Extremely rare $5 'Gold Rush' coin could be worth millions of dollars at auction

An extremely rare 1854 $5 gold coin could sell for millions of dollars when it is auctioned this month.

The 1854-S half eagle coin was struck in April 1854 one day after the opening of the San Francisco Mint, according to auction house Stack’s Bowers Galleries.

“To help deal with the overwhelming amount of gold discovered in California during the Gold Rush, the United States set up an official government Branch Mint in San Francisco in April 1854, the first such facility west of the Mississippi,” it said in a statement.

EXTREMELY RARE 1885 $1 COIN COULD BE WORTH $2M AT AUCTION

The 1854-S half eagle coin was struck in April 1854. (Stack's Bowers Galleries)

The 1854-S half eagle coin was struck in April 1854. (Stack's Bowers Galleries)

The coin, which is the first 1854-S half eagle minted, is one of just three examples known to exist.

“It has been graded AU-58+, far finer than the EF-45 example that brought $2.16 million in August 2018,” said Stack’s Bowers Galleries in a statement.

The $5 coin will be auctioned on March 20 in Baltimore.

EXTREMELY RARE 1894 DIME ONCE OWNED BY JERRY BUSS SELLS FOR $1.3M

The coin is the first 1854-S half eagle minted. (Stack's Bowers Galleries)

The coin is the first 1854-S half eagle minted. (Stack's Bowers Galleries)

Rare coins are big business. Last year, an extremely rare half-dollar coin from 1838 was sold at auction for $504,000.

An extremely rare 1894 dime--one of only 24 minted and once owned by former Lakers owner Jerry Buss--sold at auction for $1.32 million last year, including the buyer’s commission.

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In 2016, an 1894-S dime sold for $2 million at a Florida auction.

The Associated Press contributed to this article.  

Follow James Rogers on Twitter @jamesjrogers