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The most prestigious American coins

The geographical origin of a coin is of primary importance in its numismatic value. The United States is no exception and American coins are highly valued by collectors. The prices of some of them are very high, sometimes reaching fortunes. What are the most prestigious and expensive American coins in the world?

Twenty dollar Double Eagle, 1933

Twenty-dollar gold coins were minted in the United States during the first half of the 20th century, from 1907 to 1933. In the latter year, U.S. President Roosevelt decided to stop minting gold coins and ordered all Americans to turn in their gold coins to the government to be melted down, under the penalty of illegality.

Some coins still escaped the melting process. While most of the coins that have turned up have been confiscated by the American secret service, this is not the case for a Double Eagle, dated 1933, which entered the collection of King Farouk. This twenty-dollar Double Eagle coin is now the only one in the world that can be legally owned, following a long legal battle, which had issued a certificate of authenticity to its former owner, the collector Stuart Weitzman.

This coin has become the most expensive in the world. It was sold for 16.2 million euros in June 2021, in New York, by the auction house Sotheby’s.

The American sculptor Augustus Saint-Gaudens had depicted a woman embodying freedom on the obverse and an eagle spreading its wings on the reverse. Considered one of the last gold coins struck by the United States Mint, it was never put into circulation. This explains its exceptional condition.

vingt dollars double eagle
Vingt dollars Double Eagle, 1933 ©flickr

One Flowing Hair dollar, 1794

This coin was minted in 1794. This U.S. dollar is called the Flowing Hair, because a young woman, with her hair blowing in the wind, is engraved on its obverse as a symbol of freedom.

The Flowing Hair dollar is considered one of the most prestigious American coins for its unique history. Indeed, it is the first silver dollar minted by the U.S. Bank. Although the United States Mint was established in 1792, it began only by minting copper coins and assays. It was not until 1794 that the first silver dollar was struck.

The Flowing Hair dollar is the second most expensive coin in the world after the Double Eagle. This example was sold at auction in January 2013 for $8.5 million. It has never circulated and has been preserved for 200 years in its original condition, hence its spectacular quality.

Other 1794 one dollar coins are sought after around the world by numismatists. For example, another specimen, the Flowing Hair named Lord Oswald-Hayes-Pogue was auctioned in 2014 in New York for nearly $5 million.

dollar flowing hair
Dollar Flowing Hair, 1794 ©flickr

Brasher Doubloon, 1787

The Brasher Doubloon is, without a doubt, among the most incredible American coins. It was named after its creator and New York coiner, Ephraim Brasher.

It dates back to 1787. At that time, the American bank was not yet in service and private companies were responsible for minting coins.

Today, only seven examples of this extraordinary gold coin are known. Six of them have the initials of the maker, EB, on the eagles. Only one has the initials of the goldsmith on the chest. In December 2011, the latter was sold by Blanchard and Company, to a private collector, for 5,682,040 million. In March 2019, a Newlin-Davis specimen with the EB on the chest was sold for $5.5 million by Heritage Auctions. The last record sale was in January 2021. A Brasher Doubloon sold for 8 million at a Dallas auction.

Liberty Head nickel, 1913

This American coin is one of the most fascinating in the world, as it is worth millions of euros and yet is not made of a noble material. Made of nickel, it has a very small face value of five cents and was sold, nearly 4 million euros in 2018, at an auction in Philadelphia.

These Liberty Head nickels were minted in 1913. There are only five examples in the world hence its colossal numismatic value. One is nicknamed Elisaberg after its former owner, the collector of the same name. Another specimen, called Hawaii Five-O, was filmed in an episode of the American television series Hawaii State Police in the 1970s, a double star, in short.

Cinq cents Liberty Head, ©flickr

A Bust Dollar, 1804

This dollar is famous because it was minted in the United States in 1834, while the date on it is 1804. These coins were, in fact, diplomatic gifts that were struck for sovereigns, such as the King of Siam or the Japanese Emperor. Since there was no 1804 dollar, the U.S. Mint chose that year to strike coins in Belle Epreuve quality to honor political figures. Today, only fifteen examples are known.

Numismatists have classified these fifteen specimens according to their condition. There are three classes: class I or original, class II or first restrike and class III or second restrike.

Some examples of class I are the Dexter-Pogue, the Sultan of Muscat-Watters-Brand-Childs-Pogue, the Mickley-Hawn-Queller or a Watters-Childs dollar.

dollar bust
Dollar, 1804, classe III ©flickr

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Sources :
Le Figaro

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