Five rare gold coins minted in the mid-1880s at the behest of Mormon leader Brigham Young were to be auctioned Tuesday, and appraisers said they could fetch from $3,000 to $20,000 apiece.
The coins, owned by a variety of collectors from around the United States, were to be sold at the Boyers and Merena auction house along with other coins, said chief appraiser Michael Hodder.Minted at the Deseret Mint in the Salt Lake Valley from 1948 to 1860, the Mormon coins were struck in denominations of $2.50, $5, $10 and $20.
All were of the same design: a three-pointed crown over the eye of Jehovah and inscribed with the words, "Holiness to the Lord."
The reverse showed the date and denomination, two clasped hands and the initials of the words, "Great Salt Lake City, pure gold."
Nearly 70,000 of the coins were minted, but so many found their way eastward that by 1851, Young declared that gold coins couldn't be found in what now is Salt Lake City.
The coins became even rarer when U.S. gold coins began to appear in Utah, and many of the Mormon coins were melted and returned to the mint.