Coins come in all shapes and sizes, but only a few break world records. Which coin is the biggest? Which is the most valuable? From the United States to Nepal, and from Australia to Uzbekistan, here is our list of world-record-breaking coins.
Some numismatists in India claim that the half vellichakram is the world’s smallest coin, but weighing in at .18 grams, it’s pretty heavy to be called the smallest coin in the world. Most numismatists agree that at .06 grams and .44 mm the quarter silver tara of Vijayanagar (a former South Indian empire) is actually the world’s smallest coin.
However, according to the Guinness Book of World Records, the one-fourth java of Nepal is the world’s smallest coin. But the official GWR Twitter account, @GWR, explains they “don’t currently monitor a category for the smallest” coin. Since the one-fourth java is actually the metal from the hole punched into the java coin, and it was never circulated, many dispute its title as the world’s smallest coin.
There’s no debate about the world’s largest coin. The 2,204-pound Gold Kangaroo coin from the Perth Mint in Australia holds that title. This Gold Kangaroo weighs one ton; it’s made of 99.99% pure gold, measuring 4.7″ in thickness and 31.5″ in diameter. Though this coin is considered legal tender with a monetary denomination of $1 million, it was designed exclusively for bragging rights. One ton of pure gold at today’s market rates would make the coin worth well over $32 million.
Most Expensive Coin
In 2013, a 1794 Flowing Hair Dollar was sold at auction in New York City for $10,016,875, the most ever spent on a coin. Considering that the Flowing Hair Dollar is one of the first dollar coins ever minted by the U.S. federal government, it’s easy to understand why this historical piece fetched a record-setting price. Legend has it that Thomas Jefferson and George Washington may have personally handled the coin.
Least Valuable Coin
If we don’t consider hyperinflation, what is the world’s least valuable coin? That diminutive honor belongs to the one tiyin coin from Uzbekistan. As of last year, it was worth approximately 1/1,200 of one U.S. cent. And for obvious reasons, it’s hardly ever found in circulation.
Most Common Coin
At one time, it’s likely that the copper one-cash coin from China was the world’s most common coin. There are still millions of these ancient coins found today. However, the U.S. Lincoln cent coin has been minted more than any other coin since its release in 1909. The initial mintage was 20,000,000 and it only grew from there, making it the world’s most common coin.
This coin was struck in Philadelphia at the very beginning of the Gold Rush. Only one has ever been confirmed to exist, though rumors of a second coin’s existence are frequently circulated. The coin was an experimental design, not intended for actual currency, which explains why only one was ever produced. The world’s rarest coin is the U.S. 1849 Double Eagle, and you can find the only confirmed specimen on display in the Smithsonian.
If you like this article, then you might enjoy other articles in our archives, such as “The Creepiest Coins Of All Time.”
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