Finding treasure in an old dresser drawer or attic is a fantasy. As is finding a rare coin worth a lot of money in your coin jars. Those with a large collection of precious coins are unlikely to strike it rich, but they may unearth loose change worth much more.
The 1794 Flowing Hair Silver Dollar may be the most costly coin ever sold. Some analysts believe it was the first U.S. Mint silver dollar. The reverse depicts an American eagle, while the front depicts Lady Liberty with flowing hair. It's rare—fewer than 1,800 were made, and one expert estimates 120–130 survive.
New York City goldsmith and silversmith Ephraim Brasher produced the Brasher Doubloon in the late 18th century. The coin's front has a state seal with a rising sun and the reverse an American eagle with a shield. Although rare, distinct copies of the coin have sold for different values based on their qualities.
The coin depicts a sun and sundial with the Latin inscription “fugio,” implying time and the sun are flying, fitting Franklin's humor. The underside of the coin states “mind your business,” urging the holder to focus on their business. Reverse of coin contains phrase “We are one” with 13 links in chain to commemorate America's original 13 states.
The 723 Umayyad gold dinar, one of the most valuable Islamic coins, was made from caliph-owned gold. The coin says “mine of the commander of the faithful” and is the first Islamic currency to name Saudi Arabia. Experts say there are about a dozen coins.
Aged and gold coins are also among the most costly. The 1343 Edward III Florin is one of three such gold coins. The British Museum in London has two specimens recovered in the River Tyne in 1857. Prospectors using metal detectors unearthed the third coin in 2006.
Instead of copper and nickel, the mint used steel to make pennies because the U.S. needed them for war. When the mint started manufacturing steel pennies, blanks in the press may have caused it to strike a batch of copper pennies. Some think less than 20 of these coins survive, but experts estimate 40.
The $1 million Canadian Gold Maple Leaf coin, weighing 100 kilograms (220 pounds), is a novelty. As of December 2022, just six almost pure gold coins have been minted, each worth $1 million. The mint used them to promote its one-ounce Gold Maple Leaf coins.
Since 2000, some coins have sold for millions of dollars at auction. One version was sold for $4.15 million in 2005 and $5 million in 2007. Another sold for over $3.7 million in 2010, and another for $4.56 million in 2018. One coin sold for $4.2 million to auctioneer GreatCollections in October 2022.
The half dime was half the weight of the dime and had the same metallic content. In 1866, the nickel five-cent piece was more handy and popular, therefore the half dime was removed seven years later. This little silver coin was widely used in business when it first emerged.
Proof Walking Liberty halves are stunning. The U.S. Mint agreed, using the Walking Liberty coin's full-length depiction of Miss Liberty for the American Eagle silver bullion coin's obverse in 1986. The Saint-Gaudens design was chosen for the gold American Eagle, thus this was a significant signal that the government considers the “Walker” the best U.S. silver coin.
Registry sets allow collectors and investors to list their PCGS or NGC-certified coins online.
Barry Sunshine, a collector and coin variety book author, says this variation has less than 60 known and a Mint State 63 is the finest quality. He expects these artifacts to grow more popular and simpler to price as more collectors use 2023 internet valuation data.