Famous Coin Collectors Throughout History

Augustus Caesar of the Roman Empire

Marble bust of Emperor August Caesar of the Roman Empire with a black background.

Augustus Caesar was the first Emperor of the Roman Empire from 27 BC until AD 14. In these times, it was customary to give coins as gifts. In particular, it has been recorded that Caesar would give coins as gifts during the Saturnalia festivals, which was a time to honor the god Saturn. (2)

King Victor Emmanuel III of Italy

 King Victor Emmanuel III of Italy in military uniform

Victor Emmanuel III became King in 1900 after his father was killed until his abdication in 1946. It was during this time that he amassed a collection of over 100,000 coins dating from the end of the Roman Empire to his present time. In addition to this, he also left a 20-volume collection detailing each of his coins, where it was bought, who it was purchased from, the price, and whether it was a donation or not. This was known as the Corpus Nummorum Italicorum. (3)

King Farouk I of Egypt

King Farouk I of Egypt

King Farouk I was the tenth ruler of Egypt from 1936 to 1952. Farouk was known for collecting obscure and rare items and living a lavish lifestyle. It is because of this taste that he collected over 5000 gold coins and medals. In his collection were several American coins like a 1933 Gold Double Eagle coin, and two 1913 Liberty Head nickels. When it came time for the Double Eagle to be sold in 1954, the American government had asked for the coin back. This is because the coin had been illegally sold to King Farouk.

​It was illegal because President Franklin Delano Roosevelt had made the sale and ownership of gold illegal in an attempt to right the terrible economy at the time. Anyway, the coin was suddenly lost before being sent back to America. A full 42 years passed before the coin resurfaced. In a sting operation, the coin was recovered by federal agents. After a lengthy court case, it was deemed that the coin could be sold to a private party. In 2002, the coin ended up selling for 7.5 million dollars which set it as the most money ever paid for a numismatic coin. (1)