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 Mexico 50 Pesos Coins

Time Left: 3d 4h 33m
$6,122.00 with 11 bids


1807 $5 Gold Capped Bust/Bust Left Half Eagle ANACS MS 61

Time Left: 3d 4h 32m
$5,100.00 with 9 bids


2006 20th Anniversary Gold Eagle Set - MS69, PF69, & PF69 Ultra Cameo NGC Cert.

Time Left: 8h 19m
$4,900.00 with 16 bids


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

Time Left: 9h 44m
$2,424.32 with 25 bids


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

Time Left: 9h 46m
$2,424.32 with 36 bids


2016 Gold Eagle Four Coin Set, Reagan Legacy, 1/10, 1/25, 1/2, 1 OZ. PCGS MS70

Time Left: 3d 21h 51m
$2,418.00 with 19 bids


1990 GOLD AMERICAN EAGLE 4 coin Proof Set With COA, Roman Numeral MCMXC.

Time Left: 7d 9h 17m
$2,310.00 with 3 bids


1989 GOLD AMERICAN EAGLE 4 coin Proof Set With COA, Roman Numeral MCMLXXXIX.

Time Left: 7d 9h 18m
$2,310.00 with 4 bids


1991 $25 American Gold Eagle, Rare Key Date, Eye Appealing & Flawless, NGC MS 70

Time Left: 4d 10h 14m
$2,230.05 with 25 bids


2018-W $25 American Eagle 1oz Palladium PCGS PR70DCAM FS Thomas Cleveland Signed

Time Left: 10h 30m
$2,081.00 with 25 bids


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

Time Left: 10h 30m
$1,951.00 with 37 bids


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

Time Left: 4d 9h 47m
$1,920.00 with 104 bids


2018-W $25 American Eagle 1oz Palladium PCGS PR70DCAM FS Thomas Cleveland Signed

Time Left: 4d 9h 47m
$1,894.00 with 19 bids


2013-W $50 American Gold Buffalo Reverse Proof PCGS PR70 - Black Diamond Label

Time Left: 10h 53m
$1,813.00 with 11 bids


1947 Gold Mexico 50 Pesos in 21K Pendant Bezel

Time Left: 3d 4h 33m
$1,782.00 with 12 bids


2018-W American Gold Eagle Burnished 1 oz $50 - PCGS SP70 - First Strike

Time Left: 10h
$1,656.00 with 55 bids


1947 Gold 50 Pesos Coin From Mexico

Time Left: 3d 4h 31m
$1,555.00 with 12 bids


1992-W American Gold Eagle $50 One-Ounce 1 oz Proof PF 70 Ultra Cameo NGC

Time Left: 10h 29m
$1,545.00 with 17 bids


Mexican 1943 Gold 50 Peso 1.2057 Oz. Gold Coin Certified MS-64 by NGC

Time Left: 1d 5h 11m
$1,525.00 with 30 bids


1863-S Gold 2.50 Quarter Eagle RARE RARE!!!

Time Left: 5d 5h 44m
$1,525.00 with 2 bids


2008-W 1 oz Gold Buffalo MS-69 NGC (Early Releases)

Time Left: 6h 9m
$1,485.00 with 12 bids


1987-W Gold Eagle G$50 NGC PF 70 Ultra Cameo One Ounce 1 oz Fine Gold

Time Left: 10h 50m
$1,455.00 with 19 bids


2016 USA $50 Coin Gold Buffalo 1 oz .9999 Fine BU American United States

Time Left: 4h 39m
$1,415.00 with 12 bids


AA31780) J.271 SACHSEN COBURG GOTHA 20 Mark 1886 Ernst II. 1844–1893 Gold

Time Left: 7d 1h 25m
$1,411.72 with 13 bids


2014-W American Gold Buffalo Proof (1 oz) $50 - NGC PF69 - First Releases -Jones

Time Left: 8h 2m
$1,411.00 with 15 bids


1999-W Gold Eagle G$50 NGC PF 70 Ultra Cameo One Ounce 1 oz Fine Gold

Time Left: 1d 10h 42m
$1,400.00 with 59 bids


2018 $50 American Gold Buffalo PCGS MS70 - Bison Label

Time Left: 10h 56m
$1,396.80 with 28 bids


1979 Gold One Ounce Krugerrand

Time Left: 3d 4h 30m
$1,384.85 with 7 bids


2002 American Eagle One Ounce Proof Gold Bullion $50 Coin

Time Left: 5h 8m
$1,375.01 with 13 bids


2018 $50 American Gold Buffalo PCGS MS70 - Bison Label

Time Left: 4d 11h 17m
$1,370.26 with 23 bids


2018 $50 American Gold Buffalo PCGS MS70 - Blue Label

Time Left: 3d 8h 47m
$1,368.51 with 15 bids


2018 American Gold Buffalo (1 oz) $50 - NGC MS70 Early Releases Bison Label

Time Left: 11h 2m
$1,365.00 with 10 bids


Krügerrand Gold 1 oz Südafrika 50 Jahre Jubiläumsmünze 2017 Goldmünze 1 Unze

Time Left: 2h 4m
$1,363.98 with 31 bids


2016 $50 Gold Eagle PCGS MS70 - Reagan Legacy Series Gold Label

Time Left: 10h 56m
$1,357.00 with 19 bids


1990-W $50 1 OZ American Gold Eagle PR69DCAM KEY DATE PCGS Proof West Point Coin

Time Left: 3d 7h 31m
$1,356.00 with 4 bids


2018 US Mint 1 OZ $50 Gold Buffalo Proof Bullion W/ Box & COA

Time Left: 2d 5h 27m
$1,350.00 with 16 bids


1994 American Gold Eagle $50 - 1 oz - NGC Graded MS68 - Bullion Coin

Time Left: 6d 6h 57m
$1,350.00 with 5 bids


2018 $50 American Gold Buffalo PCGS MS70 - Blue Label

Time Left: 4d 9h 15m
$1,340.00 with 13 bids


1 oz Gold 2015 BU Canadian Maple Leaf coin

Time Left: 2h 41m
$1,331.00 with 5 bids


2003 $50 One-Ounce Gold Eagle, PCGS MS69 General Tommy Franks

Time Left: 4h 48m
$1,330.55 with 10 bids


1990-W $50 1 oz American Gold Eagle PR69DCAM KEY DATE PCGS Proof Coin No Reserve

Time Left: 2d 1h 14m
$1,327.55 with 4 bids


2017 $50 American Gold buffalo - 1 oz. Briiiant Uncirculated

Time Left: 1d 5h 44m
$1,327.50 with 2 bids


$50 Gold American Eagle 1 oz. BU Year 2001  condition "uncirculated" 

Time Left: 3d 3h 43m
$1,327.27 with 4 bids


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

Time Left: 2d 8h 42m
$1,325.00 with 1 bids


2018 Canada 1 oz Gold Maple Leaf Coin Free Shipping

Time Left: 1d 8h 21m
$1,324.99 with 2 bids


1oz Gold 2018 Canadian Maple Leaf FREE SHIPPING

Time Left: 24m 22s
$1,322.00 with 7 bids


1979 South African Krugerrand 1 Oz. Fine Gold Coin with Original drawstring bag

Time Left: 53m 50s
$1,320.00 with 10 bids


1 oz Gold South African Krugerrand Coin 2009

Time Left: 2d 20h 34m
$1,320.00 with 2 bids


2013 1 oz Gold American Eagle Coin BU ($50 Face Value)

Time Left: 1d 1h 32m
$1,315.00 with 2 bids


2009 Canada Maple Leaf .9999 1 T. Ounce Pure FINE Gold Coin $50 Dollars

Time Left: 10h 43m
$1,314.00 with 31 bids


Orig. Krügerrand 1 Unze OZ 34g Feingold Südafrika 1983

Time Left: 3h 14m
$1,312.83 with 16 bids


1 oz South African Krugerrand Gold Coin 1979

Time Left: 5d 5h 39m
$1,309.00 with 6 bids


2018 1 Oz Gold Maple Leaf .9999 Pure FREE SHIPPING

Time Left: 9m 22s
$1,305.01 with 7 bids


22k 1oz Liberty Eagle U.S. Fine Gold Coin - $50 Dollars

Time Left: 8h 26m
$1,305.00 with 5 bids


Australia Gold Kangaroo - 1 oz - $100 - BU - Random Date

Time Left: 2h 37m
$1,301.00 with 29 bids


2 Gold Mexico 20 Pesos

Time Left: 3d 4h 31m
$1,301.00 with 7 bids


US Gold (1 oz) American Commemorative Arts Medal - Grant Wood - Diameter 32.8

Time Left: 3d 4h 35m
$1,300.00 with 1 bids


1999 Canadian 1oz Maple Leaf gold coin

Time Left: 3d 10h 2m
$1,300.00 with 5 bids


2004 1oz American Gold Eagle

Time Left: 4d 8m
$1,300.00 with 1 bids


1 oz Gold Barbados Trident .9999 Coin in Certi-Lock Assay Scottsdale Mint SALE!

Time Left: 1d 8h 1m
$1,295.00 with 4 bids


1980 South Africa 1 Troy Ounce Gold Krugerrand-BU & PL

Time Left: 1d 10h 10m
$1,295.00 with 28 bids


Canadian - Genuine 1oz. Full Size, Maple Leaf Gold Coin Mint Condition 1996

Time Left: 6d 1h 55m
$1,290.60 with 1 bids


1986W One Ounce Fifty Dollar Gold Coin

Time Left: 8h 32m
$1,290.00 with 7 bids


1984- 1oz Gold Krugerrand-1/19

Time Left: 6d 2h 7m
$1,281.00 with 11 bids


1871 S US Gold $20 Liberty Head Double Eagle

Time Left: 9h 8m
$1,279.00 with 2 bids


1988 One Ounce Proof Gold Bullion Coin

Time Left: 2d 8h 24m
$1,275.00 with 3 bids


1 oz. Gold American Eagle Coin - BU - Random Year

Time Left: 8d 7h 37m
$1,275.00 with 4 bids


2013 Gold American Buffalo 1oz .9999 $50 Coin Original US Mint Opened Seal

Time Left: 5d 1h 42m
$1,265.00 with 45 bids


Krugerrand - Genuine 1oz. Full Size, 1975 contains 1oz. 24 kt. Gold 

Time Left: 6d 1h 54m
$1,258.34 with 5 bids


Krugerrand - Genuine 1oz. Full Size, 1974 contains 1oz. 24 kt. Gold 

Time Left: 6d 1h 55m
$1,258.34 with 9 bids


2016-W $50 Eagle Burnished Gold PCGS SP70 First Strike

Time Left: 4d 4h 57m
$1,250.00 with 27 bids


2019 1 oz Gold American Eagle - $50 US Mint Gold Eagle Coin

Time Left: 9d 20h 5m
$1,245.00 with 22 bids


1 oz gold krugerrand coin

Time Left: 5d 21h 47m
$1,226.00 with 5 bids


2018 $25 Gold Eagle PCGS MS70 First Day of Issue

Time Left: 10h 59m
$1,150.00 with 14 bids


24K SOLID PURE GOLD GOLD OUNCE PLUS NECKLACE PENDANT 18K NOT SCRAP 38.3 GRAMS

Time Left: 5d 2h 57m
$1,055.00 with 47 bids


1978 South African KRUGERRAND 1OZ Fine Gold Coin No Reserve

Time Left: 2d 13h 21m
$1,026.00 with 3 bids


2015 W $50 Burnished Gold Eagle NGC MS 70 First Day of Issue

Time Left: 6d 9h 5m
$1,025.00 with 7 bids


1988 United Kingdom Gold 3-coin Proof Set In Original Box & COA

Time Left: 7h 34m
$999.95 with 1 bids


AA5159) J.182 ANHALT 20 Mark 1904 A Friedrich II. 1904–1918 Gold

Time Left: 6d 1h 46m
$984.34 with 22 bids


2002 Eagle Gold $25 NGC MS70 Half Ounce Gold Eagle

Time Left: 3d 55m
$795.00 with 1 bids


1887 British Victoria Jubilee Head £2 Pound Double Sovereign Gold Coin PCGS Unc

Time Left: 6h 16m
$767.91 with 27 bids


2013 Mo PCGS MS70 Mexico Gold 1/2 oz. Pure Gold Libertad

Time Left: 3d 1h 1m
$740.00 with 1 bids


1990 $25 American Gold Eagle, 1/2 oz Gold, Low Mintage & Tough Date, NGC MS 69

Time Left: 4d 8h 38m
$710.00 with 37 bids


1993 $25 American Gold Eagle, Tough Date in Perfect 70, Flawless Coin, NGC MS 70

Time Left: 4d 10h 21m
$710.00 with 24 bids


2007 $25 NGC MS 70 (MINT STATE 70) EARLY RELEASE AMERICAN GOLD EAGLE COIN AD117

Time Left: 1d 9h 55m
$701.00 with 9 bids


2016-w Centennial Gold Walking Liberty Quarter Dollar in original Mint packaging

Time Left: 4d 6h 1m
$700.00 with 1 bids


1894o $10 gold liberty head PCGS 55 Old Green Holder OGH SUPER LOW MINTAGE 107k

Time Left: 1d 8h 21m
$698.00 with 18 bids


1991 1/2 Oz Twenty-Five Dollar Gold American Eagle

Time Left: 4h 54m
$695.00 with 5 bids


2013-W $25 Gold Eagle NGC PF70 Ultra Cameo

Time Left: 10h 42m
$695.00 with 7 bids


2016-W PCGS MS69 Betty Ford $10 1/2 OZ. .9999 Fine Gold UNC Condition #3518

Time Left: 5d 6h 22m
$686.00 with 3 bids


2003 1/2 oz American Eagle $25 Gold Proof

Time Left: 8h 11m
$685.00 with 13 bids


1994-W $25 Gold Eagle NGC PF70 Ultra Cameo - Mike Castle Signed

Time Left: 10h 53m
$685.00 with 11 bids


2005-W $25 Gold Eagle NGC PF70 Ultra Cameo - Mike Castle Signed - Red Core

Time Left: 10h 53m
$681.00 with 11 bids


2003 $25 Half an 1/2 Ounce Gold Eagle, PCGS MS69 General Tommy Franks

Time Left: 4h 52m
$670.00 with 6 bids


2000 1/2 Oz. Gold American Eagle $25 Gold Coin GC77

Time Left: 1d 6h 42m
$665.50 with 5 bids


1989 $25 American Gold Eagle, 1/2 oz Gold, Attractive & Lustrous Coin, NGC MS 69

Time Left: 4d 8h 30m
$661.83 with 19 bids


1998 American Eagle $25 Gold 1/2 Ounce

Time Left: 1d 9h 33m
$661.00 with 30 bids


Mexican 1921 Gold 20 Peso .4823 Oz. Coin

Time Left: 1d 5h 10m
$660.00 with 23 bids


Flawless 2008 W $5 Gold American Buffalo PCGS PR70 DCAM Coin HD Photos NR

Time Left: 2d 8h 50m
$660.00 with 4 bids


1987 $25 American Gold Eagle, 1/2 oz Gold, Attractive Better Date, NGC MS 69

Time Left: 3d 10h 16m
$660.00 with 11 bids