Foreign Coin Value Examined
As a coin collector, you could spend a lifetime searching for rare and valuable American coins. If you’re eager to build a more international collection, you might start to wonder how U.S. coin values compare with other countries. Are foreign coins as valuable as U.S. coins? Find out which foreign coins are worth the most, and discover some of the most valuable coins from around the globe.
Any coin minted before the fall of the Roman empire in 476 A.C. is considered an ancient coin. Although their age makes these coins some of the rarest, they’re highly sought after because of their history and value. The first known coins came from Turkey, then known as Asia Minor. Most coins were minted from a gold-silver alloy. Celtic rulers made the first coins in England and Western Europe, and many feature intricate silver or gold designs.
Even though they’re considered ancient, many Greek coins were highly sophisticated and made from pure silver or gold. In fact, a Greek coin is one of the most valuable ancient coins on the market today. A silver tetradrachm dated 460 B.C. sold at auction for over $600,000. This rare collectible features the Greek god Dionysus and his companion Silenus drinking wine.
You won’t find many ancient Roman coins at auction, but you can see them in some museum collections. Countless designs depict portraits of the various dictators and emperors and commemorate occasions like military victories and important anniversaries.
Rare European Coins
If renaissance-era currency is more your speed, you’ll appreciate the 14th-century double florin that features Edward III alongside two leopards, his armorial animal. Although King Edward III issued a double florin, a florin, and a half-florin in 1344, these coins didn’t last long. The ruler quickly replaced these coins just a few months later and called for them to be demonetized and melted down.
That’s why there are only three remaining examples of the gold Edward III Double Leopard coin today. One is in a private collection, and two belong to museums, which means you won’t find them for sale. Even in the 14th century, the value of these coins was relatively high, as they were designed for trade with neighboring countries. Today, with an estimated price tag of over $800,000, this foreign coin value is one of the highest recorded.
If you find coins from countries that no longer exist intriguing, you’ll want to keep an eye out for the 100 ducat coin from the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth. This 17th-century coin was issued in 1621 to celebrate the Polish victory over Turkish armies. The 100 ducat coin features a portrait of Polish King Sigismund III Vasa on the obverse and an intricate coat of arms on the reverse.
Because only six of them still exist today, these 100 ducat coins are considered highly valuable. One sold at auction for more than $2.1 million, making it one of the most prized foreign coins today.
Collectible Mexican Coins
Because Mexico was a Spanish colony for centuries, this region also has dozens of highly sought-after collectible coins. As a Spanish colony, Mexico’s main forms of currency included the silver real and gold escudo. In the 1860s, the independent nation first issued its own currency in the form of centavos and pesos.
Although Mexico had gained independence by the 1820s, the republic continued to use the Spanish escudos and reales. Nevertheless, these silver and gold coins from the 1820s are some of the most in-demand and valuable Mexican coins today. Each shows a liberty cap and an eagle holding a snake in its beak, a symbol of Mexico City.
Even though the gold in each peso decreased by nearly half in the 20th century, coins from the early 20th century remain valuable today. If you appreciate coin design, you’ll be awed by the image of the woman on horseback on the 1910 silver peso. If you prize rare coins above all, you’ll appreciate the 1915 centavos from Oaxaca, which have a rectangular shape. While U.S. coin values tend to be much higher for comparable collectibles, these Mexican coins can be worth hundreds of dollars.
Valuable Chinese Coins
Although they’re much more recent than the ancient Roman coins and renaissance-era English coins on this list, some contemporary Chinese coins hold tremendous value. In 1991, the Shenyang Mint issued a 10,000 yuan coin to commemorate the anniversary of the more common panda gold coin. The coin features miniature versions of the 10 engravings from the prior decade surrounding a bold new panda design.
The face value of the coin equals about $1,500, yet this rare commemorative coin has sold at auction for more than $1 million.
In 1992, the Shenyang Mint issued a 2,000 yuan coin to celebrate centuries of Chinese innovations. The obverse features a compass and a team of horses, and the reverse shows a detailed design of the Great Wall. The background of the coin is black on both sides, making the gold design even more stunning.
Because just 10 proofs of these commemorative coins were issued, this 2,000 yuan piece is incredibly rare. One sold at auction for nearly $1.3 million, making it one of the most high-value foreign coins on record.
High-Value Canadian Coins
If you have over $1 million to invest, the 2007 Gold Canadian Maple Leaf coin could be a smart addition to your collection. This unusually large coin measures 20 inches in diameter, and it’s over 1 inch thick. The obverse features a portrait of Queen Elizabeth, and the reverse has a design with three maple leaves. The coin contains over 200 pounds of 99.999% pure gold, and it has a face value of $1 million. Only five of these gold coins exist, and one sold at auction for over $4 million.
Whether you’re looking to buy or sell rare coins, Las Vegas Jewelry and Coin Buyers have you covered. Find out which rare coins we purchase, or contact our experts to learn more about foreign coin values.