The most coveted coins

We wanted to know what the most coveted coins on the market are right now. So we asked 26 coin experts and dealers a simple question.

“If you could ONLY have 3 gold coins or silver coins, which would they be, and why?”

There are a large array of subfields within the coin industry: American numismatics, bullion, world coins, and ancients. So we wanted to compile a diverse sampling of what experts like to collect, and why. If you have a passion for coins, but don’t know where to start collecting, this is a good place to learn about the various subfields of numismatic and semi numismatic coins.

We’ve painstakingly compiled a list of some of the most knowledgeable people in the bullion and numismatic coin industries. So if you’d like to see what the real experts in the industry think, scroll down and we’ll show you.

Bill Scott - President Of Richmond Coin Club

1916 D Mercury Dime, 1936 Proof Mercury Dime, St. Gaudens $20 Gold.

Paul Gilkes - Senior Editor Coin World


  1. 1894-S Barber dime – first series I started to collect seriously after joining the staff of Coin World in 1988 was Barber dimes. Sold my assemblage a few years ago.
  2. 1817/4 Capped Bust half dollar – Love the series, love writing about them and the people who collect them. Have gotten to know many of the well-known collectors and researchers.
  3. 1652 New England shilling – for the history


  1. 1933 Saint-Gaudens gold double eagle – Intrigued by the story behind their production and destruction. Covered the story of the only example legal to own and another 10 that surfaced subsequent and are sitting in Fort Knox.
  2. Gold Proof 2000-W Sacagawea dollar – Only 12 remain from 39 struck. All 12 went up on the space shuttle Columbia in 1999, and secured at Fort Knox. Got to see one of the 12.
  3. 1877 $50 gold Proof pattern – in Smithsonian, so it’s unlikely I’d get the chance even if I owned Fort Knox.

Andy Lustig - Administrator for The Society of US Pattern Collectors

Even if my collection were going to consist of only three coins, I would want them to be related, and to form something of a complete "set". So my choices aren't necessarily my three favorite coins, or the three greatest coins in the world, but my choice of the best three coin "set" I can imagine. My set would be comprised of a 1907 $20 Ultra-High Relief, the small diameter, extra thick 1907 $20 Ultra-High Relief (J-1917), and the unique 1907 Indian Head $20 pattern (J-1905, formerly J-1776).

Ron Guth - Numismatist

1907 $20 Saint-Gaudens Gold Pattern - Judd-1776 - coolest coin ever made!

Germany 1905-F 1 Mark - one of the rarest, regular-issue German coins.

1964-D Peace Dollar - if it exists...

Koos Jansen

I choose gold coins because they're worth more ;-)

  1. 1 krugerrand (widely excepted, only 0.917 fineness, which makes it a very durable coin).
  2. 1 panda (high premium, more valuable, and China will lead the gold market the next years).
  3. 1 buffalo (my logo is based on a golden buffalo coin, because of the resemblance with a bull).

Michael J. Kittle - Michael Kittle Rare Coins

Off the top of my head, if I had to pick 3 silver coins for my collection I would pick:

  1. 1918 Illinois Centennial Half Dollar – I love the classic commemoratives and this is my favorite one in the series.
  2. 1836 Gobrecht Dollar Original Coin Alignment – Just an awesome low mintage Seated Liberty coin and a beautiful reverse design with the eagle flying upward through the stars.
  3. 1942 Type Two Proof Jefferson Silver War Nickel – A historical issue to save important materials for the war effort and the only silver proof nickel.

If I had to pick 3 gold coins they would be:

  1. 1848 CAL Quarter Eagle – Very low mintage and the first U.S. commemorative coin made from early California Gold Rush gold.
  2. 1909-O Indian Half Eagle – Love the incused Indian Gold designs and this is the only one made in New Orleans in the final year of coinage at that Mint.
  3. 1907 High Relief St. Gaudens Double Eagle – One of the most beautiful coins there is.

If you only were looking for 3 coins total (and not 3 of each) then it would be:

  1. 1918 Illinois Centennial Half Dollar – I love the classic commemoratives and this is my favorite one in the series.
  2. 1836 Gobrecht Dollar Original Coin Alignment – Just an awesome low mintage Seated Liberty coin and a beautiful reverse design with the eagle flying upward through the stars.
  3. 1848 CAL Quarter Eagle – Very low mintage and the first U.S. commemorative coin made from early California Gold Rush gold.

Wayne Homren - Editor, The E-Sylum Numismatic Bibliomania Society
  1. The 1,000 unit silver mark Nova Constellatio pattern.
  2. The Floyd Starr 1792 Half Disme.
  3. The J.H. Polhemus counterstamp on a U.S. $20 gold piece.

Julianna C. Wostyn - President, Michigan State Numismatic Society

I value history very much and the lessons that history will teach you, if you only take the time to absorb our past. In the same manner, I appreciate art and am a collector of that as well. These two passions have lead me on a search for early commemorative coins. Not only do they tell a history, but they are a fine example of artistry in coins issued by the United States. The first coin I would own is the 1923 Monroe Doctrine Centennial half dollar. If you look at the reverse of the coin, it depicts the continents of North and South America, but if you take a closer look, the forms of the continents appear to be two female figures. It is a true delight to review and learn the history of our county by simply collecting the commemorative coins issued between 1893 and 1954.

The second coin I would own is an 1889 Carson City Morgan Dollar. That is the most rare and high value of the Carson City dollars. The Carson City Mint produced a very limited amount of U.S. coins compared to the Philadelphia or Denver Mints. It is a joy to hunt for Carson City coinage at coins shows and antique and coin shops due to their rarity. To find a coin is to "score", as you will have to go through much stock before you find Carson City material, unless you are doing business with a large national dealer or you see the trademark blue government holders. Many of the smaller or circulated Carson City coins are very affordable.

The third coin I would have in my collection is a Saint-Gaudens Double Eagle. My father always stated that this was the most beautiful coin made by the U.S. Mint. My father, Jerome Wostyn, started me in coin collecting and gave me a 1924 $20 gold piece for Christmas one year, it was his birth year. That coin will eventually be passed down to my daughter.

The collecting of coins could be a hobby that would allow the collector to acquire an object that will appreciate in value, but the main goal should be the enjoyment of the experience of collecting, learning the history of our coinage, appreciating its artistry and accumulating the friends and experiences you will treasure due to your hunt for those coins.

FOFOA - Numismatic and Bullion Blogger

If I could only have 3 silver or gold coins in my collection, they would certainly not be silver, they would only be gold. And they would not have any numismatic premium included in their price. I would want only unslabbed and highly-recognizable bullion coins. I prefer .9999 24K gold so, being American, I would probably go for three brand new 2014 Buffalos, preferably still attached to each other in the Mint's plastic sheet packaging. It looks like you have them for about 4% over spot which is a good price.

Mike Nottelmann - Host, Coin Show Radio

My 3 coins would be:

  1. 2013 Enhanced Uncirculated SAE
  2. 2008-W Proof 1/4 oz Gold Buffalo
  3. 1995-W Proof SAE

David Kellogg - BH Coin Club

We asked several members here at the Beverly Hills Coin Club and out of 34 of today’s responses the choices were unanimous:

  1. 1804 Dollar
  2. 1913 Liberty Nickel
  3. 1933 $20 Saint

Since the above are rarely available, the other 3 most often given were:

XF, AU, or Unc 1793 Chain Cent, 1794 Dollar, 1796/97 Small Ealge Type Half Dollar, of which we’ve own two or three of each type.

Dr. Darryl - Hawaiiana Numismatics Blogger

For the first choice, I selected the 1991 Uncirculated Princess Victoria Kaiulani Gold Akahi Crown. The princess design is simply beautiful. This is a 1 ounce gold coin. The large "1" on the reverse is the marker that identifies the coin as an uncirculated specimen (mintage 55). Proofs specimens (mintage 400) replaces the "1" with and raised pad on the reverse in which the coin is serialized after striking. It's very hard to distinguish between the Royal Hawaiian Mint's uncirculated and proof strikes, so the identifier really helps.

For the second choice, I selected a relatively unknown silver medal that has Presidential provenance. The coin is virtually unknown to most collectors. In fact, there was only one instance where it was documented and it failed to identify the minter and mintage. I performed research on the medal and uncovered previously unreleased files from the Eisenhower Presidential Library and Museum. I used the research results to publish a book about the medal series. The book was released in February 2014 and is titled: The Dwight D. Eisenhower Appreciation Medals. ISBN 1495348229 and is available at Amazon. A total of 17 previously unknown medals were cataloged with exact mintage struck and later destroyed (at the end of Eisenhower's 2nd term in office). The US Mint at Philadelphia struck the entire series under direction from the White House. The specimen I selected from my collection is the same size and fineness as a Morgan or Peace silver dollar. Official White House and US Treasury memos state that only 400 of the Hawaii 1960 were struck and 105 destroyed. 28 are a permanent part of the Eisenhower Presidential Library and Museum. The available circulating population is 267.

For the third choice, I selected the 1941 - 1991 Pearl Harbor 10 mm Gold Coin with accompanying counter stamped 1991 Silver American Eagle. Both are by the Royal Hawaiian Mint. Actually, this is a single die pair used for two different purposes: to strike a gold coin and to counter stamp a coin. The mintage tells the story. The gold coin has a mintage of 24 and the counter stamped coin has a mintage is 10. (The image with 2 gold coins is actually of another gold coin that shares the same obverse die. Its full story can be read here.)

I hope that you find my selection interesting!

Kulraj Singh - Numismatic Collector/Blogger

Well practically all the mohurs (gold coins of India) are restrikes, and the original strikes are not available so collecting mohurs is generally not considered a part of collection. Moreover we like to fill our collection with more number of missing coins rather than buy a single expensive and showy item like a mohur or a pattern coin which would cost me thousands of dollars. But since this one is a hypothetical question, I would go for William double mohur of 1835, 1939 rupee George VI and 1911 half rupee George V.

I considered only British India coinage and not princely state coinage since princely state mohurs are seldom seen or heard about, but they can be a better option than BI coinage as they are more fascinating.

Dr. Haim Gitler - Curator of Numismatics, The Israel Museum, Jerusalem

I would chose 3 silver Philistian coins of the Persian Period.

J Money - Numismatics Blogger

Here are the 3 coins I would love to have in my collection:

  1. 1915-S Panama-Pacific $50 [Octagonal]
  2. 1776 Continental Currency [Pattern]
  3. 1795 Flowing Hair Silver Dollar [Silver Plug]

Steve St. Angelo - Founder/Blogger/Economist, SRSrocco Report
  1. South African Krugerrand - some of the lowest premiums for an Official coin and there's a lot of them out there.
  2. Canadian Silver Maple Leaf - best value as an official silver coin. I prefer this coin over U.S. Silver Eagle.
  3. Chinese Silver Panda - this is by far the prettiest official silver coin produced. While I don't believe official coins should be the majority of ones silver holdings, it's a great coin to have in one's collection.

Lastly, I believe its best to own mostly gold and silver bullion. There is a reason I choose two silver coins out of the total three... I believe silver will outperform gold in percentage terms in the future.

Beth A. Caspar - Director of US Sales and Operations, Pobjoy Mint Ltd. USA
  1. Isle of Man 1990 Penny Black 1 oz Gold Proof.
  2. Isle of Man 1984 Angel 1 oz Gold BU.
  3. Isle of Man 1988 Cat Gold Proof Set.

Jaime Hernandez - Price Guide Editor, PCGS
  1. $20 1907 Gold Pattern J-1776.
  2. $1 1804 Class I Silver Dollar.
  3. $5 1822 Gold.

Jake Sherlock - ANA Blog Editor

My top three coins:

  1. The Brasher Doubloon. I mean, who wouldn't want to own this one?
  2. The 1792 half disme. I like the idea of having a coin that once could have been Martha Washington's silverware.
  3. The EID MAR denarius. I just love the story behind Caesar and Brutus with this coin.

Chris Weber - Weber Global Opportunities Report
  1. The Hungarian or Austrian 100 Corona since the irregular weight ends up giving you the most gold for your money.
  2. Krugerrand since it is the most well known of coins.
  3. Not a coin, and not for everyone, but kilo bars, since they are the world-wide standard of great wealth, and will become even more so as time goes on.

Shane Bissett - The Royal Mint’s Director of Commemorative Coin, Bullion and Medals
  1. 1839 Una and the Lion Gold Five Pound Piece. This is one of the most beautiful coins that has ever been produced. One the Obverse it shows William Wyon’s famous portrait of Queen Victoria considered to the finest of all of Wyon's portraits of the Queen. The reverse is also the work of Wyon and drawing it theme from Spencer’s Faerie Queene, depicts the Queen as Una guiding the British Lion. There is a powerful contrast between the restrained energy conveyed by the Lion and the peace and grace of the standing figure of Una. Only a small number of these coins were ever struck.
  2. Edward VIII 1937 Gold Sovereign. There has been a tradition with every monarch since Charles II, that succeeding monarchs faced the opposite direction of their predecessor as the Monarchy should always look to the future rather than the past. Edward chose to break with this tradition as he felt that his left side profile showed him in a better light. None of these were ever issued as Edward VIII abdicated before the coins were issued, however less than a handful of trial pieces made it outside of The Royal Mint and are held by a very small number of collectors, one recently sold for over £5000,000
  3. Britannia 2014 Silver 5oz Coin, this coin depicts the changing face of Britain, bringing Britannia who has appeared on British coins since the second centenary AD firming into the modern era. The Royal Mint engraver Jody Clarke has artfully balanced a composition that places Britannia among some familiar symbols - the shield and trident with a three-dimensional globe as her backdrop. Britannia is also joined by the lion, loyal and tamed at her feet, famous in British heraldry and long celebrated as a sign of courage and pride.

Scott Purvis - Editor in Chief, CoinWeek

If I could only have three coins they would be as follows

  1. 1795 Draped Bust Dollar.
  2. 1836 Gobrecht Dollar.
  3. 1907 $20 High Relief.

James Bucki - Expert on Coins,

I would have to (albeit very difficult) choose the following three coins:

  1. 1878-CC Morgan Dollar.
    This coin is rich in history. It was one of the first coins made that began an era of classic American coinage. Secondly, it was made at the Carson City Mint that captures the romance of the wild-wild West.
  2. 1794 Flowing Hair Dollar.
    This coin captures the essence of early American coinage. With under 2,000 coins minted, odds have it that Mint Director David Rittenhouse and engraver Robert Scot gazed upon these coins and possibly may have inspected them personally.
  3. 1916 Liberty Walking Half Dollar.
    I feel that the design on this coin is one of the most beautiful designs ever to grace United States coinage. My collection would not be complete without one.

As you can see for my responses, to me coin collecting is more about the history, artistic merit and allure of the various coins from the United States Mint.

scottsblog - scottsblog

If I could only have 3 silver coins or gold coins in my collection what would they be?

  1. The 1964-D Peace dollar. I believe they still exist even though the government claims they were all destroyed. Remember, the 1933 Saint-Gaudens double eagles were not supposed to exist either!
  2. A 1792 Half disme because regardless of what anyone says, the first coin legally struck by the United States following the passage of the Mint Act of 1792 was the half disme.
  3. 1776 silver 8 Reals Spanish Milled Dollar with Charles III of Spain. Technically, this was the coin of the realm when the colonies declared its independence from England.

Honorable Mention: Because it is not silver or gold, I would like to add as an honorable mention the 1955 Double-Die Obverse Lincoln cent. It is the one coin that spawned error collecting. There might be collectors of die varieties in different coins, but that is across a series. Only error collecting can trace its history to the issuance of one coin. Thankfully, I already own one of these!

Eric Holcomb - WebMaster/Editor, Pacific Northwest Numismatic Association

Well, as far as coins I might actually have some chance of affording (excluding, say, an 1804 dollar) I would go with a high relief MCMVII Saint-Gaudens, an 1836 Gobrecht Dollar, and possibly a 1916 variety 1 Standing Liberty Quarter.

Michael E. Marotta - Numismatics Blogger
  1. Electrum stater of Cyzicus. They were the standard payment for a month for mercenaries in the late 400s and early 300s BCE. They were mentioned in the Anabasis ("Journey Upcountry") of Xenophon. I nominate the coin because all coinage likely originated with bonus payments to mercenaries about the year 550 BCE. Coins were not invented by merchants. They did not evolve out of barter in precious metals. Coins did rapidly take on commercial roles and did, indeed, bolster the markets in precious metals, by bringing gold and silver down to the common level. Also, of course, the first coins were electrum, a naturally occurring alloy of gold and silver. In fact, if you stop and thing about it, even some modern gold coins such as the UK Sovereign of 1887 were "electrum."
  2. English Long Cross Penny (1247 - 1377: Henry III through Edward III). Consistent in quality and fineness, the "easterling" or sterling silver pennies of England were a standard for four generations. They influenced medieval commerce, for which the "Troy" ounce was invented. The name comes from Troyez in where the Great Fairs were held. The long cross on the reverse also facilitated cutting the coin into fourths - farthings. That indicated a need for small amounts of silver as commerce had moved even farther down the social scale, bringing in common farmers. It also marked the increase prosperity. New goods, many of them imported, made the nominal "price" of silver rise, allowing people to buy more with less. That is the opposite of fiat money inflation.
  3. United States "Capped Bust / Heraldic Eagle" (1797-1804). The first bird was a bit scrawny, but for the second variety, the designer, Robert Scot, got it right. This is also the reverse of the modern Kennedy Half Dollar. This coin announced the new republic. Interestingly, it carried no statement of value. Perhaps implicitly echoing the Granby coppers of Samuel Higley, the message was "Value Me as You Choose." Our gold $10 "Eagles" spoke for themselves.

Dr. Ursula Kampmann - Coins Weekly

If I had only three coins, which I could have in my collection without thinking about what I could afford, these were the three:

  1. The Acragas decadrachm featuring the two eagles tearing the hare into pieces.
  2. The Naxos tetradrachm featuring the archaic Dionysos
  3. The Syracusan tetradrachm made by Kimon showing the facing Arethusa surrounded by dolphins
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