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Ancient gold coins scattered on a flat grey surface


Gold coins capture collectors’ imaginations like no other. Their radiant golden shine and tactile heft represent the enduring allure of gold itself.

But only a few gold coins transcend the rest to become true numismatic treasures. These epic rarities include some of the most expensive and coveted coins in collecting. 

Through this guide to the most prized collector’s items through history, learn what makes these gold coins an obsession for collectors.


3 Most Coveted Ancient Gold Coins

Some of the rarest and most valuable collector’s items hail from ancient civilizations where gold coinage first emerged. These age-old gold coins are highly coveted for their rarity, historical significance, and beauty.

1. The Gold Stater of Pantikapaion

One incredibly rare coin is the gold stater minted in Pantikapaion around 300 BCE. Pantikapaion was an ancient Greek colony on the Black Sea coast in present-day Crimea. 

This large gold coin depicts the bearded head of a satyr on the obverse and a panther with a spear in its back on the reverse. 

Less than a dozen examples exist, making it a holy grail for collectors of Greek coinage. One sold at auction for $3.8 million in 2012.

2. The Aureus of Augustus

Among ancient Roman coins, the Aureus stands out as the most prestigious gold issue. These were minted for Roman emperors, starting with Augustus in the 1st century BCE. 

Aureus featuring Augustus are highly coveted as they were struck during the dawn of Imperial Rome. Depicting Augustus on the obverse and various reverse types relating to his victories, these coins symbolize the birth of arguably the most powerful Empire in history.

3. The Solidus of Constantine the Great

As ancient Rome transitioned from paganism to Christianity, coins reflected this monumental shift. The solidus gold coinage minted by Constantine the Great, the first Christian Roman Emperor, is a coveted relic of this era. 

With Christian symbols and mottoes, these coins mark a pivotal moment as Christianity gained prominence throughout the Empire. Solidus featuring Constantine in superb condition is worth at least $15,000.

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Rare Medieval European Gold Coins

In medieval Europe, gold coins became increasingly scarce as kingdoms faced economic turmoil and plundering. Surviving gold issues from this period are now coveted collector’s items.

The Florin of Florence

First minted in 1252, the Florin is regarded as one of medieval Europe’s earliest authentic gold coins. It was struck by the prosperous city-state of Florence, Italy. Bearing the city’s symbolic lily, no more than a few hundred examples across all varieties still exist. These primordial gold coins command five-figure prices from collectors.

The Double Leopard of Edward III

Image retrieved from Numismatic Guaranty Company (NGC®) webpage:


Encapsulated obverse and reverse view of the Double Leopard of Edward III


During Edward III’s reign in the 14th century, this large English gold coin was minted as propaganda to assert England’s claim to the throne of France. The reverse shows Edward seated with two leopards, representing his claim to rule both kingdoms. Only a few specimens remain in existence. In 2006, one example sold for over £300,000.

The Ducat of Crusader Jerusalem

Crusaders who conquered Jerusalem in 1099 AD during the First Crusade minted this exotic medieval coin. Their Christian Kingdom of Jerusalem lasted until 1187 AD. Rare gold Ducats from this ephemeral realm show the Tower of David on the obverse with Christ on the reverse. Surviving examples of this historically significant coin bring over $10,000 at auction.

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Legendary Early Modern European Gold

As Europe transitioned into the early modern period, gold coins became more prolific. Some of the rarest and most coveted collector’s items hail from this era, including:

The 5 Guineas of Oliver Cromwell - This extremely rare 1656 5 Guineas gold issue was struck by Lord Protector Oliver Cromwell during England’s brief period as a republic. Only a handful are known in private hands.

The Louis d’Or of Louis XIII - The early Louis d’Or gold coins minted under Louis XIII show him as a child king. These rare issues from the early 17th century are worth around $100,000 in fine condition.

The Triple Unite of Charles I - Charles I gold Triple Unites were released just before the English Civil War in 1642, leading to most being melted down. Those surviving are worth $100,000+.

The Aureus of Catherine the Great - Russian Empress Catherine the Great minted limited quantities of Aureus coins. These showcase her portrait and are worth $70,000+ for specimens in Extremely Fine condition.

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3 Legendary American Gold Coins

Early United States gold coins hold an endless allure for American coin collectors. These rare issues had small original mintages and are challenging to find in top grades.

1. The 1794 Half Eagle $5 Gold Coin

This is a legendary rarity - the first $5 gold coin ever struck by the US in 1794. Displaying Lady Liberty on the obverse, just three examples are privately owned. The last one sold in 1982 for a record-setting $687,500!

2. The 1849 Mormon Ten-Dollar Gold Coin

Image retrieved from Professional Coin Grading Services webpage:


Obverse and reverse view of the 1849 Mormon Ten Dollar Gold Coin


During the California Gold Rush, these were struck at the Mormon Mint in Salt Lake City. Intended to finance Mormon settlements, most were soon melted into gold bars. Of the roughly 100 coins thought to exist still, an example graded PCGS MS62 sold in 2020 for $660,000.

3. The 1861 Double Eagle Twenty Dollar Gold Coin

With the South seceding in 1861, only a tiny number of $20 gold coins were minted in New Orleans before the mint closed as the Civil War erupted. Two exist today, with one selling for $7.59 million in 2002!

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As we have seen, gold coins have an enduring appeal among collectors seeking to own tangible pieces of history. Some of the rarest and most coveted collector’s items are those struck in ancient times or during periods of upheaval and transition. 

Other legendary collector’s items are prized for their status as first issues, one-year types, or surviving relics with remarkable stories. 

For seasoned collectors and numismatists, tracking down these holy grails represents the ultimate quest. Even for the casual observer, these coins offer a fascination with the past and the circumstances that led them to become coveted collector’s items today.

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“When considering “CFDs” for trading and price predictions, remember that trading CFDs involves a significant risk and could result in capital loss. Past performance is not indicative of any future results. This information is provided for informative purposes only and should not be considered investment advice.” 

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