Unique antique coins are sold for millions of times their face value. The cost of the metal or alloy from which they are made does not matter in such situations – the rarity of antique means of payment, their cultural and historical significance come to the fore. We present to your attention the five most famous and expensive coins from around the world.
The five most famous and expensive coins: Australian penny
The Mint of the city of Melbourne issued only 6 such pennies in 1930, and they did not enter into circulation, therefore they were well preserved. The base is silver, a thin layer of copper is applied to the surface. Museum employees are happy – copper coating protects rarities from the harmful effects of time, connoisseurs of the beauty of antiques complain – copper makes pennies not very attractive.
Three copies of the coin are now in private collections of numismatists, the fourth is in the British Museum in London, the fifth is in the Australian Art Gallery in Adelaide. The fate of the sixth penny is interesting: in 2005, the rarity went under the hammer at a specialized numismatic auction for an impressive $515,000.
A curious feature of this silver coin, issued in the USA in 1834, is that the year 1804 is engraved on it. The obverse of the legal tender adorns the profile of Anna Willing Bingham, who was considered the most beautiful woman in America, the reverse is the image of a proud bald eagle. For some time, the silver dollar was owned by the king of Siam, which markedly increased its price. Another owner of the rarity, David Queller, sold it along with other pearls of his collection – the price of $3,737,500 was fixed in the transaction.
Made in the USA in 1787. It is traditionally called gold, although, as studies have shown, it contains only 0.917 g of pure gold. And has a face value of 15 dollars. It got its name due to the fact that it weighed the same as the Spanish doubloons – 26.6 g, and the jeweler Efrem Brasher became its creator. The engraver immortalized his name – he minted on the chest of the eagle that adorns the obverse, the initials EB.
The reverse looks no less impressive – it engraved with a magnificent landscape, where the sun illuminates the mountain ridge, and at the foot of the mountain the sea waves calmly splash. At one of the auctions, Brasher’s doubloon was sold for an impressive $2,990,000. This amount, however, did not become a record for the rarity. In 2011, he again went under the hammer – an anonymous collector purchased an antique for an impressive $ 7,400,000.
“Double Eagle” Saint-Gaudens
One of the measures to overcome the Great Depression in the United States was the introduction of the gold standard. Within its framework, $20 gold coins were minted, the design of which was developed by the sculptor Saint-Gaudens. The means of payment was named after him. 445,000 units were minted – and in 1933 Roosevelt abolished the gold standard, and their production was stopped, after which the authorities began to buy them at an increased price. Mint employees, risking their freedom, kept a few “double eagles”.
Later, the American intelligence services, after a long shadowing, nevertheless seized them – except for a single copy, which replenished the numismatic collection of Stephen Fenton. The twenty dollar gold coin looks truly magnificent. One side of it is decorated with a woman in antique robes, symbolizing freedom. In her left hand is an olive branch, in her left is a burning torch. On the other side, an eagle flaunts, holding arrows and an olive branch in its paws. In 2002, a collector who wished to remain anonymous bought the creation of Saint-Gaudens for a whopping $7,590,020.
This small silver $1 coin, issued in 1794, today has the status of one of the most famous and expensive means of payment. Its special value lies in the fact that it became the first calculating instrument in the United States made of silver. The obverse adorns the profile of a woman with flowing hair, symbolizing freedom; a bald eagle flaunts on the reverse. Only 200 copies of 1794 have survived to this day. One of them was sold relatively recently for a truly gigantic sum – $ 10 million.