An anonymous New England man had been told by a dozen people that his gold coin was a worthless fake – until coin experts verified that the antique was real.

Not only that, but the coin is easily worth millions of dollars.

The 164-year-old coin was minted as a $5 denomination during the California Gold Rush in 1854. Records indicate that only 268 of the coins were made by the San Francisco Mint, only three of which have survived to this day. The man’s coin has now been verified as the fourth.

The coin’s validity was authenticated by the Numismatic Guaranty Corporation (NGC), an organization that has verified over 40 million rare coins since 1987.

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“It’s like finding an original Picasso at a garage sale. It’s the discovery of a lifetime,” said Mark Salzberg, NGC Chairman.

“The owner of the coin is a life-long New England resident who wants to remain anonymous. He was stunned when we informed him that it is a genuine, multi-million dollar rare coin. He had shown it to a few collectors and dealers at a recent coin show, but everybody said they thought it was a fake because until now there were only three genuine surviving 1854 San Francisco Mint $5 gold pieces known,” explained Salzberg.

“Our initial reaction on examining the coin was utter disbelief that a rarity of this magnitude could still be discovered in this era,” said NGC President Rick Montgomery. “But upon seeing the coin in person for the first time it was apparent that the coin is genuine.”

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