Discovery of a lifetime: 'Fake' gold coin actually worth millions

Discovery of a lifetime: ‘Fake’ gold coin actually worth millions

Next time somebody tells you to maintain the change, perhaps it’s best to take heed to them.

A New England man, who has requested to stay nameless, believed a small gold coin with a $5 denomination from the San Francisco Mint in the course of the top of the California Gold Rush was a faux. It seems he was mistaken and the coin is now estimated to be worth “millions of dollars,” based on Numismatic Guaranty Corporation.

Numismatic Guaranty Corporation (NGC) licensed the extraordinarily uncommon coin as real, making it only one of three recognized in existence. “It’s like finding an original Picasso at a garage sale. It’s the discovery of a lifetime,” stated Mark Salzberg, NGC Chairman in a statement.


Slightly smaller than the fashionable quarter-dollar, the coin was minted in 1854 and has amazed its nameless proprietor.

Mistakenly believed by its anonymous New England owner to be a fake, this historic gold coin now has been authenticated as “the discovery of a lifetime” by Numismatic Guaranty Corporation ( in Sarasota, Florida as only the fourth known surviving example of a $5 denomination coin struck at the San Francisco Mint during the California Gold Rush in 1854.  It is worth millions of dollars, according to NGC. Photos courtesy of Numismatic Guaranty Corporation (PRNewsfoto/Numismatic Guaranty Corporation)

 (Credit: Numismatic Guaranty Corporation)

“He was stunned when we informed him that it is a genuine, multi-million dollar rare coin,” Salzberg added. “He had shown it to a few collectors and dealers at a recent coin show, but everybody said they thought it was a fake because until now there were only three genuine surviving 1854 San Francisco Mint $5 gold pieces known.”

Mint data point out that simply 268 of these cash have been made within the San Francisco mint in 1854, the primary 12 months they have been produced.

The different recognized cash in existence have a storied historical past. One is positioned on the National Numismatic Collection on the Smithsonian Institution in Washington, DC. and one other was stolen from the Du Pont household in 1967 and has by no means been recovered, based on

In whole, the thieves stole greater than 7,000 uncommon cash, together with the extremely uncommon $5 piece, often known as a Liberty Half Eagle. Once the authenticators decided that this was not the stolen DuPont coin, they have been desperate to show the authenticity of the coin.


“We look for common things that you’ll see between the coins. You’ll see the four in the digit is slightly attenuated or not as high in relief as the regular part of the four. We noticed that was exactly the same as the Smithsonian piece,” NGC president Richard Montgomery advised Gizmodo.

“Our initial reaction on examining the coin was utter disbelief that a rarity of this magnitude could still be discovered in this era,” Montgomery added within the assertion.  “But upon seeing the coin in person for the first time it was apparent that the coin is genuine.”

Follow Chris Ciaccia on Twitter @Chris_Ciaccia

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