The most valuable stamps aren’t the only minuscule objects worth a lot of money. Someday, perhaps, the change in your pocket could be too. Or maybe it already is.
How can you tell the difference between a regular penny and a special 1943 one that could be worth over $2 million? Let’s dive deep into the details of the world’s most valuable coins so you can double-check your piggy bank before making a deposit.
You probably wouldn’t have noticed some of the most valuable coins in the world since they were made centuries ago. But others on this list of the most valuable rare coins wanted by collectors might be hiding among us, used in daily transactions.
Perhaps if you get lucky enough, you can unearth one of these coins with your metal detector on a beach—That’s how one rare coin valued at over $6 million came to the auction block.
If you want to know about the coins worth millions, you’ve come to the right spot. Below, the top 11 most valuable coins in the world.
The 11 most valuable coins to look out for
|1||Saint-Gaudens Double Eagle||$20,212,100|
|2||Flowing Hair Silver Dollar||$13,311,850|
|4||Edward III Florin||$6,816,000|
|5||Umayyad Gold Dinar||$5,418,400|
|6||Canadian Gold Maple Leaf||$5,315,400|
|7||1913 Liberty Head V Nickel||$5,262,100|
|8||1894-S Barber Dime||$2,412,200|
|9||Lincoln Head Copper Penny||$2,325,200|
|10||1893 Morgan Silver Dollar||$551,272|
|11||Sacagawea Cheerios Dollar||$25,058|
Saint-Gaudens Double Eagle: $20,165,100
Those seeking rare coins are familiar with the Saint-Gaudens Double Eagle. You might be surprised to learn that these were created from 1907 to 1933, but the gold recall of 1933 forced many people to turn in these coins for paper money.
Quite a few are still in existence, but 1933 is perhaps the most sought-after example in this group of valuable coins to look out for, selling for $18,900,000 in 2021, or $20,165,100 in 2022 dollars.
|Years:||1907 to 1933|
1794 Flowing Hair Silver Dollar: $13,280,850
At the time this coin was minted, it was unlikely that many people knew what would come of it. But over two centuries later, this rare coin has achieved the status as the most expensive coin in the world.
The Flowing Hair Silver Dollar was the first US silver dollar coin, minted from 1794 to 1795. But one special specimen that was part of the earliest batches in 1794 achieved glory in 2010 when it sold for a staggering $10,016,875, equivalent to $13,280,850 in inflation-adjusted 2022 dollars.
|Years:||1794 to 1795|
1787 Brasher Doubloon: $9,986,500
Created before the first United States federal mint opened, the 1787 Brasher Doubloon is the first gold coin ever struck in the United States, created by one of George Washington’s neighbors, Ephraim Brasher. It’s now one of the most expensive coins.
While seven in total were produced, only one bears Ephraim Brasher’s initials on the breast of the eagle. This coveted item is one of the most valuable rare coins wanted by collectors and was last sold in 2021 for $9.36 million, about $9,986,500 in 2022 dollars.
1343 Edward III Florin: $6,800,000
It can be difficult to fathom how pocket change can transform into one of the most valuable coins to look out for, but after surviving for nearly 6 centuries, this one makes sense. Also known as the Double Leopard, the 1343 Edward III Florin is part of a small group of coins worth millions.
Two 1343 examples were found in 1857, and a third was uncovered by a metal-detector user in England, which sold at auction in 2006 for £460,000 and is estimated to be worth $6,800,000 today.
|Years:||1343 to 1344|
|Original Price:||6 shillings|
723 Umayyad Gold Dinar: $5,405,400
Now it’s time to blow away US history with the Umayyad gold dinar from the year 723 AD. It is believed there are about one dozen of these 1,300-year-old relics in existence.
It is one of the most valuable foreign coins and has an inscription that translates to Mine of the Commander of the Faithful in the Hijaz. The most recent sale was in 2019 for £3.72 million, or about $5,405,400 in 2022 dollars.
2007 1 Million Canadian Gold Maple Leaf: $5,303,400
Weighing in at an astonishing 220 pounds, this novelty item is one of the most valuable coins wanted by collectors. It also holds the title of the world’s largest gold coin from the Guinness Book of World Records.
Six of these massive and rare coins have been made, with one selling in 2010 for €3.7 million, or about $5,303,400 in 2022 dollars.
1913 Liberty Head V Nickel: $5,250,100
If you look in the official records of the United States mint, these valuable coins don’t exist. But five known specimens of the 1913 Liberty Head V Nickel do indeed exist, even though the Indian Head nickel had replaced it.
Two examples of the most valuable nickels are in museum collections, but three others circulate in the private rare coins collecting world. One of the most recent sales was in 2018, where it brought in $4,560,000, or $5,250,100 in 2022 dollars.
|Original Price:||5 cents|
1894-S Barber Dime: $2,406,200
Who doesn’t love a good mystery? That’s the case behind the vast love for the 1894-S Barber Dime, one of the rarest coins in the world.
Only 24 were minted and just 9 are known to be around today. Why just 24? Maybe because of a discrepancy in the books or perhaps as gifts to prominent bankers. The rumors are limitless, but the sales price reached $1,997,500 in 2016 or $2,406,200 in 2022 dollars.
1943 Lincoln Head Copper Penny: $2,320,200
Made during World War II when the United States needed all copper and nickel metals for other purposes, most of the 1943 pennies were created with steel.
But one batch was mistakenly created using copper, and experts believe between 20 and 40 of these exist today. Some versions sell in the range of $100,000 to $500,000, but one unique 1943-D graded PCGS MS64 Brown sold for $1,750,000 in 2010, or $2,320,200 today.
|Original Price:||1 cent|
1893 Morgan Silver Dollar: $550,000
If you’re looking for a rare coins list, this one might not be on there. Quite a few Morgan Silver Dollars were minted from 1878 to 1904 and 1921, but they still hold a top spot on the most expensive coins ever sold on eBay, with many examples going for thousands of dollars.
But the most expensive Morgan Silver Dollars are from 1893 when only 100,000 were minted and many have been lost or melted down. Experts say one in excellent condition is valued at $550,000 today.
Sacagawea Cheerios Dollar: $25,000
If you want to find rare collectibles, searching for small differences can lead to buckets of gold. Or at least a Cheerios dollar.
In 2000, 5,500 boxes of Cheerios contained a Sacagawea dollar coin as part of a US Mint promotion. But some of these, around 60 to 70 that we know of, have a set of enhanced tail feathers and are selling for $5,000 to $25,000 depending on grade.
Buyer’s guide to the most valuable coins
If finding coins worth money was an easy task, we are not sure how anyone would ever work in a cubicle again. But maybe it’s the hunt that’s part of the excitement. And if you know what you’re doing and what to watch out for, then you might have a chance at striking gold.
Understanding which coins are valuable and which aren’t takes skill and dedication. It also takes a special combination of history, storytelling, and preservation.
One of the most important characteristics of valuable coins is their rarity. Many coins are created in mass quantities. They’re easy to get and not very special. But others are not so common. If you can find extremely rare coins, or you get lucky enough to find a single coin that doesn’t match any others in the world, then you can find a coin worth money.
On top of rarity, the history of a coin also influences its value. Collectors love telling stories. Many of them gather their collections and could fill a book or lecture hall full of all the tales behind their collections.
That’s just one reason why people love the 1943 Lincoln Head Copper Penny. It brings back memories of sacrifices that were made during World War II, and remains an important reminder to this day.
Another crucial element to a valuable coin is the condition. The Sheldon Coin Grading Scale is a prominent measure, which the Professional Coin Grading Services based its methodology upon. Both use a very specific set of criteria to rate valuable coins on their look, condition, and overall worth.
It is important to obtain coins in good condition. Ones that are severely degraded make it difficult to distinguish their more defined parts and are less valuable in the eyes of many collectors. Ideally, you want an uncirculated item. But some that have been at the mercy of the elements for decades and even centuries can still hold a lot of value.
If you want to find the rarest coins around, then you should also be willing to keep your eyes open for relics from the past. Ever go hiking in areas that used to be for trade? Been to a beach with a deep history? Bring along your metal detector and you might get lucky.
Most notable auction houses do a great job at helping their clients buy genuine articles. But many other sellers would be happy to sell counterfeit goods to unsuspecting people.
It’s not always easy to tell the difference between the two. This is why you should be careful and use good judgment when buying valuable coins from private sellers. If you’re going to spend a good amount of money, then you might want to invest in a professional appraisal before dropping down the dough.
Collectible coins: conclusion
We’ve gone on a whirlwind tour of the world’s most valuable coins. While many on here are from the United States, there’s also representation from Canada, England, and the past dynasty of Umayyad (the first Muslim dynasty).
Some have been passed down from generation to generation, others were stumbled upon by a metal-detector-holding beachgoer. Some have centuries-long histories, and others are only a few decades old.
What is it that makes these coins so valuable? Is it their rarity? Their history? Or their condition? It’s usually a combination of all three, plus something special sprinkled in. A sense of glory from the soon-to-be holder. The never-ending desire that some people have to build and grow their collections.
Will you be able to get your hands on one of these? If not, then take a look at the museum collections held around the world to discover a bit of the joy. Even if you can’t get the most expensive coin ever sold on eBay, you can still enjoy the history and beauty of the world’s most valuable coins.
The 11 most valuable coins are:
- Saint-Gaudens Double Eagle: $20,212,100
- Flowing Hair Silver Dollar: $13,311,850
- Brasher Doubloon: $10,009,500
- Edward III Florin: $6,816,000
- Umayyad Gold Dinar: $5,418,400
- Canadian Gold Maple Leaf: $5,315,400
- 1943 Liberty Head V Nickel: $5,262,100
- 1894-S Barber Dime: $2,412,200
- Lincoln Head Copper Penny: $2,325,200
- 1893 Morgan Silver Dollar: $551,272
- Sacagawea Cheerios Dollar: $25,058
Frequently asked questions about the most valuable coins
The 1933 Saint-Gaudens Double Eagle is the most valuable American coin at $20,212,100. The second-place spot goes to 1794 Flowing Hair Silver Dollar worth $13,311,850. And third place goes to the 1787 Brasher Doubloon at $10,009,500.
If you want to find coins worth money, look for rare ones, with an interesting history, or that were made erroneously and distinguished from similar coins. It’s not always easy to tell without a depth of knowledge about coins, but a professional can appraise your stash.
The top 10 most expensive coins are in this article, including the Saint-Gaudens Double Eagle, Flowing Hair Silver Dollar, Brasher Doubloon, Edward III Florin, Umayyad Gold Dinar, Canadian Gold Maple Leaf, 1943 Liberty Head V Nickel, 1894-S Barber Dime, Lincoln Head Copper Penny, and 1893 Morgan Silver Dollar.
Many of the top collectors keep their information confidential but Las Vegas resident Bruce Morelan is known to have a 1794 Flowing Hair Silver Dollar in his collection along with many valuable rare coins wanted by collectors.