9 most valuable U.S. coins
8. Rolled edge eagle
90% gold, 10% silver
The first of Augustus Saint-Gaudens' famous eagle series, more than 31,000 of the $10 coins were struck. It's believed, however, that only 10 to 50 examples of the coin still exist. Why so few? The raised rims of the coin resulted in unsatisfactory striking quality. Rather than subject the Mint to public criticism, officials decided to melt all but 42 pieces.
Saint-Gaudens' initial whack at the coin, a wired edge version, was even less successful. Five hundred were made, with 46 raised stars on their edges — representing the 46 states. The wire edge didn't work so well, however. Turns out the coins would not stack. Saint-Gauden had trouble turning art into pocket change. He was particularly thrown off by the U.S. Treasury's requirement that coins be minted in one strike, not two. One of his double eagles, owned by legendary numismatist Harry Bass Jr., was lost in what's been described as an 'airport incident.'