Due to the extensive history of the American Mint, experts have often struggled to determine the most valuable US coins. While some of the most valuable US coins can be found in circulation today, they are extremely rare and probably will never show up in your pocket change. However, from time to time, precious tokens do show up and are sold to collectors at very high prices. In fact, the most valuable US coin ever realized at auction was purchased for over 7 million dollars! The following American tokens are considered to be the most valuable US coins based on historical auction records.
1. 1933 Double Eagle
The 1933 Double Eagle holds the record for the highest price paid at auction for a single American token. In July 2002, the 1933 Double Eagle was purchased for a record-breaking total of $7,590,020, making it the most valuable US coin ever bought. During the year 1933, 445,500 specimens of the Double Eagle were minted. The token was worth 20 dollars and had a composition of 90 percent gold. However, in an attempt to end the 1930s banking crisis, President Franklin Roosevelt issued Executive Order 6102, which required all American citizens to return their gold specimens to the government. In addition, the Gold Reserve Act the following year outlawed the circulation and private possession of all gold currency. Therefore, since just about all the Double Eagles were destroyed a couple years after their production, it is not surprising that all of these remaining gold tokens are now among the most valuable US coins.
2. 1804 Class I Silver Dollar
Purchased by an anonymous collector in 2001 for $4,140,000, the 1804 Class I Silver Dollar is clearly one of the most valuable US coins ever created. In the year 1804, approximately 19,750 silver dollars were released, but were all minted from the previous year 1803. The 1804 silver dollars did not appear until 1834, when the United States Department of State was creating sets of currency to give to Asian rulers in exchange for trade advantages. Since the silver dollar was still in use and was recorded as being produced in 1804, the mint created silver dollars as gifts to rulers such as Rama III, King of Siam, and Sultan of Muscat with a date of 1804. Due to this confusion, the 1804 silver dollar had unknowingly become one of the most valuable US coins due to its rarity. It is believed that one of these rare tokens was given to Anna Leonowens by the King of Siam, as demonstrated by the story, “Anna and the King of Siam,” and the movie, “The King and I.” Later the token was displayed as part of the “King of Siam” collection at the Smithsonian Institute in 1983 until it was purchased in 2001 as one of the most valuable US coins in the world.
3. 1787 Brasher Doubloon with EB on Breast
In 1787, Ephraim Brasher, an American goldsmith and silversmith, submitted a petition to the State of New York to mint copper currency. After being denied, Brasher began to create various gold and copper tokens. All of these tokens are today among the most valuable US coins, but one of them is considered be more precious than the rest. This special specimen is the Brasher Doubloon with the EB punch on the eagle’s breast. The token was sold at auction for a total of $2,990,000 in 2005. Today, it is not only considered to be one the most valuable US coins but also believed to be more important than any other American token that was ever created.
4. 1787 Brasher Doubloon with EB on Wing
Although not as precious as the Brasher Doubloon with the EB on the eagle’s breast, the Brasher Doubloon with the EB on the eagle’s wing is in terms of worth and rarity nearly just as important. Not only are both of these tokens easily among the most valuable US coins, but they also have great historical significance. The Brasher Doubloon with the EB on the eagle’s wing was sold at auction for $2,415,000 in 2005 and was created under the same circumstances and with the same prestige as the king of the Brasher Collection. The only difference between the two tokens is that this one has the EB on the wing while the other one has the EB on the breast.
5. 1913 Liberty Head Nickel
Along with the previous four tokens, the 1913 Liberty Head Nickel is among the most valuable US coins ever created. The 1913 Liberty Head Nickel was produced in very limited quantities without the authority of the American Mint. Therefore, it has become one of the best-known rarities in American numismatics. Although all of these precious specimens are among the most valuable US coins, there is one specimen of the collection that is better preserved than the rest. This token is referred to as the “Eliasberg Specimen” and is considered to be the finest known 1913 Liberty Head Nickel. After being purchased from Newman and Johnson by the Numismatic Gallery, it was resold to famed collector Louis Eliasberg. Already easily considered to be one of the most valuable US coins, the token skyrocketed in worth, when it was auctioned off for $1,485,000 in May 1996. Only five years later, it was auctioned again for a total of $1,840,000.
Other Most Valuable US Coins
The previous five tokens are the most valuable US coins ever realized at auction. However, there are other famous American specimens that have been sold for massive amounts of money. These specimens include the 1894-S Barber Dime, which was sold in 2005 for $1,322,500, and the 1907 Ultra High Relief Double Eagle, which sold in 1999 for $1,210,000. Besides the specimens listed, there are other extremely precious American tokens that have sold for over a million dollars and are believed to among the top few most valuable US coins that have ever existed. In addition, keep in mind that there are other specimens that have been privately sold for greater dollar amounts than the tokens listed here. For more information on the most valuable US coins, consider purchasing a comprehensive guide of American currency.