Mormon Gold Coin To Hit Auction Block This Fall

SALT LAKE CITY, Utah, July 5, 2016 (Gephardt Daily) — A rare Mormon $20 coin stored in a family’s lock box for the past 50 years will go up for auction this September.

“It could go for $500,000 to $600,000, and that’s conservatively,” said George Ricks, a currency expert who works at Legacy Rare Coins, in Salt Lake City. “You never know when you get two people bidding who really want it.”Mormon-gold-coin

Such coins usually go for $92,000 to $522,000, depending on condition, Ricks said. This 1849 coin is rated Mint State 62 on a scale that goes up to 70. The gold piece was uncirculated and is close to blemish-free.

Another coin dealer predicts bidding on the 167-year-old coin could reach $1 million.

Ricks said members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints minted their own gold pieces for local exchange and for use purchasing supplies and other items from elsewhere in the United States.

Since Utah, then known as Deseret, was not part of the United States at the time, residents didn’t use U.S. currency, which was also in short supply in the west.

Utah became a U.S. territory in 1850 and a state in 1896, and the Mormon Mint — which Ricks said was located in one of church president Brigham Young’s residences, Beehive House — was phased out.

Very few of the territorial coins survived, Ricks said. In 1997, he sold a 1860 $5 Mormon gold coin for $52,000.

The rarest of the coins is the $10 gold piece, of which only a dozen are known to exist of the 47 reportedly minted.

As for the other denominations, the $2.50, the $5 and the $20 coins, the numbers of the surviving gold pieces are not known.

The LDS Church History museum has replicas of coins and the equipment used to make them. The designs of most coins are simple, showing clasped hands to signify strength and unity on one side, and an eye on the other.

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