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 Buffalo 4 coin Gold uncirculated set

Time Left: 2d 2h 37m
$3,650.00 with 19 bids


2018-W GOLD AMERICAN EAGLE PCGS PROOF PR70 DCAM 4 COIN SET FIRST STRIKE

Time Left: 23h 5m
$2,650.00 with 16 bids


NO RESERVE! Perth Australia 1/10 oz Gold Lunar proof set Series 1 mintage 1,000 

Time Left: 1d 4h 15m
$2,550.00 with 23 bids


1990-P 4-Coin Proof Gold American Eagle Set (w/Box & COA)

Time Left: 2h 15m
$2,520.00 with 7 bids


2009 $20 PCGS MS70PL 1 oz Ultra High Relief Double Eagle Thomas Cleveland Label 

Time Left: 2d 20h 28m
$2,425.00 with 14 bids


2016 $50 Gold Eagle NGC PF70 Ultra Cameo  St. Gaudens Winged Liberty

Time Left: 2d 3h 48m
$1,800.00 with 1 bids


1821-1947 MEXICO 50 PESOS 1.2 Oz., 37.5 Grams GOLD Bullion Coin BEAUTIFUL!

Time Left: 1d 36m
$1,600.00 with 9 bids


2009 $20 24K 1 oz GOLD * ULTRA HIGH RELIEF DOUBLE EAGLE US Mint OGP BOX COA Book

Time Left: 3h 35m
$1,520.00 with 50 bids


2009 $20 24K 1 oz GOLD * ULTRA HIGH RELIEF DOUBLE EAGLE US Mint OGP BOX COA Book

Time Left: 3d 3h 34m
$1,481.00 with 14 bids


1878-S US Gold $20 Liberty Head Double Eagle - PCGS AU58

Time Left: 1h 45m
$1,450.00 with 58 bids


2019 $50 American Gold Buffalo PCGS MS70 First Strike - Bison Label

Time Left: 5h 34m
$1,426.00 with 18 bids


2019 $50 American Gold Buffalo PCGS MS70 First Strike - Blue Flag Label

Time Left: 4d 2h 50m
$1,421.44 with 11 bids


2006-W American Buffalo 1oz Gold Proof Coin

Time Left: 1d 17h 32m
$1,410.01 with 5 bids


2009-W $50 American Gold Buffalo PCGS PR70DCAM First Strike - Buffalo Label

Time Left: 3d 6h 1m
$1,408.00 with 12 bids


2019 $50 American Gold Buffalo PCGS MS70 First Day of Issue

Time Left: 4d 2h 29m
$1,408.00 with 11 bids


2019 $50 Gold Eagle PCGS MS70 First Strike - Bunting Label

Time Left: 1d 4h 35m
$1,385.00 with 1 bids


2019 $50 Gold Eagle PCGS MS70 First Strike - West Point Label

Time Left: 4d 5h 29m
$1,385.00 with 1 bids


2019 $50 Gold Eagle PCGS MS70 First Strike - West Point Label

Time Left: 5d 2h 35m
$1,385.00 with 1 bids


2017 $50 American Gold Buffalo PCGS MS70 - Blue Label

Time Left: 4d 29m
$1,377.82 with 5 bids


2009-W $50 American Gold Buffalo PCGS PR70DCAM First Strike - Buffalo Label

Time Left: 6d 6h 4m
$1,377.61 with 9 bids


2018 Gold Eagle $50 - PCGS MS70 - 1oz. First Strike

Time Left: 1d 1h 40m
$1,366.55 with 7 bids


2019 $50 American Gold Buffalo PCGS MS70 First Strike - Blue Flag Label

Time Left: 5d 4h 53m
$1,365.72 with 33 bids


2017 $50 American Gold Buffalo PCGS MS70 - Blue Label

Time Left: 5d 3h 53m
$1,364.00 with 9 bids


2013-W $50 American Gold Buffalo Reverse Proof PCGS PR69 - Black Diamond Label

Time Left: 3d 1h 31m
$1,351.00 with 9 bids


2017 $50 American Gold Buffalo PCGS MS70 - Blue Label

Time Left: 5d 34m
$1,350.25 with 7 bids


2016 W GOLD BUFFALO PF 69 ULTRA CAMEO

Time Left: 48m 48s
$1,350.10 with 13 bids


2019 $50 American Gold Buffalo PCGS MS70 First Strike - Blue Flag Label

Time Left: 5d 1h 11m
$1,350.00 with 5 bids


1986 50 Dollar 1-oz Gold Eagle Proof

Time Left: 6d 16m
$1,347.00 with 5 bids


2019 $50 American Gold Buffalo PCGS MS70 First Day of Issue

Time Left: 5d 1h 9m
$1,341.00 with 5 bids


1978 SOUTH AFRICA KRUGERRAND 1 OZ FINE GOLD COIN

Time Left: 2d 13h 30m
$1,338.00 with 8 bids


2015 Pcgs 1 Oz Gold Buffalo First Strike Ms 69

Time Left: 3d 2h 14m
$1,336.01 with 11 bids


2019 $50 American Gold Buffalo PCGS MS70 First Day of Issue

Time Left: 5d 4h 53m
$1,336.00 with 4 bids


2017 $50 Gold Eagle 1 oz ~ PCGS MS70 ~ First Strike ~ 225th Anniv. Label

Time Left: 9d 18h 46m
$1,335.25 with 2 bids


2015 American Gold Buffalo 1oz 99.99% Gold $50

Time Left: 2d 3h 53m
$1,332.00 with 1 bids


China 1983 1oz Panda gold coin G100Y mint sealed Chinese Bullion

Time Left: 2d 22h 45m
$1,325.00 with 9 bids


2009 Buffalo Gold $50 MS 70 NCG Certfied

Time Left: 4d 19h 1m
$1,325.00 with 1 bids


krugerrand 1 oz gold 1980, Coin, Gold 

Time Left: 5d 18h 52m
$1,312.78 with 3 bids


2005 $50 Gold Eagle PCGS MS69 - First Strike

Time Left: 3d 6h 2m
$1,300.00 with 25 bids


1oz. $50 Gold Piece 2003 American Gold Eagle

Time Left: 6d 19h 10m
$1,299.00 with 1 bids


2005 $50 Gold Eagle PCGS MS69 - First Strike

Time Left: 6d 6h 6m
$1,256.00 with 7 bids


2019 $50 American Gold Buffalo PCGS MS70 First Strike - Bison Label

Time Left: 6d 5h 37m
$1,182.00 with 17 bids


2019 $50 American Gold Buffalo PCGS MS70 First Strike - Blue Flag Label

Time Left: 6d 3h 39m
$1,082.00 with 43 bids


2019 $50 American Gold Buffalo PCGS MS70 First Day of Issue

Time Left: 6d 3h 36m
$1,009.00 with 10 bids


2015-W G$100 American Liberty High Relief 1 oz .9999 Gold MS69 NGC

Time Left: 1d 3h 22m
$918.00 with 52 bids


1988 1/2 OZ $25 Gold Eagle Gem BU MB125

Time Left: 3d 18h 37m
$899.00 with 1 bids


1989-P $25 Gold Eagle NGC PR 70 Ultra Cameo

Time Left: 2h 31m
$755.00 with 21 bids


1983 CHINA G50Y PANDA NGC MS 69 1983 CHINA PANDA GOLD 50 YUAN

Time Left: 5h 51m
$755.00 with 20 bids


1998 ONE Ounce PLATINUM $100 American EAGLE Coin Brilliant Uncirculated (BU)

Time Left: 6d 5h 45m
$745.00 with 11 bids


LOT OF 5-$5 Gold American Eagles 1/10 Oz Gold Each

Time Left: 4d 1h 24m
$730.06 with 6 bids


2015 Gold American Eagle 5 Coin Lot 1/2 oz Gold 5 @ 1/10 Oz Each

Time Left: 18h 27m
$711.11 with 21 bids


2017 One Half Ounce Gold Eagle First Day of Issue, PCGS MS 70

Time Left: 1d 1h 15m
$701.00 with 32 bids


Q47 US Mint 1976 National Bicentennial Medal GOLD 40.2g w/ BOX & COA

Time Left: 5h 41m
$698.00 with 13 bids


2017 Half-Ounce Gold Eagle $25, First Strike, PCGS MS 70

Time Left: 1d 1h 16m
$692.77 with 21 bids


1847 $10 Liberty Gold Coin. Pleasing original U.S. Liberty Gold! (319067)

Time Left: 2d 5h 32m
$685.00 with 19 bids


2016 W Gold Walking Liberty Half PCGS SP 70 100th Anniversary .5 Ounce 9999 FINE

Time Left: 3h 16m
$670.00 with 41 bids


Australian Currency, 1997, 1/2 Oz .9999 Fine Gold, $50 Golden Nugget Coin

Time Left: 2d 45m
$660.00 with 2 bids


2019 Australian 1/2 oz. Gold Kangaroo - NEW - and more amazing than I knew - 1/2

Time Left: 5d 7h 25m
$655.00 with 11 bids


1987-Y 50 Yuan Gold Panda 1/2 Ounce, .999 Fine Gold Coin

Time Left: 5d 3h 44m
$651.00 with 6 bids


$25 1/2oz. Gold American Eagle 2011

Time Left: 2d 18h 16m
$650.00 with 6 bids


2019 Australian 1/2 oz. Gold Kangaroo - NEW - and more amazing than I knew - 1/2

Time Left: 5d 6h 24m
$650.00 with 6 bids


1988 NGC MS69 $25 American GOLD Eagle. 1/2 Oz Gold. #MF-358

Time Left: 6d 4h 15m
$643.00 with 23 bids


1855 $10 Liberty Head Gold Eagle

Time Left: 2d 21h 48m
$641.00 with 28 bids


1879-S $10 Liberty Head Gold Eagle

Time Left: 22h 6m
$638.00 with 76 bids


1882 $10 Liberty Head Gold Eagle

Time Left: 22h 12m
$630.00 with 22 bids


1986 G$25 NGC MS 69 (MINT STATE 69) AMERICAN GOLD EAGLE COIN BC487

Time Left: 4h 16m
$627.00 with 23 bids


1898 $10 Liberty Head Gold Eagle

Time Left: 21h 55m
$625.00 with 27 bids


2010-W Buchanan's Liberty $10 Gold First Spouse 1/2 oz .9999 Fine PCGS PR69DCAM

Time Left: 3d 1h 55m
$611.00 with 22 bids


2019 $25 Gold Eagle NGC MS70 - First Day Issue - Eagle Core

Time Left: 18h 54m
$610.01 with 10 bids


1901 S $10 US Liberty Head Gold Eagle Coin (A9793)

Time Left: 1h 16m
$610.00 with 55 bids


1897 $10 Liberty Head Gold Eagle

Time Left: 2d 21h 45m
$610.00 with 71 bids


2018 Chinese 15 gram GOLD PANDA in Mint Sealed Pack - .9999 200 Yuan Gold Coin!!

Time Left: 5d 6h 19m
$610.00 with 16 bids


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

Time Left: 6d 3h 17m
$610.00 with 5 bids


Frankreich 500 Euro 2014,Werte der Republik *9 Gramm-999 Gold* Stgl. (5722 C )

Time Left: 2d 21h 30m
$571.97 with 15 bids


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

Time Left: 6d 2h 50m
$565.55 with 19 bids


1986 EAGLE G$10 NGC MS 70 EARLY RELEASE 1/4 oz American Eagle Gold Coin BC486

Time Left: 4h 16m
$535.00 with 18 bids


DiamCo - Münze Gold Deutschland 1 Mark 2001 Goldmünze 12g Feingewicht 999,9

Time Left: 22h 31m
$507.40 with 27 bids


1955 GOLD VENEZUELA 15 GRAM NAIGUATA' CACIQUES INDIAN CHIEF COIN

Time Left: 2d 3h 25m
$504.00 with 4 bids


Apollo 11 50th Anniversary 2019-W $5 Gold NGC Proof-70 E R ASF Label LIVE

Time Left: 1d 4h 21m
$500.00 with 17 bids


DiamCo - Münze Gold Deutschland 1 Mark 2001 Goldmünze 12g Feingewicht 999,9

Time Left: 1d 22h 39m
$454.22 with 17 bids


SH1346 1967 Iran Gold Medal 24mm Reza Pahlavi Coronation (NGC MS 63 MS63) 10.42g

Time Left: 1d 1h 16m
$440.00 with 2 bids


2019 British Royal Mint Gold Proof Full Sovereign Coin Box Coa

Time Left: 6d 21m
$438.12 with 18 bids


Lot of 1/10 Oz $5 Gold Eagles No Reserve!!

Time Left: 1d 17h 4m
$427.07 with 4 bids


2012 China Gold Panda (1/2 oz) 200 Yuan - PCGS MS69

Time Left: 6d 2h 15m
$404.00 with 23 bids


Q46 Disney Mickey Mouse 1987 GOLD 1/4 Oz. Fantasia Proof w/ BOX & COA

Time Left: 5h 40m
$401.10 with 16 bids


2008-W MS70 $5 1/10 oz Gold American Buffalo 1/10 ounce .99999 Fine GoldPCGS

Time Left: 6d 43m
$400.00 with 1 bids


1999 - $10 1/4oz Gold American Eagle MS69 NGC

Time Left: 4d 2h 46m
$395.00 with 8 bids


1 oz South African Krugerrand Gold Coin 1978

Time Left: 2d 1h 29m
$393.88 with 19 bids


LOT OF 3-$5 Gold American Eagle 1/10 Gold Each

Time Left: 4d 1h 31m
$385.00 with 16 bids


2018 1/10 oz Fine Gold American Eagle $5 Coin - Lot of 3 in Direct Fit

Time Left: 6d 4h 15m
$381.87 with 5 bids


Pamp Suisse 1/4 oz. Gold 2016 Abu Dhabi Grand Prix -Solomon Isl. Coin - Sealed

Time Left: 1h 46m
$365.00 with 57 bids


2012 1/4 oz Gold American Eagle

Time Left: 41m 31s
$352.00 with 13 bids


1915 $5 Indian Head Gold Half Eagle

Time Left: 22h 8m
$351.00 with 42 bids


2015 1/4 oz 10 Dollars Gold American Eagle

Time Left: 2h 16m
$348.05 with 6 bids


2011-W $10 Gold Eagle 1/4 oz PCGS PR-69DCAM

Time Left: 1d 1h 15m
$342.28 with 10 bids


DiamCo - Münze Gold Deutschland 1 Mark 2001 Goldmünze 12g Feingewicht 999,9

Time Left: 1d 22h 22m
$342.05 with 20 bids


BEAUTIFUL $5.00 PCGS STATUE OF LIBERTY 1886-W PROOF-69DCAM A 1/4 OZ OF GOLD

Time Left: 1d 2h 17m
$340.00 with 27 bids


2019 $10 Gold Eagle NGC MS70 Early Releases - Gold Coin Act Label

Time Left: 18h 50m
$339.00 with 18 bids


2019 $10 Gold Eagle NGC MS70 - First Day Issue - Eagle Core

Time Left: 18h 50m
$338.00 with 5 bids


2010-W $10 Gold Eagle NGC PF70 Ultra Cameo - Mike Castle Signed

Time Left: 3d 5h 27m
$336.00 with 15 bids


1999 GOLD US $10 DOLLAR AMERICAN EAGLE 1/4 OZ COIN NGC MINT STATE 69

Time Left: 5d 3h 33m
$335.00 with 17 bids