6 Rarest Dollar Coins in the United States

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If you’re an avid collector of things like stamps or baseball cards, you might also be interested in the world of rare dollar coins, especially when you consider how much you can get for something that can be found inside a couch, at the bottom of your purse, or under your car seat.

Old and rare coins are always in high demand and can fetch upwards of $10 million or more. Dealers, collectors and garden-variety enthusiasts are always on the lookout for that special coin that could make the difference between struggling to make ends meet and living the high life.

This list of rare dollar coins is based on rarity and realized price, meaning the value according to the last time it was sold. After checking these beauties out, we bet that you’ll go scrambling to see if you have one of these hidden away somewhere in a piggy bank. Probably not, but it never hurts to check, right?

 

6. 1866 Proof Liberty Seated Dollar

Is it for sale?: No

Year: 1866

  Material: Silver

  Country/Currency: U.S. Dollar

Estimated value: $1,207,500

image via pcgs

In 1866, the U.S. Mint forged 725 Proof Liberty Seated silver dollars that were stamped with the motto “In God We Trust” on the reverse side, but when this coin was forged by Mint workers sometime between 1869 to 1870 for collector and Pharmacist Robert Coulton Davis, they used archived dies which did not have the motto.

It was said that these workers received Opium for their work from Davis, who requested the minting. Two known specimens exist without the motto, one of which is housed in a museum. One was owned by the Du Pont family and was stolen during a heist in 1967. Recently recovered, it was finally donated to the National Numismatic Collection of the Smithsonian Institution.


5. 1776 Silver Continental Dollar (Eric P. Newman Specimen)

Is it for sale?: No

Year: 1776

  Material: Silver

  Country/Currency: U.S. Dollar

Estimated value:$1.41 million 

image via heritage auctions

It wasn’t long after the new United States Congress signed the Declaration of Independence until they celebrated America’s freedom by forging the country’s first true currency. Benjamin Franklin is believed to be the designer, with an amusing motif that includes the words “Fugio” for time flies and “Mind your business” with 13 interlocking rings on the reverse side that represent the colonies.

The 1776 Silver Continental Dollar was struck in pewter, along with the forging of silver specimens, considered to be very rare. The Eric P. Newman specimen was sold for $1.4 million, cataloged as the finest of 4 known silver examples.


4. 1870 S Liberty Seated Dollar

Is it for sale?: Yes

Year: 1870

  Material: Silver

  Country/Currency: U.S. Dollar

Estimated value: 1,959,995

image via usacoinbook

Pretty much anything minted in 1870 is a collector’s item, especially if it was created in San Francisco, which explains the “S” in its title. Only a few coins were produced the same year that the construction of the San Francisco Mint began, and this silver dollar can fetch about $2,059,861 or more in uncirculated mint condition.

Even in poor condition, the 1870 S Liberty Seated Dollar is still worth over $177,000 and the coins produced from the San Francisco mint are the most valuable. Extremely rare, this silver dollar is one of only 15 known specimens in existence, so if you find one with an “S” under the Eagle on the reverse side of the coin, consider yourself insanely lucky.


3. 1804 Bust Dollar – Class I (Dexter-Pogue Specimen)

Is it for sale?: No

Year: 1804

  Material: Silver

  Country/Currency: U.S. Dollar

Estimated value:$3,865,750

image via stacksbowers

The King of American coins appears twice in this list, but this time it’s the Dexter-Pogue Specimen, which has an interesting history of its own. One of the 8 “Class I” originals, it was struck in 1834 as part of a request from the Government for special coin sets to be used for diplomatic purposes.

A wealthy Numismatist (coin collector) named James V. Dexter owned this silver dollar for 14 years at the end of the 1800’s, which had a “D” punched into a cloud on the reverse side of the coin. Experts believe that the “D” was punched by William Forrester Dunham, who was a collector from Chicago. He owned the coin longer than anyone else in its history.


2. 1804 Silver Dollar – Class I (The Watters-Childs Specimen)

Is it for sale?: No

Year: 1804

  Material: Silver

  Country/Currency: U.S. Dollar

Estimated value:$4,140,000

image via coinfacts.com from Bowers and Merena

1804 was a good year for the U.S. silver dollar, although these weren’t actually forged until the 1830’s, making it one of the most important years for coin collectors seeking specimens such as this. The Class I 1804 silver dollar known as the Watters-Child specimen is also called the “King of American coins” due to it being the finest known example.

Originally owned by the Sultan of Muscat in 1835, it is one of only fifteen known 1804 silver dollars in existence in the world, worth over a million dollars each. Whether for historical or monetary value, this coin is fascinating for many reasons, not to mention the many prestigious hands it has passed through.


1. 1794 Flowing Hair Silver Dollar

Is it for sale?: Yes, Grade Fine-12 is worth approximately $150,000

Year: 1794

  Material: Silver

  Country/Currency: U.S. Dollar

Estimated value:$10,016,875

image via National Numismatic Collection

The first official dollar coins produced by the U.S. Mint were made in 1794, when the mint was first established. Produced in small quantities, only approximately 150 of the 1794 Flowing Hair silver dollar specimens are in existence today, depicting Liberty with long, flowing hair on one side of the coin.

This specimen was the first American dollar coin before paper dollars were made, which started the silver dollar tradition. Specimen-66 was sold for more than $10 million in 2013, so if you find one, make sure you get it certified by a reputable 3rd party coin authentication company, due to issues with counterfeiting. Even though there were a number of these initially minted, its prestige and the value and rarity of Specimen-66 make this the rarest US dollar coin.


Hopefully the collectors and novice enthusiasts out there have enjoyed this list of rare dollar coins, which come with their own unique stories and backgrounds that are steeped in American history. Maybe one day you’ll come across one of your own, whether under the sofa cushions, through an inheritance, or maybe just a little luck.

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