Remember last year's story about the discovery of a previously unknown 1894-S dime? Well, as suspected, that turned out to be hogwash. However, sometimes these crazy stories turn out to be true. A
local Sarasota newspaper was among the first to publish news from NGC about the discovery of a previously unrecorded specimen of the ultrarare 1854-S Half Eagle. -Editor
A New England coin owner has hit the jackpot after a coin he purchased as a fake turned out to be a 164-year-old gold piece minted during the California Gold Rush.
The $5 coin, called a “Half Eagle,” is one of four known surviving examples minted in San Francisco in 1854, the first year coins were made there, according to the Numismatic Guaranty Corp. of Sarasota.
The Smithsonian Institution in Washington, D.C., and a Texas family own other examples. A third owned by industrialist Willis DuPont has not been seen since it was stolen in 1967.
The rare coin inspected by NGC is not the long-lost DuPoint coin, according to NGC President Rick Montgomery, who said markings shown on that coin in photographs ruled it out.
The newly discovered coin was graded to be an “extremely fine 45,” on the Sheldon Grading Scale — a 70-point condition score for coins. It is estimated to be worth millions.
The New Englander’s Half Eagle was “slightly worn” but close to its original weight. A friend of the man brought the coin to be inspected along with other coins. Other collectors and dealers had ruled that it was
They were mistaken.
“I think when they first purchased it they felt like anyone else — it’s too rare to be a real coin,” Montgomery said. “When they were told, ‘You have the real coin,’ they were quite shocked.”
As to why other coin experts rejected the coin, Montgomery says it’s existence is “unbelievable.”
“I think they went with the presumption anything this rare I’m not going to encounter,” Montgomery said. “They didn’t give it that detail to attention they should have.”
One of NGC’s chairman likened the discovery to finding a “Picasso at a garage sale,” Montgomery said.
Jeff Garrett of Lexington, Kentucky, a rare coin consultant to the Smithsonian and a former president of the American Numismatic Association, described the coin’s existence as “a stunning discovery” after Montgomery
showed him images of it.
But owning one of the rarest coins on earth is costly. Taxes could force the owner to sell it at auction or privately.
“It’s completely up there with the 1933 $20 gold piece,” said Montgomery of the $7.5 million coin embroiled in a court battle in 2011. “There’s only one in private hands. I had the great fortune to see that coin 15 years
ago or so. The 1854 Half Eagle is up there with a lot of other great rarities; it ranks with all the great rarities in the U.S. coinage.”
I reached out to U.S. gold specialist Doug Winter for a comment. -Editor
Can't add much to this other than my initial reaction which rhymed with Roly Wit... Amazing discovery!!
Researcher Dan Owens agrees with Doug. He wrote about the 1854-S $5 AND 1854-S $2 1/2 in the Coin World weekly December 14, 2015. -Editor
To read the complete article, see:
Sarasota firm says collector’s fake coin is actually real and worth millions
To read the earlier E-Sylum articles, see:
ARTICLE REPORTS 1894-S DIME DISCOVERY (http://www.coinbooks.org/v20/esylum_v20n38a15.html)
ARTICLE ON 1894-S DIME DISCOVERY WITHDRAWN (http://www.coinbooks.org/v20/esylum_v20n39a09.html)
Wayne Homren, Editor
The Numismatic Bibliomania Society is a non-profit organization
promoting numismatic literature. See our web site at coinbooks.org.
To submit items for publication in The E-Sylum, write to the Editor
at this address: email@example.com
To subscribe go to: https://my.binhost.com/lists/listinfo/esylum
Copyright © 1998 - 2012 The Numismatic Bibliomania Society (NBS)
All Rights Reserved.
NBS Home Page
Contact the NBS webmaster