Gold Coins Without “In God We Trust” On It Aren’t Necessarily Valuable

Not too long ago, a bunch of old U.S. gold coins were dug up in a California couple’s backyard.

One of the coins — an 1874 $20 Double Eagle — fetched a reported $15,000 at auction.

All told, roughly 1,400 coins were unearthed, which are expected to pull in over $10 million when the dust settles.

Bidding for the most expensive coin, an 1866-S Double Eagle without the “In God We Trust” motto, started at $1.2 million.

That brief description has led to so much confusion spurred by collectors who have old coins without “In God We Trust” on it and who think they’re sitting on a goldmine, that the Certified Gold Exchange (a private company) had to issue a press release reminding people that the phrase wasn’t always on U.S. currency:

… Certified Gold Exchange spokesperson Janet Jones and her team in Fort Worth have fielded “innumerable” phone calls from individuals who, according to Jones, “either think they have hit the jackpot or are in possession of something completely worthless.”

Jones says the likelihood is that neither circumstance is true. “The U.S. Mint produced gold coins that did not say ‘In God We Trust’ during parts of multiple years, although the most widely distributed ‘no motto’ coin is the 1908 St. Gaudens Double Eagle,” Jones said. “Such coins trade at the same levels as other common-date gold coins which include the motto.”

I had an experience several years ago where a colleague realized he had a dollar bill without the phrase on the back of it. He thought it was a typo — a valuable typo — until I mentioned that no paper bills had the phrase before the 1950s. It wasn’t valuable. Just kind of cool.

(Image via Shutterstock. Thanks to Brian for the link)

About Hemant Mehta

Hemant Mehta is the editor of Friendly Atheist, appears on the Atheist Voice channel on YouTube, and co-hosts the uniquely-named Friendly Atheist Podcast. You can read much more about him here.


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