From Pocket Change To Priceless: The Fascinating World Of Rare Coins

By Aakash M

So much cultural history comes with an antique that has been around for decades or centuries. That is one of the many reasons vintage items cost so much. Whether it’s a family heirloom or a piece of history, it can be hard to put a price on certain things. However, that doesn’t mean it’s impossible — just difficult. When we think of expensive vintage items, our minds usually conjure images of cars and famous artwork, but the price is not proportional to an object’s size. Coins, for example, have always been common collector items. And these small metal discs can be pretty valuable. Take a look at these high-valued coins that sum up to a whopping total of $5.5 million.

1922 Lincoln No D Strong Reverse and Weak Obverse Wheat Penny 

Amongst the three versions of this coin, this particular version is quite different from all the other ones. A fresh die was used for this coin, which is why the head has such sharp edges on its side. Earlier on the obverse, though, there was a blurred head.

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However, the coin missed the mint mark, and the total certified coins were less than the number of coins made. It was because the NGC refused its attribution for over 1.5 decades. Yet, it sold for $48,000, which is still a lot of money.

1969 S Lincoln Penny Doubled Die Obverse 

The 1969 S Lincoln Penny weighed around 3.11 grams, and it was made out of copper and zinc. The coin was minted in San Francisco, and the reason behind the unique double image was that the die was prepared improperly.

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But what makes this coin so special is that people actually began forging this doubled-die coin in the hopes of cashing in on the rarity. Later, five of these coins were destroyed by the government to avoid the after-effects. In 2008, the coin was sold for $126,500.

1933 Double Eagle 

The 1933 Double Eagle is one of the most notorious coins among US collectors. It’s pretty valuable for an investor or a collector, but owning one of these isn’t as easy when compared to many other coins you’ll see on this list. Here’s why.

Image Credits: US Mint Pressroom Image Library/Public Domain/Wikimedia Commons

Firstly, it’s almost illicit to own one of these. But, if you manage to acquire one of these, it has also been known to bring bad luck to its owners. Lastly, these coins weren’t even made for public circulation yet were somehow released. It’s valued at $7.6 million.

1944-D Lincoln Penny 

The 1944-D Lincoln Penny is made of zinc-coated silver, and it’s a tad bit lighter (literally) than other coins, weighing around 2.70 grams. Interestingly, this coin was actually made as a mistake when an outdated silver coin was struck by accident.

Image Credits: Heritage Auctions/

There are also records of these coins having S and D mint marks. Yet, the approximate number of Denver mints is not more than ten coins. One of these uncirculated coins was sold at an auction in 2007 at $115,000.

1922-D Lincoln, No D, Strong Reverse, Die Pair 2 

This coin is made up of copper, zinc, and tin. It weighs around 3.11 grams and misses the mint mark because of Denver Mint’s damaged die. Surprisingly, that is also what happened with the 1804 Silver Dollar we just showed you!

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The coin had a sharper image on the back than it had on the front, as you can see from the fresh head die. This coin was also considered to be the true one among its other versions. It was sold for $63,000.

1873 Doubled ‘Closed 3’ Indian Head Penny 

This one is called the Indian Head Penny. This one-cent penny was designed in two distinguished patterns. As you can see, there’s a gap in the number three in 1873, which is considered to be this coin’s specialty as well!

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Now, there are two things here. If this gap in number three was wide, it’s considered Open 3. If it the gap was smaller, it would be considered a Closed 3, which is what this coin is. This 1873 coin was valued at $12,650.

1914-S Lincoln Penny

The 1914-S Lincoln Penny is a beautiful bronze coin measuring 19 mm in diameter. It weighs 3.11 grams, and it has a bright red color, which is because of the high amount of copper in it. The color hasn’t faded out because of reduced circulation and ideal preservation.

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This penny was sold for a whopping $105,800, and guess what? This one came out of the San Francisco Mint along with four million other pennies! When it was sold in 2006, it still had its authentic, bright red color.

1907 Golden Eagle Wire Edge 

Christian Gobrecht, the third Chief Engraver of the United States Mint, designed the 1907 Golden Eagle Wire Edge coin. It’s a ten-dollar liberty head coin that was minted between the late 1830s and early 1900s. 500 of these coins were minted before it was discontinued in 1907.

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It is one of the most used coins that has been minted in American history. The front side shows a great rendition of Lady Liberty. You can also see the word “Liberty” beautifully inscribed on that side. It was sold for $2.8 million.

1793 Flowing Hair Liberty Cap Large Cent Penny 

The 1793 Flowing Hair Liberty Cap Coin is one of three Flowing Hair coin design versions. It was minted between 1973 and 1976, after which the Draped Bust coin replaced it. This piece of history is different from its counterparts…

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The coin was heavier than usual, as it officially weighed 13.48 grams. Later, the weight was reduced to 11 grams, which also led to many of it having plain edges, which became a pretty rare thing. It went on to be sold on eBay for $19,950.

1943 Bronze Lincoln Penny

Just like the 1943-D Bronze Lincoln penny, the 1943 Bronze Lincoln penny was also coined in bronze due to an accident at the Mint. This coin was minted in Philadelphia, but no mint mark engraving is on it. The coin weighs 3.11 grams.

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According to many sources, more than a dozen of these wouldn’t have been coming out of the Philadelphia mind. Out of these, two were recently certified. Also, this coin is the only one that’s certified as a Philadelphia-minted 1943 red penny.

1907 Saint-Gaudens Double Eagle 

The 1907 Saint-Gaudens Double Eagle coin is by far one of the most gorgeous coins produced by the USA. Augustus Saint-Gaudens is the designer of the coin, who was also specially appointed by then-president Roosevelt for the $29 gold coin.

Image Credits: Lost Dutchman Rare Coins/Public Domain/Wikimedia Commons

The aim was to revive the USA’s coinage system, and it did make things pretty stable back in the day. This coin was minted in a high-relief design, which made things difficult after it expired. It is valued at an astonishing $7.6 million.

1943-S Lincoln Cent

The 1943-S Lincoln Cent is a 3.11-gram bronze coin, another great example of coin mistakes. However, as we’re learning, mistakes are often rather valuable as the years pass. Instead of being struck on a zinc-plated steel planchet, it was struck on bronze.

Image Credits: Heritage Auctions/

It is said that no more than six coins are still around today, making them exceptionally rare. One of the surviving coins was sold at a California auction in February 2016 for $282,000—quite the mark-up from 1 cent. You have a treasure if you’re holding on to this.

1958 Doubled Die Obverse Lincoln Penny

The 1958 Double Die Obverse Lincoln Penny weighs 3.11 grams and is a beautiful coin. It has a double image on it, which, although it was a result of minting errors, makes it a rarity. It is believed that only three of these penny still exist.

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This coin comprises copper, tin, and zinc, and the red color brings more value to it. It was sold for $336,600 at an auction in 2018. However, a recent auction in California received more than a hundred bids, with the final bid amount at a staggering $1,136,250.

1794/5 Flowing Hair Silver/Copper Dollar 

Here we have another Flowing Hair coin. This silver/copper dollar coin sold for an astounding $10 million in 2013. This particular piece of currency is highly valued, even on a list such as this. So, what makes this coin so special?

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Experts say that this pricey coin was likely the first dollar coin ever minted by the US government. While all of the coins on this list are a piece of history, this is arguably the most culturally significant.

1944-S Lincoln Steel Penny

The 1944-S Lincoln Steel Penny was among the multiple coins that were going to be minted in a bronze alloy with 95% copper, with the remaining 5% being tin. But, all three of the mints were used on zinc-steel planchets.

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This minting error was the main reason these coins are now considered one of the rarest and most unique. However, one of the uncirculated Lincoln Steel pennies made it to a Baltimore auction, where it was sold for $373,750.

1787 Brasher Doubloon 

The 1787 Brasher Doubloon coin is a really special one since it symbolizes one of the greatest moments in the USA’s numismatic history. It’s the first gold coin that the USA minted! The most expensive of these coins have the Brasher hallmark initials.

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The initials were indented on the eagle’s breast, and that’s the only coin you’d find that way. This coin was recently placed back on the market, and it’s valued at a whopping $7.4 million. It’s made up of 6% silver, 9% copper, and a blend of other elements; the rest is gold.

1877 Indian Head Penny 

This coin is one of the rarest coins you’d ever come across. The 1877 Indian Head Penny is fully red in color, which is really hard to get. Only around 852,000 of these coins were produced, so you can imagine the rarity.

Image Credits: Heritage Auctions/

During the economic depression, around ten million cents were returned, and around 9.82 million of them were reissued. So, this coin is one of those currencies that has come really far since its initial mintage. In 2007, it was valued at $149,500.

1926-S Lincoln Penny 

The 1926-S Lincoln Penny weighs around 3.11 grams. It was minted in San Francisco, and for reasons unknown, the mintage numbers were pretty low that particular year. In addition to the mysteriously low mintage, the details were poor on both sides.

Image Credits: Heritage Auctions/

But, this particular coin is one of the few coins that were among the freshly minted ones. It was sold for $149,500 at an auction in Orlando in January of 2006. As you can see, this particular penny was in great condition.

1864 Indian Head Penny With ‘L’ on the Ribbon 

Somewhere during the year 1864, the government decided to switch from the copper-nickel mixes to a bronze alloy one. That’s the reason why this coin has copper, tin, and zinc in it. Not only that but there’s also the letter “L” on the ribbon’s tail, if you notice!

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Five million of these coins were minted, but very few were in uncirculated condition. The coin weighs around 3.11 grams. It was sold at a 2011 Pittsburgh auction where a lucky collector took it home after bidding a whopping $161,000.

1914-D Lincoln Penny 

The 1914-D Lincoln pennies have been through a lot and have come really far. These pennies have had very poor survival rates till now because of a high circulation rate. Even the coins that survived aren’t really in great condition.

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Many collectors even faked these pennies by altering the 1944 ones. But, the 1914 D cents are a bit distinguishable from the mint marks and the gap between the digits. One of the uncirculated pennies was sold for $158,625 in 2018.

1913 Liberty Head Nickel 

Behold the 1913 Liberty Head Nickel. It holds the distinction as one of the most valuable coins ever minted. What makes this coin so unique is that only five of these coins made it to the public eye. All other copies were destroyed.

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There has been a lot of talk about a sixth one, but there has been no confirmed report about it yet. The finest 1913 Liberty Nickel Coin had a $5 million valuation and was also sold for that in 2007. In 2018, it was resold at $4.56 million.

1872 Indian Head Penny 

The 1872 Indian Head Penny is another 3.11-gram-weighing coin. It was sold at an auction in Milwaukee in 2007 for a value of $126,500. It is a coin that’s fully red, which is a rarity, and it’s one of the lowest-minted pennies in this series.

Image Credits: Heritage Auctions/

Not only are these coins rare to find these days, but whenever they resurface, they are found in deplorable conditions. But, unlike the other ones, this penny was from a fresh die, and it was found in an amazing condition.

1943 Bronze Lincoln Penny 

The 1943 Bronze Lincoln Penny is a coin weighing 3.11 grams that is copper-red. It’s also one of the most famous coin mistakes of all time. It has copper, tin, and zinc in it. The error was that these coins were mistakenly struck in bronze!

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Its “origin” story sounds like something out of a movie. In 1947, a high school student found this penny in his pocket while looking for spare change. In January 2019, a collector purchased this beautiful coin at an auction for the value of $204,000.

1795 Reeded Edge Cent 

The 1795 Reeded Edge Cent is one of the rarest big cent varieties ever to exist. This coin is considered a rarity because only seven of these are left today, and guess what? All of those coins are low-grade.

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However, the finest of those coins is a VG10 coin that PCGS graded. In 2008, this coin became the first large cent that was valued at more than a million dollars, despite its condition. It was sold for $1.26 million.

1943-D Lincoln Bronze Penny 

The 1943-D Lincoln Bronze penny is a bit different from the other coins since it was made from a bronze alloy and not the usual zinc-plated silver. It’s also the only identified reference of the Lincoln Bronze penny from the Denver Mint.

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But, twenty of these bronze alloy coins were found in the mints in San Francisco and Philadelphia. This coin weighs 3.11 grams, like many others on this list, and in an auction in New Jersey in 2010, it was sold for a surprising $1.7 million.

1856 Flying Eagle Penny 

The 1856 Flying Eagle Penny is simply iconic. It weighs 4.7 grams, and it has been made from a copper-nickel alloy. It’s rare, as it was issued for a brief period. Because of cost problems, the government had to reduce its diameter and add some copper to it with other materials.

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634 of these coins were minted. However, foreign gold and silver pennies were also replaced by these coins. But, these were soon discontinued, and the Indian Head coins took over from there. This coin was sold for $172,500 at an auction in 2004.

1804 Silver Dollar Class I 

Also known as the “King of American Coins,” the 1804 Silver Dollar is a unique and pricey piece. This coin itself was sold for around $4.1 million. Like many other coins on this list, it’s rare, with only 15 of these 1804 Silver Dollar Coins existing.

Image Credits: Heritage Auctions/

The other classes from this coin are also valued similarly. Although these coins were labeled 1804, they were minted after the 1830s! The front of the coin displays Lady Liberty, and the back has a gold eagle with 13 stars.

1909 V.D.B. Matte Proof Lincoln Penny

These coins are among the very first Lincoln coins. In the beginning, the “V.D.B” at the bottom was tagged, although it was removed later. Those are the initials of the designer of the coin. This coin also had a matte-proof die.

Image Credits: Heritage Auctions/

Before the initials of the coin were removed, only around 1,194 coins were produced in this particular manner. This coin was in great condition. It comprises tin, zinc, and copper. It was sold for $258,500 at an auction in 2014.

1343 Edward III Florin 

We have seen coins from the 1700s to the 1800s and the 1900s. But here’s a coin that goes all the way back to 1343. We are talking about the 1343 Edward III Florin coin. Only three of these coins have survived from then till now.

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Now that’s a really long time. During its inception, it was valued at six shillings. Today, it is valued at over $6.8 million, as it was sold for that price at an auction a few years ago. This coin is also called the doubled leopard.

2007 C$1M Coin 

This one is a rare example of a coin whose size matches its worth. You wouldn’t believe it, but the C$1M Coin is a 100kg coin that is made up of 99.999% gold. It’s easily one of the most symbolic coins to this day.

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Although this magnificent coin’s value is worth a million, it was sold for a staggering $4.1 million. It was not supposed to be circulated and was only minted upon request of the Royal Canadian Mint. Unfortunately, one of the copies was stolen in 2017 from the Berlin museum.