Five of the world’s most famous coin collections

Coin collecting is considered to be one of the oldest hobbies in the world. These monetary items are fascinating to collectors because coins and currency can tell the story of human history through their unique and notable designs.

In this post, we’ll take a look at five of the most famous numismatic collections in the world, both those belonging to museums and private collections.


Museum Collections

1) National Numismatic Collection, Smithsonian Institution

There are more than 1.5 million coins, currency and monetary items available to view in the National Numismatic Collection at Smithsonian Institution in Washington, DC.

The collection was started in the early 1920s by the US Mint and has since become one of the country’s most celebrated collections of coins and currency.

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The museum is also a research centre into the history of coin collecting and boasts some exceptionally rare items, including an 1849 $20 Gold Double Eagle, a 1913 Liberty Head Nickel, and all three types of 1804 silver dollars. The collection contains other historical monetary items including paper money, ancient coins, coin dies, printing plates, and more.


2) American Numismatic Association (ANA) Money Museum

A globally renowned numismatic museum with over 250,000 monetary items, the ANA has one of the most exhaustive coin and currency collections on record. It is especially well known for its Harry W Bass collection, featuring some of the rarest US coins, including the 1804 silver dollar.

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The museum features rotating in-person exhibits, interactive displays as well as online and virtual exhibits to keep coin and currency lovers educated and informed. Their staff is also made up of highly knowledgeable numismatic experts. The museum is a must-visit for any budding or expert coin collector.


Private Collections

3) The Eliasberg Collection

Louis E. Eliasberg Sr. was a Baltimore businessman who was an active member of the numismatic community from the 1920s to the 1970s. His collection was especially notable because he was the first (and only) collector to complete a collection of circulating US coins by their date and mint mark.

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Some rare and unique coins in his collection include a 1873 Liberty Seated dime, a 1913 Liberty Head Nickel, an 1870-S three dollar gold piece and one of the few known 1933 gold $20 Saint-Gaudens Double Eagles.

Eliasberg’s collection was incredible and, at one point, was considered to be worth nearly US$60 million.


4) King Farouk of Egypt’s Collection

King Farouk I of Egypt was the ruler of Egypt from 1936 to 1952. As a King, he lived an extravagant life and went on many spending sprees and built up huge collections, including coin collections, developing one of the most well-respected collections in the world.

His collection was auctioned off in the 1950s and included thousands of gold coins and other impressive pieces like 1913 Liberty Head nickels and a complete set of $20 gold Saint-Gaudens Double Eagles, including the renowned 1933 issue, which the US government believed to be stolen.

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But when the alarm was raised, the coin suspiciously vanished. It re-appeared in the mid-1960s, and after some litigation, the coin dealer and the US government split the profits 50-50. As a result, a single 1933 Saint-Gaudens gold double eagle is now owned within the public sphere.


5) The Harry W. Bass Collection
Harry W. Bass was a Dallas-born businessman and philanthropist who spent his life amassing one of the most notable gold collections in American history.

His collection included a number of historical US coins. He had quite a few impressive specimens in his collection, like the only known $3 gold coin collections, including a unique piece produced in the 1870s.

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The majority of his collection was auctioned off following his death, but some coins from his collection remain on display at the American Numismatic Association’s Money Museum in Colorado.

Building up a coin collection means that each collector owns a little piece of history. If you’re looking to start your first collection, or add to an existing collection, check out our vast selection of coins, or get in touch with our knowledgeable and experienced team for support.