June 8, 2016
Professional Coin Grading Service (www.PCGS.com) has graded the finest known example of an 1849 $20 Mormon (Regular Strike), assigning MS62 to the rare, gold coin.
The previous finest known example of the coin can be found at the Smithsonian, where it currently resides as part of the Lilly collection.
"I have viewed the famous Lilly coin in the Smithsonian National Collection," said David Hall, president of Collectors Universe. "As I stated in my narrative for PCGS CoinFacts, I believe PCGS would grade that coin MS61. This new discovery coin is, in my opinion, superior to the Lilly coin, and as such the finest known example of this historically important U.S. gold coin rarity. I've been paying attention to 'Territorial' gold for 46 years, and this is the finest Mormon $20 I have ever seen."
The coin was tucked away within a family's lock box for over 50 years, dating back to the 1960s, until it was discovered and brought to Ira & Larry Goldberg Auctioneers, who immediately submitted the coin to PCGS for authentication and grading.
Co-owner Larry Goldberg talked about the coin's striking appearance.
"When I first saw the coin, it was beyond belief to me that a Mormon $20 could have such wonderful luster and beautiful gold toning. I have handled several Mormon $20 gold coins and have never seen one in this condition," said Goldberg.
Mormon gold coins were minted from 1849 to 1860 in denominations of $2.5 to $20. Although the coins all feature the abbreviation "G.S.L.C.P.G.," which stands for "Great Salt Lake City Pure Gold," the gold used in the coins originated from California. According to the Red Book, the $20 Mormon is the first Double Eagle coin struck in the U.S. for general circulation, beating out the U.S. Government by one year.
The PCGS MS62 coin's historical significance, combined with its pristine condition and considerable rarity, will cause it to command significant value.
In 2014, another 1849 $20 Mormon gold coin with an estimated grade of PCGS AU58 sold for $558,125 at auction.
"The million dollar question is the MS62 coin's value. It is a very important and historical 'discovery' coin. It has yet to be determined if the coin will be privately sold, or featured as part of Goldberg's September auction," said Goldberg.
More information on the PCGS MS62 discovery coin, and other $20 Mormon gold coins, can be found on www.PCGScoinfacts.com.