Most Valuable Coins in American History
As you’ve seen, the face values of coins from gold, silver, and platinum are only nominal face values—the coins trade on prices many, many times higher than their face value.
This is because they are valued based on the value of the precious metals contained within the coins, the rarity of the coin, and—most importantly—the demand for the coin. So now that we know why some coins are worth more than others, which coins in American history are the most valuable?
1933 Double Eagle
The 1933 Double Eagle is perhaps the most famous of all the rare American coins. Featuring the famed 1907 Saint Gaudens design created at the request of President Theodore Roosevelt, the $20 Double Eagle was discontinued as a result of the Presidential Order in 1933 confiscating gold in private hands. The only problem was that the U.S. Mint had already created a new batch of Double Eagles.
Fortunately for the Mint they hadn’t yet circulated the coins and all but two were melted down. Or so they thought. Turns out that Mint employee George McCann had stolen ten of the coins. Over the years the Secret Service managed to find nine of the coins. The only one remaining at large had been exported by King Farouk of Egypt, thanks to an oversight by the Treasury Department allowing the coin out of the country.
It wasn’t until 1996 that the coin showed up in the United States again, housed in the collection of Stephen Fenton. The US government managed to seize the coin but Fenton fought for ownership in the court system. While the legal proceedings were happening, the government stored it at what was considered a very safe location: a vault at the World Trade Center.
Moved from that vault only weeks before September 11, the case over the coin was soon settled out of court and the coin was put up for auction. It was sold for $6.6 million in July of 2002, with half the proceeds going to Fenton, half going to the United States Treasury along with a $20 fee to make the coin legal tender.
1804 Silver Dollar
Although it doesn’t have a story as interesting as the 1933 Double Eagle, the 1804 Silver Dollar is by several measures even more valuable. Only 19 copies of the coin are known to be in existence and a coin in good condition could be worth of $10 million. The coin itself is not only rare and old, but in good condition is a beautiful example of early American coin design.
1913 Liberty Head Nickel
The Liberty Head Nickel is another coin that has a very interesting backstory. A lot of coins produced in the United States have become rare for one reason or another, but how many are rare because the Mint never had a record of it being created?
The 1913 Liberty Head Nickel is such a coin. The Mint has introduced the Indian Head “Buffalo” Nickel for 1913 and so didn’t have any record of a Liberty Head Nickel being created during that time. However, five Liberty Head Nickels dated 1913 showed up in 1920 and no one could figure out how they were created. There are many theories but nothing has ever been proved conclusively. Some have speculated that a perfect condition 1913 Liberty Head Nickel would be worth over $20 million.
While you won’t purchase any coins this expensive from the United States Gold Bureau, we do have a wide inventory from which to choose. Call today to add to your collection.