On May 21, 1996, the Eliasberg specimen of the 1913 Liberty nickel sold at auction for $1,485,000, becoming the first United States coin to sell for more than a million dollars. Interestingly, a 1913 Liberty nickel was also the first United States coin to sell for $100,000 when Abe Kosoff sold the Olsen-Farouk-Hydeman specimen to John Hamrick of World-Wide Coin Investments for $100,000 in 1972.
Today, we estimate that there are 235 United States coins that have sold or would sell for $1,000,000 or more at auction. There are 101 individual coin issues and 235 individual coins that now make up the Million Dollar Coin Club. Our estimate for the total current value of these 235 United States coin rarities is $528,600,000!
In January, 2010 we created a listing of the Million Dollar Coin Club coins for your benefit and enjoyment. This is the updated version of the Million Dollar Coin Club as of January, 2011. While not quite as thrilling as actual ownership, reading about and discussing these great numismatic treasures is a pleasure for all serious coin aficionados. We certainly had a lot of fun putting this list together. On the PCGS CoinFacts website (pcgs.com/coinfacts), you will find images, rarity analysis, condition census and pedigrees, auction price histories, and lengthy expert narratives for all the “members” of the PCGS Million Dollar Coin Club.
Pricing the most valuable coins in the world is of course subjective. Most of these ultra rarities are sold very infrequently and some have never been sold. We have asked five of the world’s top rare coin experts to be our pricing consultants for the Million Dollar Coin Club (David Hall, Kevin Lipton, Greg Rohan, Jim Halperin and Laura Sperber). We averaged their pricing input and came up with the 235 coins these experts say rightly belong in the Million Dollar Coin Club.
Note that while we are providing pedigree, grade and pricing history information that we believe to be correct, this is a work in progress and we will update and correct the information as is appropriate. If you see any “mistakes” or have something to add or suggest, please contact us.
Also note that the pricing is very subjective and while we have used the best experts in the world to help us price these ultra rarities, our prices are just guestimates. So if you own a MDCC coin and think our price is too low, please don’t get mad at us, just contact us and give us your views and suggestions. These coins are the great rarities of U.S. numismatics and this is a group of coins that is open for discussion. And if we’ve made condition census mistakes, please let us know so we can correct them online and in future published editions of the PCGS Million Dollar Coin Club listings.
Even the groupings of the coins are open to discussion. For example, there are two types of Brasher Doubloons; one has the “EB” stamped on the breast of the eagle and one has the “EB” stamped on the wing. We have listed these two types of Brasher Doubloons as one “coin issue.” This same approach was used for the 1804 Class I, II and III silver dollars, the four variations of the 1907 Extremely High Relief $20 Saint-Gaudens, and other coins. But for certain coins, such as the two 1877 $50 gold patterns and the 1793 Chain cent “AMERI” and “Periods” varieties, we have listed the coins as separate “coin issues.” We used our best judgment as to what seemed to make the most sense in these “grey areas.”
Even the categories are subject to discussion. For example, we have included the $4 Stellas in the regular issue section even though they are technically patterns, because they have always been thought of as part of the type set of U.S. gold coins.
The condition of the Million Dollar Coin Club coins is a really important factor for many of the coins because their grade is a major component of their value. For some of the ultra rarities, such as the 1849 $20, condition isn’t so important. We have listed the “PCGS grade” for those coins that have been graded by the Professional Coin Grading Service. For coins that have not been graded by PCGS, we list an “estimated grade,” and it’s just that…an estimate. We have included the “PCGS coin #” which will make it easy for you to find more information about these coins on the PCGS CoinFacts website.
PCGS will be updating the prices and information on the Million Dollar Coin Club coins on an annual basis. And we would expect that new “members” will be added and maybe a few coins will fall out of the million dollar category from time to time. This is the January 2011 edition of the PCGS Million Dollar Coin Club. The next edition will appear in January 2012. In the meantime, have fun reading about the rarest of the rare…the PCGS Million Dollar Coin Club coins.
There are 235 United States coins that have sold, or would sell, for a million dollars or more, as of January, 2011. Of the 235 Million Dollar Coin Club coins, 193 are privately held. There are 42 coins that are permanently impounded in museums, most of them in the National Numismatic Collection at the Smithsonian Institution in Washington, D.C. For regular United States Mint issues, there are 64 separate issues and 173 individual coins, 145 of them privately held. For Colonials (early American issues) there are 12 separate issues and 20 individual coins, 16 of them privately held. For Territorial gold, there are four issues and four individual coins, three of which are privately held. For United States Mint pattern coins, there are 21 separate issues and 38 individual coins, 29 held privately.