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Heritage chosen to auction newly discovered 1854-S Half Eagle
Fourth known specimen highlights ANA Platinum Night Auction Aug. 16. Photo Courtesy Numismatic Guaranty Corporation.


DALLAS, TX.- A previously unknown 1854-S Liberty Head Half Eagle — considered among the rarest of all U.S. coins — will be offered by Heritage Auctions after the firm was selected to bring the specimen to auction. Initially believed to be counterfeit, the gold coin is just the fourth specimen known to exist and will be the first to appear at auction since the 1982 sale of the Louis Eliasberg Collection.

"This discovery rewrites numismatic history," said Jim Halperin, Co-Founder of Heritage Auctions. "We are delighted to have been selected to auction this major find."

A New England man discovered the coin and sought the opinion of collectors and dealers who claimed it must assuredly be fake because of the coin's legendary rarity. Records indicate the San Francisco Mint struck just 268 Half Eagles in 1854, an extraordinarily low mintage for a U.S. gold coin produced during the California Gold Rush.

Of the three other known surviving examples, one is in the National Numismatic Collection at the Smithsonian Institution in Washington, D.C., and another remains in a private Texas collection. No one has seen the third coin since armed robbers stole it from the wealthy duPont family in 1967.

Seeking a final answer, the discoverer submitted his coin to the Numismatic Guaranty Corporation for authentication. After verifying the coin was not the stolen duPont specimen, NGC enlisted the help of the Smithsonian Institution, which provided photographs of its coin. The firm determined coin was authentic and graded the discovery as NGC XF 45, adding the phrase "Discovery of a Lifetime" to the coin's certification label.

"It's like finding an original Picasso at a garage sale," NGC Chairman Mark Salzberg said in a statement. "It's the discovery of a lifetime."

Heritage Auctions will present the previously unknown 1854-S Liberty Head Half Eagle in its Aug. 16 Platinum Night Auction during the American Numismatic Association's World's Fair of Money in Philadelphia.





Today's News

June 26, 2018

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Getty Museum opens major survey of 100 years of fashion photography

British Museum and "la Caixa" Banking Foundation renew exhibitions partnership

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O'Keeffe conservation reveals hidden insight into painting

The Woodstock Artists Association & Museum exhibits works by Douglas Navarra

Artist Margaret Zox Brown's solo exhibition on display in New York

Weatherspoon Art Museum acquires significant artworks

Exhibition explores the links between the Italian avant-gardes and artists based in the USA

SITE Santa Fe's building design by SHoP Architects wins 2018 American Architecture Award

Prince William visits Jordan's Roman ruins at Jerash

Heritage chosen to auction newly discovered 1854-S Half Eagle

Solo show of never-before-seen works by Kenny Scharf opens at Opera Gallery

Palais de Tokyo presents a season of exhibitions devoted to childhood

Fergus McCaffrey presents an exhibition surveying the works of Tetsumi Kudo and Carol Rama

The Phillips endows directorship in honor of George and Trish Vradenburg

International Print Center New York opens 'MULTILAYERED: New Prints 2018/Summer'

Hauser & Wirth presents Spiegelgasse (Mirror Alley) curated by Gianni Jetzer

[dip] Contemporary opens Thukral & Tagra's first solo show in Thailand at Central Embassy

Rare coral necklace sells for £36,830 at Ewbank's Auctions

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