The Most Valuable Coins of 2020


Some people imagined that rare coin sales might become a “thing of the past.” Those people were wrong. Very wrong!


In a world where rare digital art is now selling for tens of thousands of dollars, it’s not hard to imagine how valuable rare physical objects can be. In fact, if recent sale history serves as any predictor, then this year might see record-breaking prices. So here are a few of the most valuable coins for 2020, listed in chronological order of the date they were minted.


1884 Morgan


Two Morgan Dollars sold at a Sotheby’s auction for an astonishing $735,000 each. The first was an 1884-S Morgan, which had initially been estimated at a value between $300,000 to $500,000. The other was an 1893-S, nicknamed the “King of the Morgan Dollars.” Both rare coins feature a bust of Liberty facing to the left and were minted at the San Francisco Mint (hence the letter “S”), which was often referred to as the Granite Lady. The rare Morgans were graded by Professional Coin Grading Service (PCGS), which sets the standard in coin grading and authentication.


1885 Proof Silver Trade Dollar


One mysterious sale in 2019 set the coin world ablaze—the 1885 Proof Silver Trade Dollar which fetched $3,960,000…a significant chunk of the $181.3 million in total rare coins sales from Heritage Auctions, aka “America’s Auction House.” The coin, one of only five of its kind, is considered a historical enigma with few details known about its origin and suspicions that it was made secretly. Obviously these don’t come up for sale very often, but when they do it’s guaranteed to make headlines.


1964 Special Mint Set Kennedy Half Dollar


The “King of Kennedy Half Dollars” sold at public auction last year for an eye-popping $108,000. This 1964 coin was minted out of 90% silver, 10% copper. It was from a special mint series in the ‘60’s, using a higher-tonnage press which left an above-average strike. Some enthusiasts have speculated that the sharp strike was done as an experiment. Otherwise the coin appears relatively common-looking, the sort of thing you might expect to see laying around in a dresser at home. But don’t be fooled! There may only be 28 of these exquisite rarities floating around out there, according to PCGS. One previous seller noted that this coin may be among the rarest “modern” coins, and could be expected to increase in value as it ages.


1995 W Proof 70 Deep Cameo Silver Eagle


Silver Eagles have always been popular. The 10th Anniversary American Eagle Proof Set minted in 1995 originally sold for just under $1,000 when it hit the market. It came with four Gold Eagles and one Silver Eagle stamped with a “W.” At the same time, the US Mint also sold a Proof Silver Eagle alone for just $23, stamped with a “P” (for Philadelphia Mint). The rarest ones with the “W” (for West Point Mint) have sold for $15,000 up to $90,000, depending on grade.


Made of 99.93% silver and .007% copper, as of this year, there are only 181 of these amazing proof coins graded by PCGS in a PF70 Deep Cameo (DCAM), a term referring to the contrast between the mirror-like surface of the coin’s surface and the raised imprinted devices which bear a frosty appearance. (Note: the Numismatic Guaranty Corporation uses the term “Ultra Cameo” instead of “Deep Cameo,” as used by PCGS).


2020 American Silver Eagle Bullion Coin


The beautiful one Troy ounce American Silver Eagles have been an annual hot collector’s item since 1986 when they were first released. 2020 marks the final year that the coin will be minted using the classic 1916 Walking Liberty design on the obverse side. The reverse Heraldic Eagle image, crafted by John Mercanti, will also be replaced. Collectors eager to get their hands on this final release are advised to consider which option to purchase.


One proof version has been minted by West Point Mint, currently selling for $64.50. This spring will see the release of an uncirculated or “burnished” version. Later in the year another proof will be struck, this time at the San Francisco Mint. So, three lovely options to choose from! But how this will affect future prices is anybody’s guess. Meanwhile collectors are left to speculate whether the Mint has any other plans for additional surprise announcements before it launches into its 2021 offerings. All things considered, this isn’t a valuable coin “yet,” but its future certainly looks bright!

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