By Mark Etinger
As any numismatist knows, the quality and condition of a coin can greatly influence the price and expectations of those who are coin collecting. But that aside, these coins are the most expensive American ones ever sold. Maybe one day you’ll be able to afford one.
1. 1838 Half Eagle: Valued at over $100,000 this coin shows a fledgling eagle with the now familiar American banner and olive branches and spears of war in its talons. Lady Liberty looks a bit too Roman, but her “Liberty” headband makes up for it. This was the first year these half eagle five dollar coins were produced.
2. 1795 Five Dollar Gold: Lady Liberty wears a Revolutionary hat in this profile. This five dollar piece was the first gold coin produced in our young country ($150,000).
3. 1933 Ten Dollar Gold: Produced the last year the U.S. Mint used gold for currency, this bad boy is worth around $300,000. The Indian headdress over what look like Lady Liberty’s flowing tresses and the stunning eagle on the obverse make this coin a true beauty.
4. 1838-O Half-Dollar: The first coin to be struck at a branch mint, the O stands for Orleans. ($500,000).
5. 1794 Bust Dollar: Also valued at half a million, this coin was one of the first silver dollars minted by the U.S.
6. 1652 New England Shilling: One of the first colony-issued coins, this shilling can barely be recognized due to its weathering, but that doesn’t affect its price ($500,000).
7. 1839 Ten Dollar Proof: At a million dollars, there are fewer than five existing examples of this coin.
8. 1907 Ultra High Relief Double Eagle: An eagle soaring over a (rising?) sun and Lady Liberty walking with torch in hand, this coin is considered to be one of the most beautiful, and at $3 million, it’s easy to see why.
9. 1877 Fifty Dollar: This experimental coin is worth about $10 million. You will need a big coin album for this fifty dollar piece.
10. 1787 Brasher Doubloon: One of the only gold coins to be produced during the Revolutionary Era, the eagle on the front of the coin may look a little skimpy, but the price ($20 million) of this coin is not.
These coins are rare, beautiful, or just plain old. Any way you cut it, they are artifacts that help us imagine what life was like during a different era. So if you ever have the chance to own one of these coins, jump on it. Then you can worry about which coin holders to buy.