List of Rare US Coins

By Arthur Barnhouse
List of Rare US Coins
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Whether you’re the casual hobbyist who collects the occasional Indian head nickel or an advanced connoisseur who sees coinage as investment opportunity, finding a rare coin can provide a jolt of excitement like no other. The following coins are some of the rarest U.S. coins in existence. The chances of discovering one are beyond slim; but if you do happen to find one, you will have hit the jackpot.

1933 Saint-Gaudens Double Eagle

In 1933, Franklin D. Roosevelt ordered that all gold currency be removed from circulation as he abolished the country’s gold standard. Approximately 12 Saint-Gaudens double eagles were never returned. In fact, the United States Mint asserts that it is illegal to own the 1933 double eagle because the originals were taken without authorization. One of the last of these coins to surface was in 2002 when a man attempted to sell it to an undercover Secret Service agent for $1 million. The coin was taken into custody and held at Fort Knox before being sold at auction by Sotheby’s for $7,590,020.

1804 Draped Bust Dollar

While the currency itself reads 1804, this silver coin was actually struck in 1834 and 1835 at the behest of the Jackson Administration. It appears he wanted to offer the coins as gifts to foreign dignitaries, despite the fact that silver coins had not been minted for approximately 30 years. Eight 1804 draped bust dollars were minted. Today it is estimated that each of these coins is worth over $1 million.

Brasher Doubloon

The Brasher doubloon was a privately minted gold coin for the State of New York; this at a time when the states were permitted to have their own form of currency. The coins were struck in 1787 by Ephraim Brasher, who was also responsible for making a number of foreign gold coins at the time. Currently, only seven of the coins are known to exist. One of the doubloons sold for $725,000 in 1979.

1943 Copper Penny

Because of rationing, most pennies during World War II were made of zinc-coated steel rather than the usual copper. However, it is believed that approximately 40 copper pennies were made accidentally in 1943 due to a blank sheet of copper remaining in the press, just prior to the production of steel pennies. The estimated value of the 1943 penny is over $200,000. If you have a 1943 penny and want to see if it’s copper or steel, simply check if it sticks to a magnet. If the penny sticks, you’re out of luck. If it does stick, you might want to contact an expert immediately to have it authenticated.

1913 Liberty Head Nickel

There are five Liberty head nickels known to be in existence. It remains a mystery as to how they were created. In 1913 the Indian head nickel was to replace the Liberty head nickel. Some believe the man responsible for holding all five nickels had printed them himself, as he was employee of the U.S. Mint. Others think the nickels were printed a year early, but printed with the date 1913 as a test run. Whatever the case, the Liberty head nickel is extremely valuable. The last one sold went for over $3 million.