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)

4 Gold 1984 One Ounce Krugerrands

Time Left: 2d 13h 2m
$5,239.63 with 7 bids


$20 GOLD DOUBLE EAGLE INVESTORS LOT! SEVEN COINS! 7X$20 GOLD COINS LOT 7OZ. GOLD

Time Left: 1d 10h 59m
$4,617.89 with 23 bids


2011-w PCGS MS70 25th anniversary First Strike $50 Gold Eagle one ounce

Time Left: 13h 55m
$3,250.00 with 19 bids


2018 China Gold Panda 5 Pc. Set 10, 50, 100, 200, 500 Yuan PCGS MS70 FS

Time Left: 3d 17h 21m
$2,875.00 with 1 bids


Pair Of 2016 1oz Gold $50 American Buffalo Coins NO RESERVE!!!

Time Left: 11h 48m
$2,599.99 with 1 bids


LINGOTTO IN ORO 999.9/000 DA GRAMMI 100 CON CERTIFICATO DI GARANZIA

Time Left: 12h 30m
$2,239.99 with 63 bids


2009 MS70 $20 Gold Eagle Ultra High Relief NGC MS70

Time Left: 1d 21h 17m
$1,800.00 with 1 bids


1947 Gold 50 Pesos Coin From Mexico

Time Left: 2d 13h 1m
$1,658.00 with 14 bids


$50 Gold Coin 1.20 oz Gold Peso Mexican Coin 1947 37.5 g. "centenario" Beautiful

Time Left: 3d 12h 24m
$1,625.00 with 5 bids


$50 Gold Coin 1.20 oz Gold Peso Mexican Coin 1947 37.5 g. "centenario" Beautiful

Time Left: 3d 12h 54m
$1,600.00 with 5 bids


$50 Gold Coin 1.20 oz Gold Peso Mexican Coin 1947 37.5 g. "centenario" Beautiful

Time Left: 3d 13h 21m
$1,600.00 with 4 bids


2010 W NGC Proof Gold Eagle $50 PF70 PR70

Time Left: 10h 7m
$1,549.00 with 1 bids


2017-W Proof $100 Gold American Liberty 225th Ann High Relief 1oz

Time Left: 2d 13h 47m
$1,526.00 with 5 bids


2008 Double Prosperity 8-8-08 Gold Coin Set 9999 American Buffalo & Eagle 1 oz

Time Left: 3d 16h 34m
$1,525.00 with 2 bids


2010-W $50 1oz. Gold Buffalo PCGS PR70DCAM BLACK DIAMOND

Time Left: 5d 14h 6m
$1,499.00 with 1 bids


2013-W Reverse Proof 1oz Buffalo $50 Gold NGC PF69 First Releases 9999 Fine NR

Time Left: 6d 18h 43m
$1,430.00 with 6 bids


2010-W PCGS PR70 DCAM PROOF American Gold Eagle 1 oz $50 West Point 999 NO RESER

Time Left: 6d 18h 57m
$1,422.00 with 7 bids


2017 MO 1 Oz Onza Gold Mexico Libertad - ULTRA LOW MINTAGE OF 900!

Time Left: 16h 26m
$1,405.95 with 16 bids


2018 $50 American Gold Buffalo PCGS MS70 First Day of Issue - Blue Flag Label

Time Left: 17h 16m
$1,400.00 with 11 bids


2016-W Proof American $50 Dollar Buffalo GOLD Coin with Box OGP & COA | 0585

Time Left: 4d 18h 8m
$1,400.00 with 22 bids


2006 NGC MS 70 $50 .9999 Fine First Strike American Buffalo Gold Coin AB935

Time Left: 4d 18h 13m
$1,386.00 with 17 bids


2018 $50 American Gold Buffalo PCGS MS70 First Day of Issue - Blue Flag Label

Time Left: 5d 17h 14m
$1,382.00 with 18 bids


2010 PCGS MS70 First Strike $50 Gold Eagle

Time Left: 14h 27m
$1,381.00 with 14 bids


1991-W 1 oz Proof Gold American Eagle with Box and Cert.

Time Left: 3d 7h 10m
$1,380.00 with 3 bids


2010 PCGS MS70 First Strike $50 Gold Eagle

Time Left: 14h 29m
$1,378.00 with 10 bids


2018 $50 American Gold Buffalo PCGS MS70 First Day of Issue - Blue Flag Label

Time Left: 1d 17h 21m
$1,376.12 with 11 bids


2009 NGC MS 70 $50 .9999 Fine Early Releases American Buffalo Gold Coin AB936

Time Left: 4d 18h 12m
$1,376.01 with 16 bids


2018 $50 American Gold Buffalo PCGS MS70 First Strike - Blue Flag Label

Time Left: 17h 16m
$1,375.81 with 10 bids


2018 $50 American Gold Buffalo PCGS MS70 First Day of Issue - Blue Flag Label

Time Left: 3d 17h 18m
$1,375.00 with 6 bids


1988-W PCGS PR69 DCAM PROOF American Gold Eagle 1 oz $50 West Point 999 NO RESER

Time Left: 6d 18h 54m
$1,375.00 with 13 bids


2010 American Buffalo 1oz GOLD Proof .9999 Fine Gold Coin

Time Left: 18h 29m
$1,371.01 with 7 bids


Great 2006 NGC MS 70 $50 .9999 Fine American Buffalo Gold Coin AB935

Time Left: 4d 18h 12m
$1,360.00 with 18 bids


2018 $50 American Gold Buffalo PCGS MS69 First Day of Issue - Blue Flag Label

Time Left: 3d 17h 18m
$1,359.00 with 8 bids


2015W 100$ US 9999 fine Gold 1oz HIGH RELIEF PF70 NGC 2666247-001

Time Left: 10h 43m
$1,351.00 with 31 bids


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

Time Left: 1d 11h 3m
$1,350.00 with 2 bids


2005 1oz George T. Morgan 1876 "Proposed Union" $100 Gold NGC Gem Ultra Cameo

Time Left: 2d 7h 57m
$1,350.00 with 4 bids


2018 $50 American Gold Buffalo PCGS MS70 First Strike - Blue Flag Label

Time Left: 6d 17h 20m
$1,347.00 with 6 bids


1997 American Eagle Liberty Gold Coin $50 1 Oz One Ounce Bullion

Time Left: 5h 55m
$1,345.00 with 12 bids


2015 gold buffalo NGC MS70

Time Left: 8h 51m
$1,345.00 with 57 bids


2018 $50 American Gold Buffalo PCGS MS70 First Day of Issue - Blue Flag Label

Time Left: 6d 17h 19m
$1,337.00 with 5 bids


2008 GOLD BUFFALO COIN NGCMS70

Time Left: 4d 23h 13m
$1,335.12 with 11 bids


2006-W American Gold Buffalo Proof (1 oz) $50

Time Left: 18h 8m
$1,326.00 with 6 bids


$50 GOLD AMERICAN EAGLE ONE OUNCE 2014 GEM BU

Time Left: 16h 57m
$1,325.00 with 22 bids


2016-W American Gold Buffalo Proof (1 oz) $50 - PCGS PR70 First Strike First Day

Time Left: 6d 18h 50m
$1,322.00 with 15 bids


1983 SOUTH AFRICAN KRUGERRAND - 1 OZ  FINE GOLD COIN AU BRILLIANT MS88 WOW

Time Left: 17h 21m
$1,320.00 with 26 bids


2014 Great Britain 1 oz .9999 Gold Lunar Year of the Horse BU Collector Coin

Time Left: 16h 17m
$1,311.97 with 32 bids


1979 1 oz Maple Leaf Gold $50 dollar

Time Left: 5d 23h 8m
$1,311.00 with 13 bids


Australia $100 Lunar Series II Rooster 2017 1 oz .9999 Gold Perth Mint Coin

Time Left: 16h 12m
$1,309.66 with 25 bids


2008 Canadian Maple Leaf $50 - .9999 - 1 Oz. Pure Gold

Time Left: 3d 17h 51m
$1,301.00 with 3 bids


1976 South Africa Suid Afrika 1oz Fyngoud Fine Gold Krugerrand

Time Left: 2d 10h 37m
$1,300.09 with 6 bids


1 oz American Gold Eagle Coin (2010)

Time Left: 1d 11h 13m
$1,300.00 with 1 bids


2009 American Buffalo 1oz GOLD Proof .9999 Fine Gold Coin

Time Left: 2d 16h 16m
$1,300.00 with 3 bids


2006 Buffalo G$50 NGC MS 70 .9999 Fine First Strikes

Time Left: 6d 16h 12m
$1,300.00 with 3 bids


2016 Great Britain 1 oz .9999 Gold Lunar Year of the Monkey Bullion Coin

Time Left: 16h 5m
$1,298.87 with 19 bids


2009 CANADA GOLD MAPLELEAF --No Reserve-- mpl004

Time Left: 6d 16h 12m
$1,290.00 with 3 bids


1999 CANADA GOLD MAPLE LEAF --No Reserve-- mpl003

Time Left: 3d 16h 42m
$1,286.00 with 3 bids


1978 1oz South African Krugerrand .999 Fine Gold Coin Bullion

Time Left: 1d 12h 12m
$1,275.00 with 4 bids


1 Oz Gold South African Krugerrand - 1982

Time Left: 4d 3h 20m
$1,275.00 with 3 bids


2016 NGC USA $50 gold eagle 1.000 troy oz

Time Left: 4h 12m
$1,225.00 with 17 bids


1911-D $20 St. Gaudens Gold Double Eagle in 14K Bezel

Time Left: 1d 17h 13m
$1,225.00 with 37 bids


2017-W Gold Eagle Set Half-Ounce, Quarter-Ounce and Tenth-Ounce PCGS PR70DCAM

Time Left: 16h 49m
$1,173.00 with 14 bids


2017-W Gold Eagle Set, Half-Ounce, Quarter-Ounce & Tenth-Ounce PCGS PR70DCAM

Time Left: 16h 48m
$1,150.00 with 11 bids


2018 China Gold Panda - 5-pc. Year Set - PCGS MS69 - First Strike

Time Left: 6d 17h 32m
$1,125.00 with 2 bids


2017-W Gold Eagle Set, Half-Ounce, Quarter-Ounce & Tenth-Ounce PCGS PR70DCAM

Time Left: 1d 16h 7m
$1,116.00 with 22 bids


2017-W Gold Eagle Set, Half-Ounce, Quarter-Ounce & Tenth-Ounce PCGS PR70DCAM

Time Left: 16h 16m
$1,106.00 with 11 bids


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

Time Left: 6d 18h 4m
$1,059.00 with 4 bids


2017-W Gold Eagle Set 3pc. Half-Ounce, Quarter-Ounce, Tenth-Ounce PCGS PR70DCAM

Time Left: 3d 16h 13m
$1,052.11 with 22 bids


2017-W Gold Eagle Set, Tenth-Ounce, Quarter-Ounce and Half Ounce PCGS PR70DCAM

Time Left: 1d 16h 15m
$1,025.00 with 13 bids


2017 $25 1/2 oz American Gold Eagle PCGS MS70 First Day of Issue Low Pop 171!

Time Left: 19h
$808.27 with 12 bids


2018 $25 Gold Eagle PCGS MS70 First Day of Issue

Time Left: 17h 15m
$775.00 with 1 bids


1899-O $10 LIBERTY GOLD EAGLE. GREAT DETAILS, RARE DATE. VERY LOW MINTAGE!

Time Left: 9h 52m
$745.00 with 17 bids


2016-W U.S. Walking Liberty Half Dollar Centennial Gold Coin w/ Box & CoA AB546

Time Left: 18h 13m
$725.01 with 20 bids


2006-W Burnished PCGS MS 70 American Gold Eagle 1/2 oz $25 West Point 999 Fine

Time Left: 6d 18h 44m
$715.00 with 7 bids


1907 US Gold $10 Indian Head Eagle - No Motto - NGC AU58

Time Left: 14h 8m
$700.00 with 1 bids


2007-W PCGS MS69 $25 GOLD 1/2 OZ EAGLE

Time Left: 4d 1h 51m
$700.00 with 1 bids


1983 GOLD China 50 Yuan Panda *NGC MS 68* Graded Half Ounce Bullion Coin 1/2 oz.

Time Left: 6d 12h 51m
$686.00 with 19 bids


PERFECT GOLD PRESIDENTS WIFE 1/2 OZ OF .9999 FINE 2007-W ADAMS PCGS PR-70DCAM

Time Left: 3d 19h 47m
$682.00 with 6 bids


2006-W $25 American Gold Eagle 1/2 oz NGC MS69

Time Left: 2d 11h 22m
$679.00 with 9 bids


2011-W PCGS MS70 Eliza Johnson First Spouse Gold $10 1/2 oz 9999 NO RESERVE

Time Left: 6d 18h 43m
$676.00 with 6 bids


2006-W $25 American Gold Eagle 1/2 oz NGC MS69

Time Left: 2d 11h 21m
$672.00 with 11 bids


2007-W Burnished PCGS MS 69 American Gold Eagle 1/2 oz $25 West Point NO RESERVE

Time Left: 6d 18h 47m
$669.00 with 4 bids


1892-O $10 Gold Liberty Head Eagle .4838 troy oz

Time Left: 1d 17h 13m
$665.88 with 8 bids


2009-W PCGS PR70 DCAM Julia Tyler First Spouse Gold $10 No Reserve 1/2 oz 9999

Time Left: 6d 18h 45m
$661.10 with 33 bids


1991 $10 U.S. Gold Eagle - Uncirculated - Better date.

Time Left: 2d 9h 58m
$660.00 with 1 bids


2009 $25 American Gold Eagle 1/2 oz NGC MS69 ER Label

Time Left: 2d 10h 26m
$660.00 with 14 bids


2010 $25 American Gold Eagle 1/2 oz NGC MS69 ER Label

Time Left: 2d 11h 20m
$660.00 with 8 bids


1/2 oz Walking Liberty

Time Left: 8h 27m
$655.00 with 8 bids


2002 Gold Eagle Half-Ounce $25 1/2 oz Fine Gold

Time Left: 3d 6h 56m
$654.00 with 39 bids


1996 gold eagle 1/2oz in BU Condition

Time Left: 5d 9h 3m
$651.00 with 16 bids


1983 1/2oz Gold Canadian $100 Proof - St. John's

Time Left: 2d 6h 34m
$650.00 with 1 bids


1981 1/2 oz Gold Canadian $100 BU/Proof "O Canada"  Royal Canadian Mint quality

Time Left: 2d 6h 36m
$650.00 with 1 bids


1979 1/2 oz Gold Canadian $100 Proof - "Children"

Time Left: 2d 6h 37m
$650.00 with 1 bids


2007 W Martha Washington First Spouse $10 Gold Coin, PCGS First Strike, MS 70!

Time Left: 6d 14h 58m
$650.00 with 10 bids


1988 1/2 ounce $25 Twenty Five Dollar Gold American Eagle Coin Uncirculated

Time Left: 6d 16h 42m
$648.00 with 6 bids


2007 $25 American Eagle 1/2 oz Gold Coin NGC MS 69 LOOK No Reserve | 0557

Time Left: 3d 18h 42m
$647.75 with 6 bids


2011 Isle of Man 1/2 oz Gold Noble PR PF70 Ultra Cameo NGC 9999 COA NO RESERVE

Time Left: 6d 18h 42m
$646.00 with 4 bids


$25 Gold AMERICAN Eagle - Rare SEMI KEY DATE 1995 PCGS MS69 GORGEOUS COIN

Time Left: 17h 12m
$644.00 with 35 bids


2007 $10 GOLD EAGLE

Time Left: 8d 12h 30m
$640.00 with 1 bids


1999 PCGS MS69 $25 GOLD 1/2 OZ EAGLE

Time Left: 3d 16h 10m
$635.00 with 6 bids


1/2 oz Gold Canadian $100 Proof - 1979 "Children" Royal Canadian Mint quality

Time Left: 1d 6h 50m
$610.00 with 2 bids