Our “Top-100” coins listed for sale are simply the best of the best of the best rare U.S. coins available in the marketplace.  They are, quite literally, ”The Coins of Which Dreams Are Made.”  Top-100 coins are the greatest US rare coins to buy and own in the view of an esteemed panel of top numismatists and significant market-makers.  If you desire to own one of the best rarity portfolios money can buy, you simply have to acquire as many of these coins as your acquisition budget can afford.  Monaco believes the coins listed for sale here are the types of legendary coins that are unsurpassed by any segment of the rare coin marketplace.  Scroll through our current inventory list, and also discuss ‘secret‘ unlisted coins with your Monaco Account Representative. Read further to learn more about the monumental numismatic significance of these amazing numismatic celebrities.

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Top 100 Greatest Coins

When the bestselling book, 100 Greatest U.S. Coins, was first published in 2003, it immediately caught the attention both coin collectors and investors alike.  This popular book is now in its Fourth Edition, and it answers the all-important question of which coins should be included in a numismatic portfolio for maximum enjoyment and return on investment.

Over the years, collectors have been hunting down these widely popular specimens whenever they become available in the marketplace.  Ownership of even one or two of these coins is impressive and sure to be recognized.  Purchasing just ten of the Top-100 coins would place the owner in the top echelons of rare coin collecting.

Monaco has sought out many of these rarities and has made them available for sale to discerning collectors.  We recommend buying the Top-100 U.S. coins to those collectors and investors who demand the highest standards of quality and the ability to own the finest and most historically significant monetary art.
Adam Crum
“For those who feel they have limited numismatic knowledge, yet desire to acquire the best coins for their collections or hard asset investments, the book, 100 Greatest U.S. Coins, is a tremendous resource.

In essence, the guesswork of choosing the right coins to acquire has been eliminated by a long list of experienced numismatic experts who collaborated to pick which coins are, without a doubt, the greatest of their era. While the list of coins that didn’t make the cut is long, this great series of books is a fun and valuable resource for both the collector and investor seeking the very best the market has to offer.”

Adam Crum
Vice President, Monaco Rare Coins

The 100 Greatest U.S. Coins Book

100 Greatest U.S. Coins is an award-winning numismatic book, first published by Whitman Publishing in 2003.  Now in its fourth edition, it is one of the most popular publications in the rare coin marketplace.

100 Greatest U.S Coins

The authors surveyed members of the Professional Numismatists Guild (PNG) asking the question, “Which are the greatest U.S. coins?”  Each one of the “100 Greatest U.S. Coins” in this book was voted into place by leading coin dealers, researchers and historians.

The PNG, founded in 1955, is one of the leading numismatic societies in the United States.  Initially, membership in the PNG was by invitation only.  Today, coin dealers may apply to join but must demonstrate that he or she brings expertise to the society, and must be elected by a majority of members.

The interesting results of the PNG survey is presented, in order, in this fantasy “Registry Set” of the greatest American coins ever minted. Several of the coins are unique and can only be found in the National Numismatic Collection at the Smithsonian Institution or in other private or institutional collections.

The following information will discuss the Top-100 coins and what makes these coins the greatest examples known in the entire panorama of U.S. coins.  Monaco Rare Coins has sought out many of these rare specimens and has made them available for sale to our customers.  We recommend these Top-100 greatest U.S. coins to buy when they become available, as their popularity, rarity and historical significance will always be in demand and of great value to the marketplace.

What Makes A Great Coin Great?

Each of the coins listed as the ”100 Greatest U.S. Coins” has one or more of the following characteristics:

  • Rarity
  • Value
  • Quality
  • Popularity
  • Beauty
  • History

Rarity

Understanding true rarity is key to successful collecting, and only comes from years of experience in numismatics.  A great rare coin is in high demand due to small mintages, or limited numbers of survivors.

Value

Great coins undoubtedly show superiority through their market demand and value; however, the spectrum for rare coins can run from the thousands of dollars to the millions of dollars each.

Quality

The vast majority of great coins are in excellent condition, but high quality does not always mean perfection. Standardized coin grading from the two top-tier certified graders (PCGS & NGC) takes guesswork and personal opinions out of the equation.

Popularity

Great coins have mass appeal and are appreciated by a large audience of collectors.  Not every coin has to be rare and valuable to be considered “Great.”  Some coins that have won the “Popularity Contest” have made the grade to become “Great.”

Beauty

The aesthetics involved in a coin’s greatness are apparent; they are very pleasing to the eye.  The intricacy of design, color and overall beauty determine value and appeal for collectors and investors alike.

History

Great coins have great stories tied to them.  Moments of history are preserved in unique, tangible coins you can hold in your hands.  Rare coins with fine pedigrees historically lead the market in price appreciation over time.

55 Years of Rising Price History

The most remarkable results of this 55-year pricing history is that these same 100 greatest U.S. coins that were valued at approximately $860,000 in 1960 increased in value to over $170 Million by 2015.  Combined, that’s an astounding 19,752% increase in 55 years, or a 359% average gain per year!

Price History of The 100 Greatest U.S. Coins

  • 1960 = $860,700
  • 1980 = $11,261,150
  • 1st Edition: 2003 = $66,135,000
  • 2nd Edition: 2005 = $90,935,500
  • 3rd Edition: 2008 = $140,073,250
  • 4th Edition: 2015 = $170,867,750
100 Greatest Coins Index

Source: 100 Greatest U.S. Coins, Fourth Edition, Whitman Publishing

What The Experts Say

Kenneth Bressett, Numismatic Author

Kenneth Bressett, Numismatic Author

Ownership of even one or two of these coins would be an impressive accomplishment and should be recognized. Registering just ten of the top 100 coins would place the owner in the top echelons of rare coin collecting.

1955 Doubled-Die obverse cent

The 100 Greatest U.S. Coin #74, the 1955 Doubled-Die obverse cent

Kenneth Bressett, longtime senior editor of the Guide Book of United States Coins, has seen many of the 100 greatest coins available to collectors today.

“Not all of the 100 greatest U.S. coins are unique specimens confined to one collection. A lucky numismatist could potentially find a 1955 Doubled Die Obverse Lincoln cent in their pocket any day!”

Mark Salzberg, NGC Chairman

Mark Salzberg, NGC Chairman

Mark Salzberg, chairman of Numismatic Guaranty Corporation (NGC), notes that even though the 100 greatest U.S. coins are valuable, they’re undervalued in the broader context of rare collectibles.

“The 250 highest prices paid for U.S. coins at auction total just less than $250 million in value,” Salzberg writes. “In context, that is a bit less than the sales price of the most valuable painting ever sold, Paul Cezanne’s The Card Players.”

Historical Pieces of Monetary Art

A significant number of the most valuable coins in the world are classic U.S. coins, and almost all of those coins are listed in the book, 100 Greatest U.S. Coins.

Many of these coins are available today to those who appreciate the combination of history and art as a collectable investment.  These coins can be purchased in a wide range of budgets, accessible to anyone who wishes to own a piece of history.  Much like art, coins are priced for their unique and individual merits, and like great masterworks of art, regardless of interests, these coins will never go out of fashion.

The following coins are a few select specimens that are obtainable for serious collectors:
Benjamin Franklin

1787 Fugio Cent – The First United States Coin

The Fugio Cent was the first official cent of the United States that was authorized by Congress to be minted by our young nation after winning the Revolutionary War.

Designed by Benjamin Franklin, this first U.S. issued coin is certainly a significant issue, yet still plentiful enough in the marketplace to be reasonably priced and attainable by collectors.

The first official U.S. cent

The first official U.S. cent was designed by Benjamin Franklin.

On April 21, 1787, the Congress of the Confederation of the United States authorized a design for an official copper penny, later referred to as the Fugio cent because of its image of the sun shining down on a sundial with the caption, “Fugio” (Latin: I fly).  Benjamin Franklin also put a message, “Mind Your Business,” at the bottom of the coin. The image and the words together form a rebus meaning “time flies, do your work.”

The reverse side bore the third motto, “We Are One,” surrounded by thirteen chain links, representing the original thirteen colonial states coming together as a young nation.

As one of the 100 Greatest United States Coins, it has the pedigree and popularity required to warrant a spot in ANY great collection of Americana.  Certainly popularity is a key factor in upward price pressure; then add the historically significant aspects of this issue and you have a crowning acquisition for any collection.

Acquiring this wonderful coin will inspire you to discover the history, intrigue, die varieties and the reasons for Franklin’s sayings and designs that adorn this wonderful piece of American history.

1861 Philadelphia Paquet Reverse

The “Paquet Reverse” Double Eagle was originally thought to be an experimental pattern coin designed by U.S. Mint Assistant Engraver Anthony Paquet.  He was known for his unique font style that had more of a compact appearance, leaving more space between words.

Paquet used this font on his 1860 patterns. The font style was subsequently approved in late 1860 for use on the regular issue Coronet Double Eagles. The dies were shipped to the New Orleans and San Francisco branch mints, and production began in Philadelphia in January 1861.

The U.S. Mint Director, James Ross Snowden, quickly determined the new Paquet Reverse was unsuitable for high-speed production and ordered the entire initial run at the Philadelphia Mint to be melted.  Only two examples from the Philadelphia Mint are known to remain, although a third is rumored to exist.

The New Orleans Mint did not strike any 1861-O Paquet Double Eagles, having received a telegraph message to halt production before it began.  However, San Francisco minted 19,250 coins that were released into general circulation because the telegraph went only as far as St. Joseph Missouri which delayed the message delivery.

Just two Philadelphia examples are positively known today after over 155 years.  One of these is a Superb Gem and the other is lightly flawed, but both pieces represent one of the most important issues in the entire scope of U.S. numismatic history.

1861‐P “Paquet Reverse”

One of the two known 1861‐P “Paquet Reverse”

1854-O $20 Liberty

NGC AU58 coin from the S.S. Republic shipwreck

This NGC AU58 coin from the S.S. Republic shipwreck is the finest known

The 1854-O Double Eagle is considered a hallmark of a truly great collection of New Orleans coinage and is one of the greatest rarities of the Liberty Head series.

The 1854-O has a very low mintage of only 3,250 pieces and most of these Double Eagles were probably placed into circulation, as there are no known in mint state condition.  There is an estimate of only 25-35 coins known to survive today, with the finest certified examples in AU58 grade.

Between 1854 and 1861, New Orleans Double Eagles were minted in very low numbers because of shifting mint priorities like extensive building repairs and equipment modifications, which undoubtedly led to production delays. Then, in 1861, the New Orleans Mint was seized by the Confederacy and all coinage production ceased.

In 1849, the New Orleans Mint was the closest mint to the California gold fields, both by land and sea routes. So when the San Francisco Mint opened in 1854, the long, arduous and dangerous journey to New Orleans could be avoided, accounting for the low mintage of Double Eagles during this period.

The SS Republic shipwreck treasure discovery revealed an outstanding AU58 specimen of the 1854-O Double Eagle, the finest known today.

The chance to acquire an 1854-O Double Eagle in any grade is an epic opportunity to be considered by the serious collector.  The availability in any grade should give the advanced collector pause to consider the overall and conditional rarity of this extraordinarily rare U.S. coin.

Choosing the 100 Greatest U.S. Coins

The problem with picking the 100 greatest coins to own is that there are too many great U.S. coins to choose from!  Regardless of what the ranking, all of these coins are truly the greatest coins minted by the United States of America over the last 224 years.

These coins are considered “Generational Coins,” and have survived for many generations before the advent of grading.  Today, they are certified and protected for long-term possession in sonically sealed, scratch-resistant holders, which guarantee the grade and authenticity of these historically significant icons of Americana.