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)

1991-P 4-Coin Proof Gold American Eagle Set (w/Box & COA)

Time Left: 1d 18h 59m
$2,500.00 with 1 bids


2007 Gold Eagle Set $5, $10, $25, $50 PF69 Ultra Cameo NGC

Time Left: 3d 23h 25m
$1,725.00 with 12 bids


1990W 1oz $50 Gold Eagle Proof PCGS PR70DCAM Reagan Legacy Michael Reagan Signed

Time Left: 1d 20h 9m
$1,525.00 with 3 bids


1995-W AMERICAN GOLD EAGLE $50 1 OZ NGC PF 70 ULTRA CAMEO

Time Left: 1d 1h 31m
$1,437.70 with 44 bids


1996-W $50 Gold Eagle NGC PF70 Ultra Cameo - Mike Castle Signed

Time Left: 1d 3h 2m
$1,428.01 with 12 bids


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

Time Left: 2d 38m
$1,403.00 with 25 bids


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

Time Left: 1d 1h 29m
$1,380.03 with 5 bids


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

Time Left: 2h 1m
$1,377.86 with 8 bids


2017 $50 Gold Eagle NGC MS70 Early Releases

Time Left: 1d 3h 2m
$1,376.01 with 17 bids


2019 $50 Gold Eagle PCGS MS70 First Day of Issue

Time Left: 1d 1h 26m
$1,376.00 with 5 bids


2011 $50 American Gold Buffalo PCGS MS70 - Black Diamond Label

Time Left: 2d 2h 58m
$1,376.00 with 15 bids


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

Time Left: 3d 1h 43m
$1,376.00 with 12 bids


2013-W Reverse Proof $50 American Gold Buffalo 1 oz NGC PF69 ER Retro ER

Time Left: 20h 44m
$1,375.00 with 15 bids


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

Time Left: 2d 1h 15m
$1,374.00 with 14 bids


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

Time Left: 2d 2h 3m
$1,371.09 with 49 bids


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

Time Left: 1d 2h 26m
$1,366.33 with 25 bids


2016 $50 Gold Eagle PCGS MS70 - Reagan Legacy Series

Time Left: 2d 2h 22m
$1,360.70 with 13 bids


2019 $50 Gold Eagle PCGS MS70 First Day of Issue

Time Left: 2d 1h 12m
$1,359.00 with 6 bids


2016 $50 Gold Eagle PCGS MS70 - Reagan Legacy Series

Time Left: 2h 31m
$1,357.00 with 7 bids


2003 $50 Gold Eagle PCGS MS70 - Reagan Legacy Series

Time Left: 2h 58m
$1,356.31 with 37 bids


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

Time Left: 3d 1h 38m
$1,355.00 with 28 bids


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

Time Left: 3d 2h 20m
$1,355.00 with 38 bids


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

Time Left: 1d 1h 40m
$1,354.00 with 16 bids


2016 $50 Gold Eagle PCGS MS70 - Reagan Legacy Series

Time Left: 43m 40s
$1,352.01 with 15 bids


1999 $50 Gold Eagle PCGS MS70 - Reagan Legacy Series

Time Left: 2h 41m
$1,352.01 with 7 bids


2014-W Proof $50 American Gold Buffalo 1 oz NGC PF69UC Blue ER Label

Time Left: 20h 44m
$1,352.00 with 34 bids


2019 $50 Gold Eagle PCGS MS70 First Day of Issue

Time Left: 2h 1m
$1,351.51 with 7 bids


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

Time Left: 2h 4m
$1,350.00 with 11 bids


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

Time Left: 2d 1h 38m
$1,350.00 with 26 bids


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

Time Left: 2d 1h 42m
$1,347.00 with 52 bids


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

Time Left: 1d 2h 26m
$1,345.00 with 10 bids


2016 $50 Gold Eagle PCGS MS70 - Reagan Legacy Series

Time Left: 1d 2h 32m
$1,337.00 with 6 bids


2019 $50 Gold Eagle PCGS MS70 First Day of Issue

Time Left: 2d 2h
$1,325.00 with 10 bids


2019 $50 Gold Eagle PCGS MS70 First Day of Issue

Time Left: 3d 1h 28m
$1,325.00 with 5 bids


2019 $50 Gold Eagle PCGS MS70 First Day of Issue

Time Left: 3d 2h 18m
$1,325.00 with 51 bids


2010 - $50 - 1 oz. U.S. Gold Buffalo Coin - .9999 Fine Gold

Time Left: 8d 2h 32m
$1,325.00 with 39 bids


1992 1 oz .9999 Fine Gold Isle of Man Cat Coin

Time Left: 2d 15h 4m
$1,320.00 with 52 bids


2014 1oz Gold American Eagle BU 

Time Left: 20h 25m
$1,302.00 with 7 bids


1 ounce American Eagle Gold Perfect Condition Year 2012

Time Left: 19h 2m
$1,300.00 with 1 bids


2005 $50 Dollar American 20th Anniversary COIN Gold Eagle MS-69 PCGS FULL OUNCE!

Time Left: 23h 36m
$1,300.00 with 9 bids


Random year $100 1oz Gold Australian Kangaroo .9999

Time Left: 1d 23h 2m
$1,300.00 with 15 bids


1998 $50 1oz Gold Maple Leaf WTC Ground Zero Recovery PCGS Gem Unc 0/11/01

Time Left: 6d 17h 40m
$1,300.00 with 11 bids


Random year $100 1oz Gold Australian Kangaroo .9999

Time Left: 19h 21m
$1,299.50 with 25 bids


1976 South Africa 1 oz Gold Krugerrand - SKU #87903

Time Left: 1d 20h 13m
$1,299.00 with 5 bids


1998 American Liberty Eagle 50 Dollars GOLD COIN

Time Left: 1d 18h
$1,295.00 with 31 bids


RARE KRUGERRAND 34 GRAMMES OR/GOLD 22 CARATS! ANNE"1975 RARE! NO RESERVE PRICE !

Time Left: 12h 40m
$1,294.50 with 18 bids


1999 1 oz. Gold Canadian Maple Leaf Coin 20 year anniversary .9999 Pure Gold

Time Left: 4d 15h 41m
$1,278.99 with 51 bids


2008 W $50 Gold Buffalo NGC PF70 Ultra Cameo Early Release

Time Left: 6d 20h 13m
$1,275.50 with 35 bids


2004 Gold Eagle Set $5, $10, $25, $50 PF70-70-70-69 Ultra Cameo NGC

Time Left: 3d 23h 20m
$1,275.00 with 6 bids


2008 $100 Australian Kangaroo Gold Coin

Time Left: 5d 16h 58m
$1,255.01 with 2 bids


2016 $50 Gold Eagle PCGS MS70 - Reagan Legacy Series

Time Left: 3d 2h 28m
$1,231.00 with 47 bids


2009 $50 1 oz .9999 Fine Gold Buffalo PCGS MS70 First Strike

Time Left: 6d 20h 14m
$1,225.00 with 73 bids


2008 GOLD Maple Leaf Coin $50 Canada BU

Time Left: 4d 12h 25m
$1,200.00 with 1 bids


Gold - American Buffalo (1 oz) $50 - Uncirculated - Random Date - 1 ounce

Time Left: 21h 27m
$1,125.00 with 22 bids


1996 $25 AMERICAN GOLD EAGLE NGC MS-69

Time Left: 3d 20h 48m
$860.00 with 2 bids


1 Oz. 100th Anniversary .9999 Gold Buffalo Early Releases Coin

Time Left: 9d 20h 53m
$860.00 with 4 bids


1992 U.S. $50 1 oz fine gold Liberty coin Brilliant Circulated (not graded)

Time Left: 6d 11h 47m
$798.87 with 7 bids


2007-W $25 Gold Eagle NGC PF70 Ultra Cameo

Time Left: 2d 3h
$700.00 with 28 bids


2013 $25 Gold Eagle PCGS MS70 - Reagan Legacy Series

Time Left: 3d 3h 20m
$696.00 with 20 bids


1990 “Roman Numeral” Quarter Ounce Gold United States Eagle UNC

Time Left: 4d 27m
$671.00 with 2 bids


2016-W 50c Gold Walking Liberty Half Dollar Centennial 1/2 oz NGC SP69 FR 100th

Time Left: 20h 12m
$669.00 with 17 bids


1977 Canada 22K-22kt Gold $100 Coin - Jubilee Elizabeth II - with case & CAO

Time Left: 12h 36m
$664.93 with 1 bids


1996-W $25 GOLD AMERICAN EAGLE PROOF**PCGS PR70DCAM**TONING**TRUE AUCTION!

Time Left: 45m 58s
$660.00 with 9 bids


1995-W AMERICAN GOLD EAGLE $25 1/2 OZ NGC PF 70 ULTRA CAMEO

Time Left: 1d 1h 32m
$660.00 with 13 bids


FIVE PCGS Gold Coins MS70 1/10 Oz (No Reserve)

Time Left: 2d 22h 26m
$660.00 with 8 bids


2016-W 50c Gold Walking Liberty Half Dollar Centennial 1/2 oz NGC SP69 FR 100th

Time Left: 20h 12m
$659.00 with 18 bids


2016-W 50c Gold Walking Liberty Half Dollar Centennial 1/2 oz NGC SP69 ER 100th

Time Left: 20h 12m
$658.00 with 16 bids


2015-W UNC $10 Gold First Spouse Jacqueline Kennedy NGC MS70 First Releases

Time Left: 20h 12m
$656.98 with 25 bids


2015-W UNC $10 Gold First Spouse Jacqueline Kennedy NGC MS70 Early Releases

Time Left: 20h 12m
$655.55 with 22 bids


2016 $25 Gold Eagle PCGS MS70 - Reagan Legacy Series

Time Left: 3h
$651.00 with 36 bids


1998 American Eagle $25 Dollar Fine Gold Coin KM 218, .9167

Time Left: 19h 1m
$651.00 with 10 bids


1998 US 1/2oz GOLD BU EAGLE NGC MS69 L4367

Time Left: 23h 49m
$650.00 with 25 bids


Australian Currency, 1999, 1/2 Oz .9999 Fine Gold, $50 Golden Nugget Coin

Time Left: 19h 34m
$649.00 with 1 bids


1987 $25 1/2oz Proof American Gold Eagle

Time Left: 1d 22h 45m
$640.00 with 6 bids


2015-W UNC $10 Gold First Spouse Mamie Eisenhower NGC MS70 Early Releases

Time Left: 20h 50m
$630.00 with 16 bids


1/2 oz Gold American Eagle BU - 2012

Time Left: 1d 37m
$630.00 with 15 bids


2016-W $25 Gold Eagle PCGS PR70 First Day 30th Anniversary 1 of 100! GOLD FOIL

Time Left: 6d 1h 55m
$630.00 with 20 bids


2016 $25 American Gold Eagle 1/2 oz NGC MS69 30th Anniv. ER Label

Time Left: 1d 21h 18m
$621.00 with 14 bids


2009 EARLY RELEASES $25 AMERICAN EAGLE 1/2 OUNCE FINE GOLD COIN - NGC MS 70

Time Left: 23h 28m
$618.71 with 22 bids


1853 $10.00 Liberty Head gold piece! A mintage of just 201,253! NO RESERVE!

Time Left: 5d 23h 25m
$565.00 with 5 bids


1923 Mexican Gold 50 Pesos Bu

Time Left: 4d 20h 40m
$520.00 with 31 bids


China 450 Yuan 1979 , Jahr des Kindes , *17,17 Gramm-900 Gold* Proof (1042 C )

Time Left: 6d 16h 30m
$514.45 with 27 bids


2003 Gold Eagle Set $5, $10, $25, $50 PF70 Ultra Cameo NGC

Time Left: 5d 23h 25m
$510.00 with 3 bids


2005 Gold Eagle Set $5, $10, $25, $50 PF69 PF69 PF69 & PF70 Ultra Cameo NGC

Time Left: 6d 25m
$510.00 with 3 bids


1967 Canada $20 Gold Centennial, PCGS PR67CAM, No Reserve!

Time Left: 5d 23h 54m
$485.00 with 7 bids


American Eagle Gold Coin 1/4 Oz 1995 $10 Bullion .25 Quarter Ounce Round Liberty

Time Left: 1d 26m
$480.00 with 18 bids


1906-S $10 LIBERTY HEAD EAGLE 90% GOLD US COLLECTIBLE COIN - XF-AU CONDITION

Time Left: 1d 13h 51m
$458.00 with 29 bids


Thailand 4000 Bath 1981,Jahr des Kindes *17,17 Gramm-900 Gold* Proof (1043 C )

Time Left: 6d 17h 4m
$447.50 with 9 bids


1887-S $5 Liberty Head Gold Half Eagle NGC MS63 Brown Label .24187 ozt

Time Left: 3d 20h 37m
$415.00 with 17 bids


2008-W Pure .9999 24K $5 Gold Proof Indian Buffalo .1oz Coin w/US Mint OGP COA

Time Left: 4d 22h 10m
$405.00 with 2 bids


2019-W Proof $5 Gold Apollo 11 50th Ann NGC PF70 UC FDOI ASF Label FIRST DAY

Time Left: 2d 55m
$394.00 with 33 bids


2019-W UNC $5 Gold Apollo 11 50th Ann NGC MS70 FDOI ASF Label First Day

Time Left: 25m 38s
$382.00 with 28 bids


1899 $5 Liberty Head Gold Half Eagle NGC MS63+ Brown Label .24187 ozt

Time Left: 3d 19h 25m
$370.00 with 24 bids


2017 U.K. 25 Pound 1/4 oz Gold Queen's Beast The Griffin Brilliant Uncirculated

Time Left: 20h 44m
$360.00 with 15 bids


2019-W UNC $5 Gold Apollo 11 50th Ann NGC MS70 FDOI ASF Label First Day

Time Left: 2d 25m
$360.00 with 19 bids


2019-W UNC $5 Gold Apollo 11 50th Ann NGC MS70 FDOI ASF Label First Day

Time Left: 1d 1h 35m
$356.00 with 9 bids


1/4 ounce gold eagle

Time Left: 1d 22h 3m
$348.30 with 13 bids


2019-W UNC $5 Gold Apollo 11 50th Ann NGC MS70 FDOI ASF Label First Day

Time Left: 6d 1h 35m
$347.00 with 13 bids


2019-W UNC $5 Gold Apollo 11 50th Ann NGC MS70 FDOI ASF Label First Day

Time Left: 5d 25m
$346.00 with 8 bids


1986 1/4 oz Gold American Eagle

Time Left: 2d 6h 47m
$335.00 with 3 bids