US Coins

Fourth known 1854-S gold half eagle surfaces

An 1854-S Coronet $5 gold half eagle that the owner believed might be counterfeit is genuine, authenticated by Numismatic Guaranty Corp., and only the fourth known specimen.

NGC grades the coin Extremely Fine 45.


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The New England owner of the coin did not disclose to grading service officials how he came to acquire the coin. After NGC determined the coin was genuine, the owner decided to consign it to public auction.

Three other examples are known from a mintage of 268 coins during the San Francisco Mint's first year of production: one in the National Numismatic Collection at the Smithsonian Institution’s National Museum of American History; a Professional Coin Grading Service About Uncirculated 58+ example in the Pogue family collection in Texas; and an example that has not been seen publicly since it was stolen during a daring armed robbery in 1967 at the Coconut Grove, Florida, estate of industrialist Willis H. DuPont.

NGC President Rick Montgomery told Coin World April 18 that a comparison of diagnostics from photographs of the DuPont coin, which was sold by Stack’s in 1962 as part of the Samuel Wolfson Collection, against those of the newly certified coin have convinced NGC officials that the newly certified piece is not the stolen DuPont coin.

PCGS CoinFacts notes that the PCGS Price Guide suggests a value of $1.75 million for an example in EF-45 condition.

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