What is the Most Expensive Coin?

Posted - September 4, 2023
what is the most expensive coin

Most collectors will never even see rare coins worth millions of dollars – much less add one to their portfolios. But we can’t help but wonder: what is the most expensive coin? The sole distinction of “most expensive coin” doesn’t really belong to a single piece of coinage history. Instead, there are several coins from around the world that, in the right conditions, can sell for hundreds of thousands of dollars – or more! 

Understanding what is the most expensive coin can help new coin collectors in a couple of ways. First, noting the rarities that make these coins unique can give you important clues on why they’re so valuable. You can also use the price evaluation models we’ll discuss in these guides to assess less valuable coins, like common bullion pieces. In this guide, we’ll give you all the tools you need to figure out: what is the most expensive coin? 

Factors Influencing Coin Values

There are too many factors that influence coin values to count. We’ll regulate our discussion to four main value factors: rarity, historical significance, demand, and numismatic market trends. By the end of this section, you should have a pretty good idea of how to quickly and reliably assess the general value of gold, silver, or platinum coins. What is the most expensive coin? The most expensive coins will be extremely rare, in high demand, and historically significant. 


What is the most expensive coin? Before we get into some of the most expensive coins of all time, we should take a minute to discuss how rarity impacts value. In order for a coin to be worth millions of dollars, it needs to be more than just generally rare. Coins with low mintage figures are often minted in the tens – or hundreds – of thousands. These pieces generally don’t sell for hundreds of thousands at auction. But the coins we’ll highlight later take ‘rare’ to a whole different level; some of these coins are one or two-of-a-kind. 

Historical Significance

Historical significance is practically a prerequisite for us as we try to answer our question: what is the most expensive coin? The rarest coins from around the world generally come from historically important time periods. In fact, a couple of the coins that have sold for millions of dollars were the very last coins to be minted as part of a given series or design. The place of a coin in the larger history of coins with its obverse/reverse designs plays an important role in determining its total value.


Certain coins are always going to be higher in demand than others. Coins from the United States Mint are particularly popular among collectors. It’s especially essential that investors understand which American coins are most popular to collect and stack. The American Double Eagle is one example; the rarest editions of the American Gold Double Eagle can go for thousands of dollars at auction, especially if they’re in exceptional condition. 

Numismatic Market Trends

Market trends are almost always hard to predict. Even the best and most profitable investors sometimes struggle to properly time the gold market, which is highly unpredictable and occasionally volatile. But numismatics is a different level entirely. Numismatic collectors are often picky, and it can be difficult to determine how interested investors are in a given numismatic coin. What is the most expensive coin? The answer to this question depends primarily on numismatic market trends and sentiments. 

Notable Expensive Coins 

You’re not here for the background information, though. Let’s instead take a look at some of the most expensive coins in the history of coinage. What is the most expensive coin? We’ll discuss five contenders below: the 1933 Double Eagle, 1794 Flowing Hair Dollar, 2007 $1 Million Canadian Coin, 1787 Brasher Doubloon, and the 2000 Sacagawea “Cheerios” Dollar. 

1933 Double Eagle

What is the most expensive coin? The 1933 Double Eagle might have this distinction. 1933 was slated to be the last Gold Double Eagle produced in the series. The problem? President FDR took the United States off of the gold standard in the same year. Because of this, the country melted down most of the existing 1933 Double Eagles. While 445,500 of these famous coins were minted in 1933, only thirteen are known to have survived. The remaining coins are worth quite a bit of money. 

1933 Double eagle (2) - coin, public domain photograph - PICRYL - Public  Domain Media Search Engine Public Domain Search
1933 Gold Double Eagle

Because of their rarity, getting a precise value estimate for these coins can be difficult. One 1933 Gold Double Eagle sold for a whopping $18.9 million at auction in 2021, making it the most expensive coin in the world. 

1794 Flowing Hair Dollar

The historical value and age of this coin is one major element behind its value. The 1794 Flowing Hair Dollar is worth over $80,000 in good condition. If you manage to find one in BU condition (MS65), its value skyrockets to a mouth-watering $5.8 million dollars. Only 1,758 of these coins were minted, and they were used as actual currency. In other words, the 1794 Flowing Hair Silver Dollar features very few surviving specimens – and even fewer high grade pieces. What is the most expensive coin in the world? Not all expensive coins are gold; this expensive coin features 89% silver bullion and could sell for millions.

File:Silver Dollar 1794.jpg - Wikimedia Commons
1794 Silver Dollar

2007 $1 Million Canadian Coin 

The $1 million Canadian Big Maple Leaf is a modern coin specially created to be one of the world’s most valuable bullion products. What is the most expensive coin of the modern era? This honor might well go to the Big Maple Leaf. Produced as a commemorative artwork in 2007 by the Royal Canadian Mint, only six were ever released. They carry a face value of $1 million Canadian Dollars (CAD). But the actual value of the coin is far higher; the Big Maple Leaf contains 3,215 troy ounces of pure gold. The melt value of this coin is likely worth over $5 million USD. 

One Million Dollars | A coin originally worth $1,000,000 (Ca… | Flickr
“Big Maple Leaf” Coin

We’d be willing to bet money that you’ll never run into a Big Maple Leaf in the wild. Still, when we try to answer the question of “what is the most expensive coin,” considering this 220 lb .99999 pure gold piece is a no-brainer. 

1787 Brasher Doubloon 

One of the earliest coins minted in United States history, the 1787 Brasher Doubloon is a solid answer to the question, what is the most expensive coin? The coin was not minted by the United States government. Instead, it was only made by a private metal worker named Ephraim Brasher. Brasher brought the idea of this coin to government leaders in the form of a copper circulation piece, but they refused to get involved in copper minting. Instead, these coins were struck using either copper or, in rare situations, gold. 

File:Brasher Doubloon, 1787 - National Museum of American History -  DSC00238.jpg - Wikimedia Commons
1787 Brasher Doubloon

The Brasher Doubloon was sold for a record-breaking $9.36 million USD in January of 2021. Values can vary for this storied coin; some are worth only $625,000. But all of them are extremely rare and valuable. 

2000 Sacagawea “Cheerios” Dollar

This is one of the newer U.S. Mint coins on our list. What is the most expensive coin from the last twenty years? The 2000 Sacagawea “Cheerios” Dollar is a surprising but welcome inclusion on our list. During one auction in 2008, a specimen sold for a high of $34,500 in a Heritage Auction. Prices for this rare error of the 2000 Sacagawea “Cheerios” Dollar have been increasing steadily since. It isn’t hard to imagine that the rare coin will appreciate in value even more over time. 

1 Dollar Münze Rückseite 2 - coin, public domain photograph - PICRYL -  Public Domain Media Search Engine Public Domain Search
“Cheerio” Gold Coin

Auction Records

We’ve discussed some of the most expensive coins ever sold in the section above. But how do we answer a question like: what is the most expensive coin? Auction records are an important tool to help investors determine the value of some of the world’s most popular coins. Below, we’ll discuss famous auction records, as well as the role that auctions play in determining the potential sale value of a numismatic coin. 

The Role of Auctions in Determining Value

Auctions are extremely helpful to consumers looking to determine the value of a rare coin. We’re often asked, “what is the most expensive coin?” But smart investors take their question a step further and research which coins have sold for the most on verified auction sites. Pricing guides can also be helpful tools in evaluating a coin, but they have limitations as well. Coin value guides provide you only with a rough estimate of what a coin might be worth in a given condition. Auction sites, on the other hand, tell readers exactly what coins have sold for to actual buyers. 

Sotheby’s and Christie’s Famous Sales

Sotheby’s and Christie’s are two auction houses known for their expensive rare coin sales. Both establishments have sold multiple coins for hundreds of thousands of dollars, making them clear targets for collectors looking to buy – or sell – some of the rarest coins in the world. We recommend checking out the recent sales listed on their respective websites to see what your favorite rare coins are selling for. What is the most expensive coin ever sold at Sotheby’s auction house? This honor goes, of course, to the $18.9 million 1933 Double Eagle sold in 2021 at the famous auction house. 

Trends in Coin Collecting Markets

Monitoring the coin collecting markets for trends is an important part of smart investing. These trends can give investors a better understanding of how much a coin is worth. Sometimes, coins that were once very valuable can become worth far less, depending on coin collecting trends and general market sentiment. 

Collecting and Investing 

What is the most expensive coin, and how can you start to build a rare numismatic coin collection? We’ll cover three tips for collecting and investing in expensive coins below: numismatics as a hobby, diversification through rare coins, and long-term value appreciation. 

Numismatics as a Hobby

Many investors collect numismatic coins as a hobby. Numismatic coins are bullion pieces with value in addition to the underlying precious metal content. Many of the coins on our list in this guide are considered numismatically valuable; their rarity and historical importance makes them quite a bit more valuable than their metal content alone. If you’re collecting numismatics as a hobby, looking for valuable old coins is a great way to build your portfolio. 

Diversification Through Rare Coins 

Even if your coin portfolio is primarily filled with modern bullion pieces, adding a little diversity is never a bad idea. It’s essential that investors develop strategies to expand and diversify their precious metal collections. Expensive and rare gold, silver, or copper coins is a great way to accomplish this goal. What is the most expensive coin that every collector should consider? Rare Gold Double Eagles are a good option. While we’ve highlighted the most expensive Double Eagle, the 1933 edition, plenty of standard Double Eagles are numismatically valuable and might add sufficient diversity to your growing precious metal vault. 

Long-Term Value Appreciation 

The long-term value appreciation of expensive, rare bullion coins is tough to beat. What is the most expensive coin in recent history? Coins like the 1933 Gold Double Eagle have always been expensive, but also offer an extensive history of value appreciation. Coins with numismatic value might also appreciate during periods of stagnation in the larger gold market. When gold’s price hits the floor, bullion coins like the American Gold Eagle will decrease in value as well. But for coins with numismatic value aside from their pure gold content? These pieces will continue to appreciate in value. 

Final Thoughts: What is the Most Expensive Coin?

So what is the most expensive coin in the world? A number of early American coins are worth hundreds of thousands of dollars – or even millions. Adding rare and expensive silver and gold coins to your portfolio is a time-honored way for collectors to avoid the pitfalls of volatile precious metal prices. Additionally, there’s always been something amazing about holding hundreds of years of bullion (and world) history in your hands. 

Hero Bullion doesn’t quite sell million-dollar rare coins on our website, but we’re excited to offer our customers access to some of the world’s rarest coins. 

About The Author

Michael Roets is a writer and journalist for Hero Bullion. His work explores precious metals news, guides, and commentary.