A single coin can sometimes be worth a fortune. Some even reach crazy sums, running into millions of euros, at auctions. Here are the five most expensive specimens in the world.
Double eagle (1933, United States)
(© Angela Weiss / AFP)
Last June, an American gold coin from 1933, known as the “Double Eagle”, exploded the record for the most expensive coin in the world at an auction at Sotheby’s in New York (United States). .
With a face value of 20 dollars, it was sold for the tidy sum of 18.9 million dollars (16.2 million euros). It must be said that this is a particularly rare copy. It is part of the last series of gold coins minted by the United States Mint.
These never entered into circulation, the American President at the time Franklin Roosevelt having at the same time decided the end of the convertibility of the American currency into gold. Most have been destroyed and declared illegal to own, with the exception of the one sold last June. It is the only one in the world that can be legally possessed, an exemption wrested after a long legal battle at the turn of the 21st century.
Flowing hair (1794, United States)
Until last June’s auction in New York City, a much older specimen held the record for the most expensive coin on the planet. It is a silver dollar, dating from 1794, considered one of the first – if not the first – coins to be minted by the United States Mint.
Nicknamed “Flowing hair dollar” – because it has on one of its faces a representation of Liberty with the hair in the wind -, it was sold in 2013 in New York for 10 million dollars (8.5 million euros ). It was acquired by Legend Numismatics, a company specializing in rare coins and based in New Jersey.
Brasher Doubloon (1787, United States)
(© Wikimedia Commons)
On the third step of the podium for the most expensive coins in the world is another old American coin: a “Brasher Doubloon” from 1787, named after the renowned New York silversmith who made it, Ephraïm Brasher.
This coin dates from a time when the monetary regime of the United States had not yet been created (it will be in 1792) and when therefore the American federal state was not yet minting its own currency.
This coin, which is part of a collection of seven, was sold last January for 9.36 million dollars (8 million euros) at an auction in Dallas, Texas.
Gold Umayyad dinar (723, current Saudi Arabia)
Outside the United States, it is the most expensive coin ever acquired at auction. A gold dinar from the Arab Umayyad Dynasty, dated 723 AD, was sold for 3.7 million pounds (around $ 6 million at the time, or € 5.1 million) in 2019 in London (United Kingdom).
Bearing an Arabic inscription meaning “Mine of the Commander of the Faithful in the Hijaz”, this Islamic coin is the first coin in history to mention a location in present-day Saudi Arabia. To date, there are only a dozen pieces of this type known in the world.
Liberty head nickel (1913, United States)
(© Wikimedia Commons)
It is not made of a precious metal, and yet it is one of the five most expensive coins in the world. With a face value of five cents, a 1913 Liberty Head coin, in nickel, was auctioned for $ 4.5 million (3.8 million euros) in 2018 at an auction in Philadelphia ( Pennsylvania).
If it is so expensive, it is because there are in all and all only five copies of this coin. The surname Eliasberg is attached to his name. A reference to the collector who bought it in 1948, the financier Louis E. Eliasberg, famous for having constituted one of the largest collections of coins in the history of the United States.