PNG: Record year 2021 for million dollar rare coins

This US Double Eagle gold coin from 1933 sold for a record $ 18.9 million in 2021. (Image credit: Sotheby’s.)

The market for high quality, rare US coins skyrocketed in 2021. A record of 22 US coins sold at auction for US $ 1 million or more and hundreds of other historical coins and notes from US $ 1,000 set new records, according to the Professional Numismatists Guild (www.PNGdealers. org). The PNG is a not-for-profit organization made up of many of the best rare coin and paper money dealers in the country.

Based on responses to a year-end PNG questionnaire, the total prices of all US rare coins sold at major public auctions in 2021 were more than $ 551 million, compared to nearly $ 369 million in 2020 . Public auctions of U.S. banknotes totaled more than $ 50.5 in 2021, compared to $ 50.6 million in 2020, the combined total sales of U.S. rare coins and paper money in 2021 increased to nearly $ 602 million.

“Spectacular prices were fetched for historical, rare coins and banknotes of great quality as the numismatic market rose online and collectors and dealers began to return to face-to-face exhibitions and conventions across the country,” said PNG President Richard Weaver.

The most valuable rare coin sold in 2021 was a 1933 Double Eagle ($ 20 gold coin) owned by shoe designer Stuart Weitzman. It raised $ 18.9 million at a Sotheby’s auction, a record price for any rare coin.

Heritage Auctions had the highest total value of US coins and banknotes sold at auction at $ 295.9 million, followed by GreatCollections Coin Auctions at $ 141 million and Stack’s Bowers Galleries at $ 92.3 million at auctions of US coins and banknotes.

“In addition to the 22 US coins sold at auctions for $ 1 million or more each, about a dozen others reportedly changed hands in private transactions. The previous record year for US coin sales of $ 17 million was 2015, ”said Weaver. “In addition, at least ten rare coins from other countries were sold by US auction houses for $ 1 million or more in 2021.”

Participating auction companies were Alex Cooper Auctioneers, Bonhams, Early Cents Auctions, Ira & Larry Goldberg Auctioneers, GreatCollections Coin Auctions, Heritage Auctions, David Lawrence Rare Coins, Legend Rare Coin Auctions, Scotsman Coin & Jewelry, Sotheby’s and Stack’s Bowers Galleries.

Members of the professional numismatists’ guild must adhere to a strict code of ethics when buying and selling numismatic goods. For a list of member dealers, visit or call PNG headquarters in Temecula, California at (951) 587-8300.

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