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.


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.


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.


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



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.


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