Like thin or thick eyebrows, coin collecting's popularity comes and goes. But there's nothing like an extremely rare coin to get everyone interested in the pastime again. Though you're probably familiar with some of the more legendary American quarters and dimes, you might not recognize the most valuable foreign coins that've made this list.
The 9 Most Valuable Foreign Coins Ever Sold
While American coins definitely occupy the biggest space of the coin collecting world, they aren't the only valuable coins to come to auction. There are hundreds of other countries with centuries-worth of interesting and rare coins to collect. Here are nine of the most valuable foreign coins ever sold.
|Most Valuable Foreign Coins||Record Sales Price||Country|
|Eid Mar Roman Coin||$4.2 million||Greece|
|1937 Edward VIII Proof 5 Pound||$2.25 million||Great Britain|
|1839 Victoria Proof 5 Pound||$690,000||Great Britain|
|1936 Canadian Dot Cent||$402,500||Canada|
|1538 Carlos and Joanna 8 Reales||$373,750||Mexico|
|1895 Nicholas II 10 Roubles||$228,000||Russia|
|1933 George V Penny||$193,875||Great Britain|
|1897 Anhewei Dollar||$192,000||China|
|1759 Ferdinand VI 8 Reales||$102,000||Colombia|
The 'Ides of March' Roman Coin: $4.2 million
Topping the list is a rare Roman coin of which only 3 are known to exist. Called the "Eid Mar" coin for the EID MAR phrase that's stamped into the reverse, the legendary Roman figure, Brutus, had these coins minted in 42 B.C.E. to commemorate Julius Caesar's murder. EID MAR referring to, of course, the Ides of March.
In 2020, one ancient gold coin sold for $4.2 million dollars. But, as if the historic find couldn't get any more newsworthy, in the intervening years it was discovered to be looted, and has since been repatriated to Greece, where it belongs.
1937 Edward VIII Proof 5 Pound: $2.25 million
One of the most valuable 20th century 5 pound coins to ever be minted was the 1937 Edward VIII gold proof. Proof coins are the most exquisite mintages, with extremely high relief designs. Given that Edward VIII was only king for a little over 10 months, abdicating in 1936 to marry divorcee Wallis Simpson, the small batch of coins honoring his ascension were never circulated.
Though it's hard to know for sure, research shows that there are probably fewer than 10 examples of this coin in existence. One recently sold in 2021 for a whopping $2,280,000.
1839 Victoria Proof 5 Pound: $690,000
Similar in design to the Edward VIII 5 pound, the 1839 Victoria gold Proof 5 pound coin is extremely valuable in its own right. Colloquially known as "Una and the Lion," there are only 400 of these minted coins known today. In 2020, one of these rare coins sold through Heritage Auctions for an impressive $690,000.
1936 Canadian Dot Cent: $402,500
One of the most valuable Canadian coins to sell at auction is the 1936 George V Cent, aka the "Dot Cent." Unlike the date attests, the penny was actually minted in 1937. You can identify this uncirculated coin by the noticeable dot located just under the date. One of only three fine examples sold in 2010 for $402,500.
1538 Carlos and Joanna 8 Reales: $373,750
Carlos and Joanna coins are closely linked to Spanish imperialism and are particularly valuable for their historic significance. Just after Hernan Cortez conquered Mexico in 1519, a Spanish mint was established in the country. There, they printed what are now known as Carlos and Joanna coins between 1536-1571. A rare early example from 1538 sold at an auction in 2006 for $373,750.
1895 Nicholas II 10 Roubles: $228,000
Prior to the Russian Revolution, the Tsar and Tsarina ruled over the massive country. The most infamous of these was probably Nicholas II, father to the infamous Anastasia and last Tsar Russia ever had. Minted in Petersburg, this 1895 10 roubles gold coin is a rare, fine example of late-imperial currency. This specific coin only ran for three years, making it particularly hard to find. So hard, in fact, that one sold in 2018 for $228,000.
1933 George V Penny: $193,875
The British continue to rack up impressive valuable coins with the 1933 George V penny. It's a penny just about as famous as the rare Magenta British Guiana One-Cent postage stamp. Despite being struck in circulation-ready fashion, these pennies weren't made to be circulated. Instead, they were included in year sets. Only seven are confirmed to exist, with one being stolen in 1970. In 2016, one came to auction and sold for $193,875.
1897 Anhewei Dollar: $192,000
The most expensive Chinese coin to sell thus far is the 1897 Anhewei Dollar. Minted in Anking, this specific coin is one of only seven mint-condition coins to ever be assessed. An extremely fine example of a provincial coin, this one sold in 2017 for $192,000.
1759 Ferdinand VI 8 Reales: $102,000
A rare and valuable South American coin to come out of the imperial era is the 1759 Ferdinand VI 8 Reales. This is the first year the 8 Reales were made in Colombia and is the only one available during Ferdinand's reign, making it a historically special coin to collect. It's estimated that only 15 examples survive today, and one sold in 2022 for $102,000.
Explore the World Through Coins
For these valuable foreign coins, it doesn't matter if you land on heads or tails. To walk away with price tags this high, you'd have to be something special indeed, and each of these coins represents a historically significant moment in their country's past.