9 Of The Rarest Coins Collectors Go Gaga Over

Photo of author

By Joshua

Even though many coin collectors can’t afford to purchase rare coins, numismatists of every budget still like to know which are the rarest coins.

Of course, like so many things, rarity is a matter of relativity.

In certain cases, many coins that collectors consider rare are, in absolute numbers, rather plentiful.

Even certain coins that have been minted well into the thousands are still considered rare because there simply are nowhere nearly enough coins of certain dates available to satisfy all coin collectors’ demands!

While there are simply too many different kinds of rare coins to consider here, let’s look at 9 of the rarest coins many coin collectors love to chase after.

The Top 9 Rarest U.S. Coins

Again, there are many, many different types of coins that collectors, numismatists, and others consider rare.

But let’s look at 9 of the most popular rare coins that are always in demand…

1909-S VDB Lincoln Cent

Perhaps the one coin both coin collectors and non-collectors know a lot about is the 1909-S VDB Lincoln cent.

While 484,000 were made (and thus, there really are many of these coins around), there are simply way too many more people who want this coin than there are remaining specimens.

Values have risen considerably in recent years.

It has now gotten to the point where you can expect to spend at least $1,000 for even a very worn example that hasn’t been cleaned or damaged.

Uncirculated specimens are worth around $2,000 to $3,000 and up. 

People will shell out hundreds of dollars even for corroded examples of this famous coin!

1943 Bronze Lincoln Cent

The U.S. was making steel pennies in 1943 to save copper for the war effort.

But… the U.S. mint apparently still had some copper coin blanks on hand when they accidentally minted about 40 bronze examples of the 1943 cent.

The 1943 bronze cent has shown up in circulation on extremely rare occasions over the decades.

All examples are extremely valuable, bringing in around $100,000 or more in recent years.

1913 Liberty Nickel

While not a regular-issue coin, the 1913 Liberty nickel is the stuff of some coin collectors’ dreams.

Just 5 of these coins were made, and on the rare occasion that they happen to go to auction, they draw big-time attention and sell for ever-increasing amounts.

One 1913 Liberty nickel recently sold for $3.7 million!

1916-D Mercury Dime

The 1916-D Mercury dime is a rarity along the same lines as the 1909-S VDB Lincoln cent.

This is a key issue for collectors of the series.

There were 264,000 1916-D Mercury dimes made.

There simply aren’t enough 1916-D Mercury dimes to go to all the coin collectors who want them!

Buying a 1916-D Mercury dime means paying at least $1,000 (more or less) for an example that’s well worn but not damaged.

1901-S Barber Quarter

The 1901-S Barber quarter has long been a sought-after coin for collectors.

However, this one eludes many collectors due to its high price and relatively low mintage — only 72,664 were made.

Values range between $5,000 and $20,000 for well to moderately circulated examples.

1916 Standing Liberty Quarter

The 1916 Standing Liberty quarter is popular for many reasons.

For one, this coin had a very low mintage of just 52,000.

Also, 1916 was the first year of the Standing Liberty design.

This coin is also popular because its design reveals a bare-breasted Miss Liberty.

In 1917, the U.S. Mint provided Miss Liberty a mail that covers her front and also a redesigned reverse that changes the placement of the stars around the flying eagle.

Values for the 1916 Standing Liberty quarter range from $3,000 to $5,000 for low-grade examples that are uncleaned and undamaged.

1804 Bust Silver Dollar

OK, if you want to hear about what’s considered the most popular of all rare coins perhaps in all the world… then you need to hear more about the 1804 Bust dollar.

Considering both originals and U.S. Mint-made restrikes, only 15 examples were made.

It’s believed the 1804 Bust dollar was actually made during the mid-1830s — they were included in special presentation proof sets.

If you want an 1804 Bust dollar for your coin collection, you’ll need to have some cash on hand, because you’ll have to spend well over a million dollars to get one! 

In fact one sold at auction in 1999 for $4.1 million.

1893-S Morgan Dollar

Though not worth millions like the 1804 dollar we just discussed, the 1893-S Morgan dollar isn’t any slouch!

Only 100,000 were made, and putting one of these coins in your collection may mean saving up some funds for awhile first.

The 1893-S Morgan dollar costs over $7,000 in grades of Very Fine.

Get ready to spend over $100,000 if you want an example in nice uncirculated examples.

1933 Double Eagle

OK, we’re saving the most-expensive of the 9 coins here for last.

The 1933 Double Eagle gold coin is not only a rare coin, but it belongs to a series that’s widely considered among the most beautiful coins in the world.

The Saint-Gaudens double eagle, named for its designer (Augustus Saint-Gaudens), was produced from 1907 through 1933.

During the last year, 445,000 were made but virtually all were melted by the U.S. Mint.

Only 13 of these coins are known to exist, but just one of these has been sold at auction. It was bought for a cool $7.5 million at auction in 2002.