Top 3 Most Controversial Coins
Some coins get their popularity and high price through the controversies surrounding and revolving around them. It could be about the history behind their mintage, the debate about the indecency of their design, or the legality of their mere existence. To date, there are several coins bearing the status of being controversial and hence, wildly sought-after. When it comes to controversy and intrigues, I guess the top three coins are (in no particular order): the EID.MAR Denarius Coin of Brutus, which is of questionable integrity; the Bare-Breasted Liberty Quarter of the 1916’s and 1917’s, which was met by an outraged public; and the 1933 Saint-Gaudens Gold Double Eagle Coin, which is argued to be the most valuable coin.
1. The EID.MAR Denarius Coin of Brutus.
This particular coin was specially minted by the order of Marcus Junius Brutus around 43 BC to commemorate the assassination of Julius Caesar, which Brutus himself had plotted with his fellow members of the Senate. The controversy lies in the question of whether Brutus’ and his group’s action was honorable or even at least, justifiable. Brutus and his co-senators were a firm believer of a free republic and saw Julius Caesar as a power-hungry tyrant who has plans to make himself a king with sovereign powers. One of the signs of Caesar’s desire to be a king that gave way to insurrection is the minting of his image on coins during his time. Interestingly though, Brutus, who professed himself as a liberator of Rome, issued this EID.MAR Denarius Coin bearing his own image! At the reverse side of the coin is a liberator cap placed in between two daggers. This design supposedly depicts freedom. However, it conflicts with the portrait image of Brutus on the obverse side of the coin, which clearly manifests the desire to rule.
2. The Bare-Breasted Liberty Quarter of the 1916’s and 1917’s.
This controversial coin was minted during a time when the United States of America is at the height of its transformation from the conservative Victorian era to the freer and more expressive era of the Roaring Twenties. One might expect that a bare-breasted image on a coin wouldn’t cause an outcry during this time, but it did! Maybe the transformation was still at its early stages and the general public wasn’t ready yet for such radical move. The image was that of a standing Miss Liberty draped in a soft flowing cloth that slipped off her shoulder, exposing her right breast. Religious group leaders pronounced the design as filthy, obscene and an insult to the respectable Miss Liberty. The coin was recalled and a redesign was made.
3. The 1933 Saint-Gaudens Gold Double Eagle Coin.
What makes this coin controversial is that it was never issued and was never meant to be released to the public. Hence, mere possession of it is illegal. This particular coin was minted at a time when changes are being made in the laws of U.S. currency. Then-president, Franklin Roosevelt, ordered that all gold coins be taken off the circulation. People in possession of these coins should turn over them into the government. The gold coins were melted and turned into gold bars. However, some of the 1933 Saint-Gaudens gold coins managed to escape the meltdown and found their way to the public under suspicious circumstances. The US Mint considered them stolen and hence, possession of them is illegal. After going through years of hunting and confiscating from different collector hands, the 1933 Double Eagle coin was legalized and sold at $7,590,000 to an anonymous buyer.