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10 of the Most Valuable US Gold Coins

Lapina / Shutterstock.com
Lapina / Shutterstock.com

If you have a coin collection, something might be hiding inside that’s worth much more than its weight in gold.

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The post-pandemic era is shaping up to be a great time in the history of numismatics, and some of the most valuable U.S. gold coins have recently sold for millions of dollars more than they did just a few years earlier.

Here’s an idea of what to look for when you scour those old coins collecting dust in your attic, but set aside anything that looks interesting — just because it’s not on this list doesn’t mean it couldn’t make you rich.

1854-S Coronet Half Eagle

  • Value: $2.16 million

The 1854-S Coronet Half Eagle proves that it always pays to take a second look at any interesting coins you own. Before 2018, there were just three known remaining copies of the original 268.

But that year, a New England collector believed he had discovered a fourth. Appraisers said it was a counterfeit, but the collector was sure he had something special. Upon further review, it turned out to be real — and his persistence paid off to the tune of $2.16 million.

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1808 Capped Draped Bust Quarter Eagle

  • Value: $2.35 million

Check your collection for highly desirable single-year coins such as the 1808 Capped Draped Bust Quarter Eagle. According to USA Coin Book, 2,710 of them were minted — and, depending on their condition, they can be among the world’s most valuable coins.

Fine (F-12) examples sell for $46,623, very fine (VF-20) copies are worth $61,925, extremely fine (EF-40) pieces command $112,116, about uncirculated (AU-50) coins can earn you $154,433 and uncirculated (MS-60) examples can fetch $260,349.

Then, there’s the rare example graded uncirculated (MS-63). One of those sold for $2.35 million in 2015.

1795 $10 9 Leaves Eagle

  • Value: $3.36 million

In January 2022, 8,500 bidders gathered for a Heritage auction that pulled in more than $74 million. The star of the show was a 1795 $10 9 Leaves Eagle, which smashed all previous records for the coin when it sold for $3.36 million.

Known as the “king of the Small Eagle type,” it is the rarest and most sought example of the Capped Bust Right Small Eagle tens.

1907 Ultra High Relief Double Eagle

  • Value: $4.75 million

In 2007, one of the finest examples of the 13 to 15 known 1907 Saint-Gaudens Ultra High Relief $20 Double Eagle gold coins sold for $1.84 million — and the collector who bought it turned a pretty penny 14 years later. In December 2021, the same coin changed hands for $4.75 million when an anonymous buyer represented by GreatCollections Coin Auctions snapped it up in a private sale.

1804 Plain 4 Draped Bust Eagle

  • Value: $5.28 million

The 1804 Plain 4 Draped Bust Eagle is an ultra-rare early federal gold proof version of that year’s Draped Bust Dollar that, at the time, was the highest-denomination U.S.-minted coin. On Jan. 20, 2021, it sold for $5.28 million at Heritage Auctions, which called it “one of the rarest and most valuable issues in the history of American coinage.”

Just four were ever struck as diplomatic gift sets for foreign rulers and just three are known to remain, all of which are in private collections.

1870 $3 S Indian Princess Head Gold

  • Value: $5.52 million

One of the rarest and most unique coins in the world, the 1870 S Indian Princess Head Gold $3 piece is truly one of a kind. The San Francisco Mint struck just a single copy, which was supposed to be placed in the cornerstone of the facility’s new building that same year. Somehow, it survived, and on Jan. 5, 2023, it commanded more than $5.5 million at Heritage Auctions.

The 1861 Paquet Double Eagle

  • Value: $7.2 million

In 2014, Heritage Auctions listed the 1861 Double Eagle from the Philadelphia Mint as “the fourth-rarest regular-issue United States coin.”

Seven years later in August 2021, the Civil War-era coin lived up to that designation when a buyer paid $7.2 million to own the finest example of only two known copies. According to USA Coin Book, a third is rumored to exist but hasn’t been confirmed — so check your collection. Even the lower-grade known example is worth more than $1 million.

1822 Capped Head Left Half Eagle

  • Value: $8.4 million

The only known privately held 1822 Half Eagle sold for $8.4 million on March 25, 2021, at Stack’s Bowers Galleries. The sale set a record for any U.S. Mint gold coin — but the record lasted for less than three months. The other two examples are held at the National Numismatic Collection at the Smithsonian Institution. According to Stack’s Bowers, incomplete records make it impossible to know why so few of the 17,796 originals survived, but it remains one of the rarest and most coveted collectibles of any kind.

1787 Brasher Doubloon

  • Value: $9.36 million

While it wasn’t struck by the U.S. Mint, the 1787 Brasher Doubloon is a uniquely American coin. Revolutionary War veteran and New York silversmith Ephraim Brasher designed the now-legendary coin to compete with the equal-value Spanish Doubloon. In January 2021, an example graded Mint State 65 became the most valuable gold coin in the world — but only for a few months — when it sold for $9.36 million at the same Heritage auction that featured the Plain 4 Draped Bust Eagle.

1933 Saint-Gaudens Double Eagle

  • Value: $18.87 million

The 1933 Double Eagle is the last gold coin ever minted as U.S. currency. Hundreds of thousands were struck, but none ever entered circulation and all but two were ordered to be melted down as part of the government’s Depression-era gold grab.

Those two are in the Smithsonian Institution, and the government confiscated 11 of the 12 other known remaining examples.

The only one in existence that is not illegal to own sold for $18,872,250 on June 8, 2021, at a Sotheby’s auction.

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This article originally appeared on GOBankingRates.com: 10 of the Most Valuable US Gold Coins

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