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Physical Bitcoins to Go on Auction

Last Updated March 8, 2024 11:31 AM
James Morales
Last Updated March 8, 2024 11:31 AM
By James Morales
Verified by Peter Henn

Key Takeaways

  • The first physical Bitcoins came out in 2011.
  • Early and rare examples are the most prized by collectors.
  • Stack’s Bowers and Heritage Auctions are both running physical BTC sales.

To some, they’re the ultimate crypto flex. To others, an unnecessary gimmick. Either way, two of the world’s foremost rare coin dealers are preparing to auction physical Bitcoins that you can toss, throw down a well or deposit in your piggy bank.

Ahead of Bitcoin’s halving in April and with the cryptocurrency trading at its highest price ever, both Stack’s Bowers and Heritage Auctions are both running physical BTC sales featuring a range of collectible metal coins. 

Rare Coin Auction Houses List Physical Bitcoin Collections

In the case of Stack’s Bowers, over 200 lots of collectible cryptocurrency coins and cards with a combined market value of more than $1 million are being offered  as part of two events to mark the upcoming Bitcoin halving.

With bidding set to commence on March 28, items on offer include metal coins issued by Casascius between 2011 and 2013.

Each Casascius coin contains an embedded piece of paper inscribed with a Bitcoin private key, representing different denominations of BTC. The auction includes both mint condition tokens with the private key still inside and redeemed coins which nonetheless retain collectible value.

Upcoming Heritage Auctions events also showcase similar items.

What Makes Physical Cryptocurrencies Collectible?

Casascius coins hold special appeal to collectors. These items were among the first examples of physical cryptocurrencies ever minted. 

Because numismatics values age and rarity above all else, the fact that the Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (FinCEN) shut Casascius down in 2013 only adds to the items’ collectibility.

Perhaps the rarest item  offered by Stack’s Bowers, however, isn’t a coin but a plastic card.

Described by the auctioneer as a “landmark rarity that represents the precursor to the entire physical crypto category,” the Bitbills card is from a series released in May 2011, predating the earliest Casascius coins by about six months.

Not Just Bitcoin, Collectible Altcoins Too

Alongside physical Bitcoins, Stack’s Bowers’ halving sale includes coins cards and bars representing Monero, Litecoin and Dogecoin.

While the crypto value of these physical altcoins is lower than their BTC equivalents, they are often highly prized by collectors. This is because they typically come out in smaller runs.  For instance, the auction includes a 2017 Lealana 0.5 Monero coin  which is one of a series of just 150.

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