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The rarest coins in the world, I can’t believe 7 really exists.

These coins are so rare that they will make you open your mouth and say WOW. Some of them are pretty incredible, and even a little crazy.

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Las monedas más raras del mundo

Normally coin collectors and numismatists refer to rare coins as those that are very scarce or have some error that makes them unique.

This is the most widespread meaning of rare coins.

However, in this article we are not going to talk about those coins, which usually have a very high value to the average of any common ancient coin.

In this article we are going to review 9 coins that are rare because of their reason, the material or form in which they were designed.

I assure you that you are going to find authentic crazy things out of the ordinary. For me in particular, the 7th on this list of the rarest coins in the world left me open-mouthed.

Why are these coins rare?

These coins are rare because they break with many of the concepts and conceptions we have about what a coin is, or should be.

Some are so rare, so different, that they have aroused the ire of more than one coin collector. They go so far as to argue that when things like this are allowed, numismatics loses all value as a discipline.

I in particular am not bothered by them. But it is true that I am hardly an enthusiast in the world of coin collecting. In this sense, I am quite open-minded enough to discover and analyze as many old and rare coins as I can. Then, with time I will be able to make more objective judgments for myself.

So, without further ado, these are the 9 rarest coins in the world.

Coin with embedded lamp

In 2005 the island of Niue issued a commemorative coin for the 125th anniversary of the invention of the electric lamp by Thomas Edison.

Of this coin, which is not legal tender, only 2500 were minted this year. Minted in silver and with the value of 1 Niue dollar.

NIUE 2005 Moneda de Thomas Edison

On the obverse we can see the figure of the inventor and on the reverse, a tiny lamp that lights up when the piece is pressed. I doubt that several years later the remaining coins still light up, but you can’t deny that a rare coin that lights up is a good start to this list of rare coins.

Today you can only buy it on eBay bought it at the time and resell it. The price is around 82 euros.

Talking talking coin

This is a very rare specimen, not only because of what it can do, but also because of the motif chosen to be minted. The question is this.

MONGOLIA 2007 Moneda Parlante

The talking coin was minted in Mongolia in 2007. On its obverse side it has its denomination, which is equivalent to about 500 tugrik; and on the reverse side the image of John F. Kennedy. The striking thing about this coin is that it comes with a button and a speaker.

When the button is pressed, a recorded part of a speech by Kennedy is heard, in which he says in German “Ich bin ein Berliner” (I consider myself a citizen of Berlin). A Mongolian coin, with a figure of an American president speaking in German, is without a doubt a rarity worthy of this list.

The Kennedy coin is not legal tender, it is a piece designed for collectors.

NOTE: Kennedy is not the only president on a Mongolian coin. In 2017 they minted two 1000 tugrik pieces, one gold and one silver, with the image of Fidel Castro. Only this one does not “speak”.

Fidel Castro appears on Mongolian coins 700

Coins in the shape of guitars

We enter the field of rare coins because of their shapes, and now I want to introduce you to coins in the shape of guitars.

Yes, as you read, coins in the shape of electric guitars.

Monedas de Somalia

If you thought that coins could only be round, then let me make it clear to you that no, they can and do have many different shapes. These in particular, are musical instruments.

The interesting thing is that these coins are legal tender.

That is, if you find yourself visiting Somalia and you have one of these guitar coins you could very well pay with them in any store.

They were minted in Somalia, in 2004, these rare pieces were minted with a face value of 1 Somali dollar. The collection of the 6 guitars, in MS67 certified quality, are available on eBay for 750 US dollars.

Coins in the shape of motorcycles

It seems that the Somalis did so well with the guitar coins, that 3 years later they decided to mint another set of rare coins. This time, 6 coins in the shape of motorcycles.

These rare coins in the shape of motorcycles have a value of 1 dollar, they are also of legal circulation; therefore, they are enabled to pay with them. Not only to collect them, you can pay in stores with these rare coins.

Monedas de Somalia Motos

Among the motorcycle models selected to mint this series of rare coins, you can find some Harley-Davidson, and other emblematic models such as the mythical Red Rover Honda.

The 6 coins can be purchased on eBay for 74 US dollars.

Then in Somalia they continued to issue other series of coins, with other motifs, but they already lose the grace when they cease to be a novelty. In my opinion.

Coins in the shape of a country

We continue with the rarest coins because of their shapes. Now we will see a coin with the shape of two countries: Zambia and Australia.

In the year 2000 Zambia minted a PROOF Silver coin, minted specifically for collectors, in the shape of Australia and Zambia united. They have a face value of 5000 Kwacha.

Moneda de paises

NOTE: I did not manage to get a better image of these rare coins in the shape of countries. If I get them in the future I will change them.

The problem with this coin is that the scale between the two countries is not respected. They practically have the same dimensions, when in reality Zambia fits about 10 times inside Australia.

Chinese coins in the shape of tools

Perhaps, all these coins with dissimilar shapes, follow the tradition of the ancient Chinese coins in the shape of shovels and knives.

We must consider that Chinese coins developed independently of the emergence of these artifacts of exchange in the West. The first Chinese coins were in the shape of shovels, and some in the shape of knives, as they reflected the most commonly used working tools.

monedas chinas de distintas formas

These very rare spade-shaped coins emerged around the 7th century BC. They were cast in bronze, and not minted as coins are usually produced elsewhere. A little later, around 480 BC, the well-known knife coins began to be produced. They are known by this name because of the shape that imitates the weapon.

The round coins with a square in the center, more recognizable, were introduced much later around 350 BC.

Spade coins and knife coins are rare pieces of great numismatic and commercial value.

The Puzzle Coin

It is true that numismatics is a hobby that can be a lot of fun, if we add to this the following coin then the entertainment reaches quite high levels and prices.

This puzzle coin was minted in Australia in 2008. The coin has a PROOF finish, and was minted for the face value of 1 Australian dollar, although it is actually worth much more than that.

moneda rompecabezas

The motive is the sending of the first settlers to Australia, being 220 years ago in 2008 when the coin was minted. On the reverse side of the coin you can see Captain Arthur Phillip, who was the commander of the fleet. On the obverse is Queen Elizabeth II.

There is nothing unusual about the coin itself, when viewed alone. The strange thing comes when it is joined with the rest of the pieces that make up the set. 12 pieces in which you can appreciate each of the ships that made up the fleet.

Currently you can get the set (all 13 pieces) for a value of 744 US dollars on eBay. The coins are minted in Silver 999.

Juan Pablo II coin that stops

Sometimes the rarity of a coin lies in more than just its shape.

In this case the Juan Pabro II coin minted in Nauru in 2007 is rare because it is designed in two pieces, which articulate to make the Pope stand on the coin, which functions as a pedestal.

Moneda Juan Pablo II

The coin, minted in 999 silver and gold, has a face value of 10 dollars, although it is a PROOF coin, issued for collectors and not for circulation. Only 5000 thousand units of this coin were minted, and they have an approximate price of 70 euros at present.

Coin with water from the Grotto of Lourdes

To close this list of the rarest coins in the world, I would like to present the coin minted on the island of Palau, in silver 999 in honor of Lourdes.

The Grotto of Lourdes is a site of religious pilgrimage in France, where many people come to visit this almost magical place. The thing is that Palau, this country composed of islands and islets located in the Philippine Sea, minted in 2007, 5000 copies of a coin allegorical to the grotto of Lourdes.

Moneda de Gruta de Lourdes

The rarity of this coin is that it comes with a glass flask containing water from the grotto’s fountain. The face value of the coin is 5 Dollars. Currently the coin sells for approximately 70 Euros, if you can find it.

Care to add any rare coins to the list?

I must admit that this is a bit of an arbitrary list. I’m sure I’m missing many rare coins that could very well integrate the list; even top it.

If you know of a coin that you think should be here, leave me a comment and I will add it.

It would be great to build a large catalog of rare coins that catch the eye and challenge the imagination of coin collectors and numismatic enthusiasts.

I'm a passionate full-time blogger. I love writing about startups, how they can access key resources, avoid legal mistakes, respond to questions from angel investors as well as the reality check for startups. Continue reading my articles for more insight.

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