Guest Post from Provident Metals
For numismatists, a rare coin is a wonderful thing. There is a joy in knowing you have a coin in your possession both well regarded and hard to come by. Owning any of these coins would make for a notable payday for any owner, but it would also provide them with the utmost bragging rights. If you’re someone who wants to enter into the auctioning world or wants to consider what coins you should truly seek out for historical reasons, these are some of the rarest U.S. minted coins:
1804 Draped Bust Dollar
Sometimes known as “The King of Coins,” the 1804 Draped Bust Dollar was minted in 1834—a decision set forth by President Andrew Jackson’s administration. Following President Thomas Jefferson’s directive for the U.S. Mint to cease all silver coinage in 1803, particularly to fight against counterfeit techniques, the Jackson administration decided to produce these special coins as gifts of foreign influence for rulers in Asia, including Rama III and Said bin Sultan. Only eight of these coins were struck in 1834—known as Class I types—and engraved with the 1804 date. While replica coins were produced for enthusiasts at a later point in time, termed Class II and III, the 1834-1835 mints of the Draped Bust Dollar are the rarest and most valued.
1913 Liberty Head Nickel
One of the most sought-after coins for American numismatists, this nickel is highly valued solely for how rare it is. Minted toward the end of 1912, only five of these coins were ever struck, all of which came into the possession of one man. The owner spread rumors about their rarity, increasing their value, and sold them a few years later for a notable price. These coins have only increased in value over time, as it is a collector’s dream to own one of these five known pieces.
1870 S Liberty Seated Dollar
Produced nearly 150 years ago, the value and rarity of this coin have less to do with its age and more with the number of coins known to still exist in the market. At this time, numismatic experts state there are only twelve 1870 S Liberty Seated Dollars still in existence. The S-type variety is the most sought-after version due to its minting location: at the time of release in 1870, the Liberty Seated Dollar coin was produced in both San Francisco (S) and Carson City (CC).
1794 Flowing Hair Dollar
The first dollar coin to be issued by the U.S. government, this coin was produced following Alexander Hamilton’s recommendation that the U.S. should create its own national mint to no longer rely on foreign coins for trade. The dollar, which was replaced by the Draped Bust Silver Dollar design, is rare as there are only 120 to 130 known to still exist. These coins have sold for values near $1 million. One coin, which was graded as a specimen-66 by the Professional Coin Grading Service (PCGS), sold for $10M at auction in 2013!
1933 Indian Head Gold Eagle
While Indian Head Gold Eagles were minted regularly from 1906 to 1917, and irregularly thereafter, the 1933 version is the most coveted since it was the last year the coin was ever struck. Their production was halted in 1933 due to President Franklin Delano Roosevelt’s directive, Executive Order 6102, for the U.S. Mint to cease minting of all gold coins. It is said that most of these gold eagle coins were sold overseas to Europe following their outlawing, but they are still appearing within the U.S. market and selling for noteworthy prices.
1933 Saint-Gaudens Double Eagle
Similar to the fate of the 1933 Indian Head Gold Eagle, the production of the famed Saint-Gaudens Double Eagle coins was also brought to an end by Roosevelt’s Executive Order 6102. Only a dozen or so of these coins are known to be in existence at this time, stashed away by coin collectors or sold for exorbitant amounts of money. While this coin had a face value of $20 at the time of its production, a recent numismatist purchased the coin for nearly $7M!
1838 O Capped Bust Half Dollar
One of the first coins to be minted by the New Orleans mint, marked by its O mint mark, only 20 of these coins were produced by the mint. This wasn’t intentional, as with some other coins; rather, the New Orleans mint was having technical issues with their minting equipment from the start, so they were only able to produce these 20. Only 12 of these “O” coins are known to still be in existence, so an American collector has certainly stumbled upon something if they ever come into contact with one of these. A recent auction saw one of these coins, which was in exceptional condition, sell for $700K.
1817 Capped Bust Half Dollar
Another Bust Half Dollar coin, the U.S. Mint produced numerous variations of half dollar coins before and after 1817, but the 1817 version is the rarest version, as there are only 10 of these coins known to still exist. This Capped Bust Half Dollar is well regarded for its specific marking of “1817/4.” This date mark of a 7 over 4 made for a unique design—one that would not be found in other coins. For this reason, this exact version is seen as an exceptional coin by numismatists, especially if they are to be found in good condition.
Thanks to Justin Fraughton of Provident Metals.
The Deviant Investor