Ever since coins were invented and introduced as a payment system, people have found them fascinating. Also, coins were coveted for their monetary and artistic value, and archeological data has shown that people have collected coins since ancient times. While back in the early days of coin use, it was rare for someone to afford to collect coins, today, many people collect coins for various reasons.
Thus, today we have coin auctions that display and offer new and old coins from all over the world for sale. The collector’s coins that are popular in coin auctions almost always have a higher value than their monetary denomination. So, here we’ll discuss the top most expensive coins ever sold at auction, but first, we’ll talk about how the value of a coin is determined.
How Is the Value of a Coin Determined?
Before an expert can offer any coin at auction, it needs to be evaluated. The coins are evaluated in four usual value points:
- Catalog value
- Retail value
- Wholesale value
- Buy price
The value and price are affected by several factors, like:
- Rarity means how often a coin can be found for sale and is directly linked to how many coins were produced and how many are in existence.
- Condition/grade is the physical state of the coin and its appearance. The condition or grade is compared against an evaluation scale, and the most commonly used is the 70-grade Sheldon Scale, where coins valued 60 or over are considered Mint State and fetch higher value than lower-grade coins.
- Demand varies; the more a coin is in demand, the higher its price, and vice versa. Demand for certain coins is almost always high, while other coins’ popularity rises and falls over the years, and the price is decided on the current market demand.
Other less significant factors that affect the coin’s value are the country of origin, its initial issue (general use, commemorative, celebratory), etc. Today, one can find a wealth of information online on all sorts of coins, as the PGCS and the US Mint have extensive data on over 350,000 coins.
If you have any doubts, you can always consult an expert coin appraiser or professional coin grader to get an accurate grade and evaluation on your coin and an estimated price value. We mention this as there are often people who come upon coin collections, like from an inheritance, and wish to find out the value of their possession.
Top Most Expensive Coins Ever Sold
The list of the top most expensive coins ever sold is an interesting one, and one coin tops the list and stands so far above its competitors in price precisely for one reason – it is the only such coin in private ownership. Here are the top most expensive coins ever sold:
1. 1933 Double Eagle
Minted by the US Mint in 1933, the Double Eagle features Lady Liberty and an eagle in flight on both sides of the coin. A decision was made for the Mint to melt all coins, but 13 of these survived; 12 are in possession of official government bodies, while only one is in private hands. It was sold by Sotheby’s in 2021 for a staggering $18,872,252.
2. Flowing Hair Dollar
The Flowing Hair Dollar was the first dollar coin issued by the US federal government in 1794, and the coin became a widely sought-after collector’s item. Over the years, many of the coins were lost or destroyed; by some estimates, only about 120 exist today. One of the earliest Flowing Hair Dollars minted that has remained in almost pristine condition was sold in a private sale in 2013 for an impressive $10,016,875.
3. Brasher Doubloon
The Brasher Doubloon was a privately-minted coin from 1787 by Ephraim Brasher, a New York-based goldsmith and silversmith. The Brasher Doubloon was worth sixteen dollars at the time, and only a few are known to exist today. One of these, with the initials EB on the wing on the obverse, was sold by Heritage Auctions in 2021 for an astounding $9.36 million.
4. The Draped Bust Dollar
The Draped Bust was a coin produced from 1795 to 1804, with a face value of $5. The coin was the first gold coin produced by the US Mint, and it had several different versions over the years. In 2021, Stacks Bowers sold an 1804 Draped Bust Dollar for the spectacular price of $7,680,000.
5. Brasher Doubloon
Another Brasher Doubloon rounds up our list of the top most expensive coins ever sold, and this one features the EB initials on the breast of the eagle on the obverse. Made in 1787, Blanchard and Company sold this in a private transaction for an impressive sum of $7,395,000.
To Wrap Up: Where to Buy Gold Coins!
While the coins on this list are way off most people’s budget, you can still buy impressive and extraordinary coins with unique features and a double purpose of being a collector’s item and an investment opportunity. Gold, silver, and other precious metal coins are wise investments, as they can withstand the test of time and economic fluctuations and protect the value of your assets. If you are in the market for purchasing gold coins, you can browse our blog to educate yourself on reputable sellers and more knowledge on this topic.