Lost 1879 Stella Gold Coin Returned at ANA Show


Honesty turned out to be its own reward when it came to a gold coin lost at the recent American Numismatic Association’s National Money Show in Portland, Oregon.

Close up recovered 1879 Stella gold coin
The 1879 Flowing Hair $4 “Stella” that Brian Hendelson lost and Chris Nokes found at the 2015 ANA National Money Show in Portland, Oregon. Photo credit: Donn Pearlman

Brian Hendelson, owner of Classic Coin Company in Bridgewater, New Jersey, accidentally lost an 1879 Flowing Hair variety Stella gold coin the day before the ANA National Money Show started. Valued at nearly $60,000, the coin amazingly found its way back to Hendelson the next morning.

"It was not my coin," said Brian Hendelson about the 1879 "Stella" gold coin which had gone missing. "Another dealer had given it to me to see if I was interested in buying it. After looking at it, I thought I had placed it on the back table at my booth, and then went outside to the hallway to meet someone."

After returning to his booth, though, Hendelson discovered that the gold piece was not on the table. Frantic searching ensued but yielded no results. As the show was about to close for the evening, Hendelson had no choice but to report the coin lost.

Fortunate happenstance and an honest person continue the story. Chris Nokes of Kirkland, Washington, found the coin.

"Because I arrived earlier than planned in Portland, I walked to the convention center to get to know the route from my hotel," explained Chris Nokes who found the missing gold coin. "I saw a coin on the hallway floor as I walked away from the ANA information desk."

Nokes picked up the 1879 Stella Gold Coin, which had a $59,500 sticker on its holder, and made a decision that not everyone would.

"I certainly could have used $60,000… but this was not my coin," Nokes said. "I thought about what the person was going through who lost the coin. I couldn’t just hand this over to anybody, so I wanted to treat this very carefully. "

Mr. Nokes requested to meet with National Money Show officials and turned the gold coin over to them.

Brian Hendelson with 1879 Stella gold coin
Brian Hendelson reunited with the lost 1879 Flowing Hair Stella. Photo credit: Donn Pearlman

The Stella was reunited with Brian Hendelson the next morning.

"Brian and I exchanged our stories and emotions about the coin, and we were both happy that everything worked out. I know I did the right thing. I feel really good about the ending," said Nokes.

Hendelson not only thanked Nokes but also gave him a 1925 Saint-Gaudens Double Eagle graded PCGS MS63.

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Honest man, good for him. And nice to see he was rewarded too.

But…who would casually put a Stella on a back table and walk away? Especially in a crowded room full of strangers?


Nice reward from Mr. Hendelson! A 1925 Saint worth around $1,600!!