowers sold this at auction in September 2015 for more than 2.5 million dollars.

22. 1944-S Steel Lincoln Penny

Year: 1944

Grade: MS 66

Price: $408,000

1944-S Steel Lincoln Penny

The Lincoln pennies were designed by the engraver, Victor David Brenner. No one knows exactly how many of the 1944 steel cents were made in the San Francisco mint that year. All steel cents from that mint were zinc-coated steel.

This particular piece is the finest of all the examples known of steel cents from that year. The steel cents were made at a time when there was a world war on. They were magnetic and developed rust and a mildewy appearance after a while. The 1944 cents were off metal errors created from leftover blank planchets from 1943. This specimen was sold at Heritage Auctions in August of 2021 for $408,000.

23. 1943-D Bronze Lincoln Wheat Cent

Year: 1943

Grade: MS 64

Price: $840,000

1943-D Bronze Lincoln Wheat Cent

The 1943 D Wheat Penny was made in the Denver mint of 95% copper, and 5% tin and zinc. They bear the features of David Brenner’s design. This coin is a legend when it comes to rarity. There’s only one known to exist.

It was said that Henry Ford once promised anyone who found one of these a new car. This coin has been sought after by collectors more than any other rare coin. Heritage Auctions sold. This one was on January 20 2021 for $840,000.

24. 1838 Seated Liberty Quarter No Drapery

Year: 1838

Grade: MS 68

Price:  $195,500

1838 Seated Liberty Quarter No Drapery

The 1838 quarter bears the design collaboration of Christian Gobrecht, artists Titian Peale and Thomas Sully. 466,000 of the quarters were made in the Philadelphia facility using 90% silver and 10% copper. This sample was sold at Heritage Auctions in 2009 for

25. 1933 Double Eagle (Regular Strike)

Year: 1933

Grade: MS 65

Price: $18,872,250

1933 Double Eagle (Regular Strike)

This is perhaps the most unique coin in rarity on this list. Two examples of the 1933 Double Eagle were transferred from the Philadelphia mint to the Smithsonian Institution on October 11, 1934. Eleven more were retained as United States government property. This is the most famous coin in the world. This piece was sold at Sotheby’s in 2021 for a whopping $18,872,250.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is the oldest, rarest coin?

Opinions vary on this but most scholars agree that the rarest coin is the Lydian Stater. It was made of a mix of gold and silver called electrum. These coins were minted around 600 BCE in the kingdom of Lydia in modern-day Turkey. The coin featured a lion with a sunburst.

What is the rarest most valuable coin?

It has to be the 1933 Double Eagle which sold for more than $18 million dollars. It has been described as the most famous coin in history.

What year of coins are worth keeping?

All the years of coins before the year 1965 are worth their silver value. If you have any you should keep them. Also, all Standing Liberty Quarters can sell for a premium above their face value. The 1955-D Washington Quarter also carries premium value, and so does the 1932-D and 1932-S quarters.

How can you tell if a coin is rare?

You can tell a coin is rare by the date it was produced. You can also tell rarity by the mint mark on the obverse or reverse of the coin. Errors can also make a coin rare: repunched, overpunched, or double texts.

Final Thoughts

Collectors are always on the prowl for rare coins. Certain coins are always sought after, some are already in the possession of museums. The numismatic world continues to hope to stumble on new rarities.

The thing about coins is, the next rarity that would break the internet may be in someone’s attic, in their family heirloom, waiting to be discovered. This is why numismatics don’t discard the possibility of making newer discoveries. The next coin that will sell for a premium may be in your pocket change, or in your home somewhere waiting to be found.

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