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What is the rarest U.S. Mint coin?

The United States Mint has produced many rare and valuable coins over the years. Some of the rarest and most expensive U.S. coins were minted in the early years of the country and in small numbers, making them highly prized by collectors today.

Early American Rarities

Some of the rarest early American coins are the ones minted in the late 1700s and early 1800s when the U.S. Mint was still young. These include:

1792 Half Disme

The 1792 half disme is considered the very first coin minted under the authority of the U.S. federal government. Only about 2,000 were minted at the time. There are less than 300 known examples surviving today, making the 1792 half disme extremely rare and valuable. In 2021, one sold at auction for over $1.6 million.

1804 Silver Dollar

The 1804 silver dollar is one of the most famous rare coins in American numismatics. Though dated 1804, none were actually minted that year. In the 1830s and 1850s, a few were produced as special struck proof coins for diplomatic gifts. Only 15 are known to exist, with the last one selling in 2021 for over $7.6 million.

1838-O Half Dollar

The 1838-O half dollar has the lowest mintage of any half dollar, with just 20,000 struck at the New Orleans Mint. Of those, there are less than 10 surviving examples known today. One in a grade of AU-58 sold in 2018 for $504,000.

Low Mintage Rarities

Some other exceptionally rare U.S. coins are ones that had very low original mintages, meaning not many were produced initially. These low mintage coins include:

1870-S Three Dollar Gold Piece

The 1870-S three dollar gold piece had a tiny original mintage of just 1,000 coins. Only three pieces are known to have survived. One sold in 1982 for $687,500 and another more recently in 2004 for $1.15 million.

1894-S Dime

The San Francisco Mint produced just 24 1894-S dimes, making it one of the lowest mintage coins. Nine are confirmed to still exist. An example graded MS-66 sold in 2016 for $2 million.

1913 Liberty Head Nickel

Only five 1913 Liberty Head nickels were ever produced, as that design was already being phased out. Those five rare coins have traded hands over the years for big money, including one that sold for $4.5 million in 2013.

Condition Rarities

For some otherwise normal coins, what makes certain pieces extremely rare is their exceptional state of preservation, referred to as their condition or grade. Some of the top condition rarities include:

1793 Chain Cent

From the first year of large cent production, the 1793 chain cent in top graded condition is highly sought after. In MS-66 BN grade, an example sold in 2013 for $998,750.

1804 Draped Bust Dollar

While any 1804 silver dollar is rare, one specimen is the sole PR-68 example, making it the finest known of this key rarity. It last sold in 1999 for $4.14 million.

1877 Indian Head Cent

With so few surviving in true mint condition, an 1877 Indian Head cent graded MS-65 RD sold at auction in 2008 for $690,000.

Modern Rarities

Even some modern U.S. coins can be considered great rarities based on extremely low mintages, special striking errors, or condition.

2000-P Sacagawea Dollar Mule

A few experimental Sacagawea dollars were minted in 2000 with the reverse of a state quarter by mistake. These mule errors were never released to the public officially. Only 12 are known, with one selling for $185,000 in 2014.

1975 No-S Roosevelt Dime

In 1975 some dimes were mistakenly minted in San Francisco without the S mintmark. Only two or three confirmed specimens remain, making it a prized modern error coin.

1993-P Jefferson Nickel

Though over 12 million were struck, the 1993-P Jefferson nickel is exceptionally rare in high mint grades. Few exist above MS-67. One MS-68 example sold for over $50,000 in 2018.

Most Valuable U.S. Coins

Taking into account all the factors that contribute to rarity and value, here are some of the highest valued and rarest official U.S. coins:

Coin Grade Sale Price
1933 Saint Gaudens Double Eagle MS-65 $7.6 million (2021)
1794 Flowing Hair Silver Dollar MS-66 $10 million (2013)
1804 Draped Bust Silver Dollar PR-68 $4.14 million (1999)
1913 Liberty Head Nickel PR-66 $4.5 million (2013)
1792 Silver Center Cent MS-67 BN $2.6 million (2012)


From the earliest American experimental coins to rare modern minting errors, the U.S. Mint has produced some extraordinarily scarce and valuable coins over the centuries. Factors like very low mintages, special proofs, and outstanding condition levels contribute to making certain pieces highly coveted rarities sought after by serious collectors willing to pay enormous sums at auction to own a true numismatic prize.