FOUND > Rare Coin Worth Millions

Everyone Thought it was a Forgery... Until

The 1854 San Francisco Half Eagle.

Updated May 10, 2018
By James Massey, What Sells Best News

NEW ENGLAND - Smithsonian reports, a $5 gold coin, long thought to be a fake by its owner, has been authenticated as real, and it's worth millions.

THE DISCOVERY

Reportedly, the 1854 coin, marked with a letter 'S' indicating it was from the San Francisco Mint, was long suspected to be a forgery, even by the owner. His suspicions were validated by the coin dealers he showed, who also believed it was fake.

However, things took a dramatic turn after he sent the coin to the Numismatic Guaranty Corporation (NGC). A leading grading and authentication service, with top marks among major coin dealers.

Story of the confirmation of authenticity of the coin by NGC.

They studied the coin and found it was real. In an NGC video (above) they say another example discovered in the 1940s, graded AU 55, has a $5 million valuation in the 2019 Red Book. Based on this recent coin's NGC grade of XF 45, the value has been reported by many, to be in the millions.

(Correction: In an earlier version of this story, the potential value of the coin was misstated as '$5 million' based on the higher-graded coin found in the 1940s. While this recent discovery is likely to be in 'the millions' it has not yet been assigned a definitive value.)

Exactly where the coin came from, is still a mystery. Because the owner, who wishes to remain anonymous, has not yet publicly disclosed where he found it. Let's keep our fingers crossed that he shares the story.

WHY IT'S RARE

The coin, known as a Half Eagle, was minted in 1854 during the California Gold Rush. Reportedly, for unknown reasons, only 268 of the coins were minted at the San Francisco Mint. Prior to this particular coins discovery, only three were known to still exist. Now there are four.

The Story of the California Gold Rush by the History Channel.

SALES INFORMATION

We don’t have any information regarding a sale of the coin in this story, at this time. Stay tuned!

RESEARCH COIN PRICES

FREE APPRAISALS

Small details can make a big difference in rare coin values. Often forgers will make fake duplicates of rare coins due to their high value. If you think you have something, head to our free appraisals page and check with several of the experts listed within the coin category.

However, before contacting appraisers, it's highly recommended that you research sold prices on your own first. Because this can give you a general understanding of current market values, and may help you find the best selling venue, if you decide to sell.

ACTIVE AUCTION PRICES

Another way to monitor the real-time price strength of more common gold coins, is to keep an eye on the highest bid items (below) in the Gold Bullion and Coin categories on eBay.


SEARCH > All San Francisco Gold Coins (Reset)

2008-W Gold Buffalo 4-Coin Proof Set (w/Box & COA)

Time Left: 1d 12h 17m
$4,150.00 with 45 bids


2018 China Gold Panda - 5-pc. Year Set - PCGS MS70 - First Strike

Time Left: 1d 12h 15m
$2,361.00 with 21 bids


2018 China Gold Panda - 5-pc. Year Set - NGC MS70 Early Releases Ink Brush Black

Time Left: 1d 13h 24m
$2,337.00 with 35 bids


1998-W 4-Coin Proof Gold American Eagle Set (w/Box & COA)

Time Left: 2d 17h 24m
$2,294.69 with 3 bids


1996 4-Coin Gold Krugerrand Proof Set SA Mint 174/500

Time Left: 1d 12h 17m
$2,280.10 with 10 bids


1999 1.85 oz GOLD United States Gold Eagles 4-Coin Set Capital Case

Time Left: 9h 2m
$2,227.00 with 2 bids


2011 W Gold 25th Anniversary Eagle Set PF 70 Ultra Cameo Early Releases

Time Left: 1d 12h 17m
$2,125.00 with 7 bids


2008-W PCGS PR70 FIRST STRIKE DEEP Cameo Proof $50 Gold BUFFALO PF70

Time Left: 1d 13h 22m
$1,975.00 with 13 bids


200 euro Goldmünze 2002

Time Left: 1d 5h 56m
$1,918.20 with 27 bids


1987 US American Gold Eagle AGE Proof Set 2 Coins Total In OGP W/ COA

Time Left: 4d 10h 17m
$1,826.00 with 4 bids


2018-W $25 American Eagle 1oz Palladium Proof Coin PCGS PR70DCAM FS - Blue WP

Time Left: 2d 13h 58m
$1,776.78 with 15 bids


1 and 1/2 ounce gold coins american eagle

Time Left: 5d 7h 13m
$1,625.00 with 35 bids


1947 Mexico Gold 50 Pesos - BU - 1.2056 oz.

Time Left: 2d 11h 14m
$1,532.99 with 5 bids


2009 ULTRA HIGH RELIEF $20 ST GAUDENS DOUBLE EAGLE COIN NGC MS70 PERFECT

Time Left: 1d 8h 34m
$1,526.00 with 45 bids


2009 Ultra High Relief Double Eagle Gold Coin U.S. Mint with Original Box & COA

Time Left: 1d 12h 15m
$1,485.00 with 9 bids


1821-1947 MEXICO GOLD 50 PESOS UNCIRCULATEDCOIN 37.5 GRAMS 1.21 TROY OZ BULLION

Time Left: 4d 11h 10m
$1,475.00 with 21 bids


2014-W $50 Gold Proof Buffalo PR70 PCGS First Strike Gold Foil

Time Left: 1d 13h 24m
$1,432.70 with 25 bids


2015 W $100 HIGH RELIEF NGC MS69 GOLD AMERICAN LIBERTY COIN .9999

Time Left: 3d 9h 28m
$1,425.00 with 1 bids


2009 $20 UHR NGC MS 70 Gold St. Gaudens Double Eagle Ultra High Relief, Looks PL

Time Left: 1d 12h 16m
$1,401.00 with 36 bids


24-karat Fine GOLD - $20.00 Ultra High Relief Double Eagle Gold Coin - 2009

Time Left: 14h 39m
$1,400.00 with 1 bids


2018 P Australia Gold Lunar Dog (1 oz) $100 - NGC MS70 - First Day of Issue

Time Left: 1d 13h 15m
$1,380.00 with 42 bids


RARE 2017-W BURNISHED SP70 $50 Gold American Eagle Coin ANACS Low Mintage 225th

Time Left: 4d 8h 13m
$1,375.50 with 15 bids


1861 $20 Liberty Head Double Eagle gold piece! Civil War era Gold! NO RESERVE!

Time Left: 1d 12h 5m
$1,375.00 with 42 bids


2016 1oz. W $50 American Eagle Certified Gold Coin PF 70 UCAM 

Time Left: 3d 19h 48m
$1,338.00 with 5 bids


2018-W $50 Gold Proof Buffalo PR70 PCGS Thomas Cleveland Art Deco

Time Left: 1d 13h 46m
$1,331.00 with 11 bids


RARE 1995 1 oz Gold 100 Yuan Gold Unicorn. ITEM E-37

Time Left: 5h 59m
$1,326.00 with 30 bids


2006 W $50 American Buffalo 1 Oz One Ounce Gold Proof w/ Original Box + COA

Time Left: 8d 16h 3m
$1,325.00 with 30 bids


2014 W Buffalo NGC PF70 Early Release Ultra Cameo G$50

Time Left: 14h 23m
$1,302.00 with 4 bids


$20.00 GOLD SAINT GAUDENS 1908 NO MOTTO NGC MS64 VERY NICE FOR THE GRADE

Time Left: 12h 50m
$1,300.00 with 18 bids


1998 BU Uncirculated American Gold Eagle 1 ounce: $50  silver bar 5oz- see below

Time Left: 1d 4h 4m
$1,300.00 with 2 bids


2006 American Buffalo Gold $50 1 oz .9999 Fine MS 70 ICG First Day of Issue

Time Left: 4d 10h 2m
$1,299.00 with 1 bids


2008 W $50 American 1 OZ .9999 Fine Gold Proof in Box With COA Check Pics!!

Time Left: 13h 3m
$1,280.00 with 37 bids


2006 American Buffalo one ounce Gold proof coin

Time Left: 1h 12m
$1,275.00 with 9 bids


1 oz American Eagle Gold Coin dated 1999 Solid Gold w/ Box

Time Left: 9h 6m
$1,275.00 with 4 bids


2006-W American Buffalo One Ounce Gold Proof Coin Original Mint Case & COA

Time Left: 3d 6h 21m
$1,275.00 with 3 bids


2015-W American Eagle US Mint One Ounce $50 Dollar Gold Proof Coin Box & COA

Time Left: 3h 3m
$1,274.99 with 2 bids


1988 W $50 1 oz Gold Eagle Coin Perfect Proof Coin PF 69 Ultra Cameo

Time Left: 5d 14h 4m
$1,270.00 with 41 bids


1 oz South African Krugerrand gold coin

Time Left: 1d 12h 29m
$1,260.00 with 3 bids


2008 $50 American Gold Buffalo 1 oz. Real Gold Coin 

Time Left: 1d 18h 37m
$1,256.00 with 29 bids


1986 W 1oz $50 Proof Gold American Eagle (Box & Cert) MCMLXXXVI no reserve

Time Left: 1d 13h 34m
$1,253.00 with 20 bids


1986-W American Eagle One Ounce Proof Gold Bullion Coin $50 w/ Box & COA

Time Left: 5d 8h 44m
$1,253.00 with 12 bids


2018 American Gold Buffalo (1 oz) $50 - BU

Time Left: 2d 6h 9m
$1,252.10 with 5 bids


1986/W $50 GOLD 1 OZ AMERICAN EAGLE COIN W/COA

Time Left: 8h 22m
$1,250.69 with 3 bids


1998 BU Uncirculated American Gold Eagle 1 ounce: $50  2 auctions going

Time Left: 1d 4h 6m
$1,250.00 with 1 bids


1998 BU Uncirculated American Gold Eagle, 1 ounce: $50  Encased in Plastic

Time Left: 1d 11h 34m
$1,250.00 with 20 bids


2006 $50 Gold American Eagle 1 oz. Brilliant Uncirculated.

Time Left: 1d 12h 42m
$1,250.00 with 5 bids


2006 1oz GOLD AMERICAN BUFFALO .9999 Fine Gold US MINT BULLION COIN

Time Left: 1d 15h 4m
$1,250.00 with 27 bids


 $50 Fifty Dollar 1 oz ounce Gold American Eagle Gold Coin Random Year 

Time Left: 2d 11h 27m
$1,250.00 with 1 bids


 1oz Gold American Eagle Coin 50 Dollar Random Year  

Time Left: 2d 11h 30m
$1,250.00 with 1 bids


American Gold Eagle 1998 1 oz. GOLD

Time Left: 3d 5h 34m
$1,250.00 with 5 bids


2010 $50 American Gold Eagle ANACS MS70 First Day of Issue

Time Left: 2d 2h 5m
$1,236.00 with 21 bids


2005 - $50 1oz Gold American Eagle MS70 NGC Graded

Time Left: 4d 14h 28m
$1,236.00 with 4 bids


2009 $20 Gold Double Eagle Ultra High Relief w/OGP & COA

Time Left: 4d 3h 37m
$1,235.00 with 25 bids


1oz Gold US American Eagle Coin Proof Set Random Year Liberty ASE 999 Bullion 50

Time Left: 1d 4h 33m
$1,234.69 with 12 bids


1979 Gold Krugerrand 33.94 grams of 22 karat gold! DCam

Time Left: 18h 32m
$1,231.33 with 4 bids


1927 $20 Gold Double Eagle NGC MS 65

Time Left: 3d 7h 58m
$1,229.00 with 2 bids


$50 Gold American Eagle 1 oz. Brilliant Uncirculated MCMLXXXVI (1986).

Time Left: 6d 1h 58m
$1,227.00 with 5 bids


2018 China Gold Panda 30 g 500 Yuan - PCGS MS70 - First Strike

Time Left: 1d 13h
$1,225.00 with 19 bids


1976 SOUTH AFRICA AFRICAN 1 OZ GOLD COIN KRUGERRAND EXCELLENT CONDITION

Time Left: 1d 23h 14m
$1,225.00 with 2 bids


1995~ 1 OZ. $50 Gold American Eagle 1 oz. Brilliant Uncirculated ~ # T61

Time Left: 5d 7h 23m
$1,225.00 with 2 bids


1999~ 1 OZ. $50 Gold American Eagle 1 oz. Brilliant Uncirculated ~ # T60

Time Left: 5d 7h 23m
$1,225.00 with 2 bids


Canada 2006 1 oz. .9999 fine gold 1 oz $50.00 bullion coin

Time Left: 2d 17h 33m
$1,205.00 with 2 bids


1979 South Africa 1 oz Gold Krugerrand

Time Left: 1d 14h 23m
$1,200.00 with 6 bids


1998 1 OZ. $50.00 CANADA GOLD MAPLE LEAF ~#59T

Time Left: 5d 7h 23m
$1,200.00 with 1 bids


1988 Chinese Panda Gold Coin 100Y One Ounce .999 Pure Gold 

Time Left: 2d 1h 41m
$1,199.00 with 1 bids


2018 U.K. 100 Pound 1 oz Gold Britannia Brilliant Unc. NGC MS 66

Time Left: 4d 5h 10m
$1,191.37 with 18 bids


USA Gold Coin $20 Double Eagle Liberty Head 1884 20 Dollar

Time Left: 1d 1h 33m
$1,163.12 with 4 bids


1915 AUSTRIA GOLD 100 CORONA BRILLIANT UNCIRCULATED 33.84 gr GOLD BULLION COIN

Time Left: 2d 9h 38m
$1,160.00 with 3 bids


2015 People's Republic of China 500 Yuan .999 Fine Gold 1 oz Panda Coin PCGS MS

Time Left: 4d 5h 12m
$1,155.42 with 13 bids


RARE 1986 XXIV Olympiad Seoul 50000 WON 1oz Gold Coin Turtle Boat Proof ITEM E36

Time Left: 5h 58m
$1,155.00 with 52 bids


LOT OF 9 AMERICAN GOLD EAGLE 1/10 OZ COINS various years.

Time Left: 5d 10h 12m
$1,150.00 with 8 bids


1 oz Gold American Eagle BU (Random Year) - eBay

Time Left: 5d 8h 7m
$1,035.00 with 4 bids


Lot of (4) American Gold Eagle - Random Date, various weights

Time Left: 1d 5h 25m
$1,000.00 with 1 bids


US GOLD $50 FIFTY-DOLLAR EAGLE COIN 1999, BUC, 1 oz 24k gold, Last 20th C Eagle

Time Left: 2d 14h 3m
$910.00 with 2 bids


NGC MS70 2008 W Buffalo $25 Early Release 1/2 oz. Gold Coin

Time Left: 1d 7h 4m
$880.00 with 19 bids


1981 Mexico Gold Libertad Bullion .900 Coin 1/2-oz Fine Oro Puro & 14k Chain 41g

Time Left: 4d 5h 46m
$850.00 with 1 bids


2014-W~3/4 OZ GOLD KENNEDY HALF DOLLAR PROOF COIN~50th Anniversary Commemorative

Time Left: 15h 21m
$795.00 with 1 bids


RDR ÖSTERREICH UNGARN JOSEPH II. 2 DUKATEN 986 GOLD MÜNZE 1787 KARLSBURG RARITÄT

Time Left: 6h 9m
$757.73 with 18 bids


1908 US Gold $10 Indian Head Eagle - Motto - PCGS MS61

Time Left: 7h 43m
$670.00 with 48 bids


1992 $25 American Gold Eagle 1/2 oz Fine Gold (Low Mintage) (b431.37)

Time Left: 1d 8h 42m
$660.00 with 18 bids


2013-W 1/2 oz Proof Gold American Eagle PF-70 NGC  Early Releases 

Time Left: 2d 14h 33m
$660.00 with 13 bids


1926 $10 INDIAN HEAD GOLD PCGS MS-62..NR auction..Free shipping..High Quality

Time Left: 2d 3h 54m
$651.00 with 26 bids


1/2 Oz Ounce Pure 24KT 0.999 Gold 1906 $10 Ten Dollar Coin 57-2

Time Left: 5h 18m
$636.00 with 22 bids


BRILLIANT $25 DOLLAR GOLD EAGLE DATED 2000 CONTAINS A HALF OUNCE OF GOLD

Time Left: 1d 12h 19m
$636.00 with 12 bids


2008-W $10 GOLD * RARE Mike Castle SIGNED * Louisa Adams First Spouse * NGC MS70

Time Left: 2d 11h 56m
$636.00 with 15 bids


2007-W $10 GOLD * Dolley Madison First Spouse * PCGS MS70 * FIRST Strike ONLY 1

Time Left: 2d 11h 53m
$627.00 with 6 bids


2010-W 1/2 oz Proof Gold Mary Todd Lincoln (w/Box & CoA)

Time Left: 1d 12h 14m
$625.00 with 8 bids


2007-W $10 GOLD Jefferson's Liberty First Spouse * PCGS MS70 FIRST Strike ONLY 5

Time Left: 2d 11h 49m
$625.00 with 9 bids


2008-W $10 GOLD Mike Castle SIGNED Louisa Adams First Spouse NGC PF70 PR70 Proof

Time Left: 2d 12h 1m
$625.00 with 7 bids


2007-W First Spouse Gold Uncirculated GEM Jefferson's Liberty (w/Box and Cert)

Time Left: 3d 12h 31m
$611.00 with 35 bids


2018 China Gold Panda 15 g 200 Yuan PCGS MS69 First Strike Red Label

Time Left: 1d 13h 4m
$605.00 with 25 bids


United States Gold Vault $5 Solid Gold American Eagle Coins - 2014~58T

Time Left: 5d 7h 23m
$599.99 with 1 bids


2018 200 Yuan China Gold Panda Coin 15 Gram .999 Gold PCGS MS69 First Strike

Time Left: 3d 14h 3m
$599.00 with 1 bids


1996 Chinese Unicorn 4 piece Gold & Silver Proof Set- LMTD to 750 Sets. ITEM E39

Time Left: 6h
$577.90 with 20 bids


4-Piece NGC BU Gold - One Sovereign, Two 20 Francs and One 10 Guilder

Time Left: 2d 10h 18m
$570.00 with 24 bids


PCGS MS62 Motto 1908 Gold US $10 Coin

Time Left: 1d 7h 4m
$530.00 with 27 bids


1914-D GOLD Indian Head Eagle $10 Coin AU Condition

Time Left: 12h 24m
$523.00 with 28 bids


2011-2013 South Africa Natura Collectors' Set of 3 x 1/4 oz Gold

Time Left: 2d 14h 47m
$520.00 with 72 bids


1978 Canada Proof 100 Dollar 1/2 Ounce Gold Coin With Box And COA

Time Left: 2d 13h 4m
$510.01 with 11 bids


2018-W NGC MS70 $50 Burnished American Gold Eagle (bage-2018)

Time Left: 8d 10h 4m
$495.00 with 23 bids