A Husband and Wife Are Reveling In Their Good Fortune
In Northern California, a husband and wife found hundreds of rare gold coins on their property and are now reveling in their good fortune.
Reminiscent of fabled hunts for buried treasure, this story of a Sierra Nevada couple who found a fortune in their backyard is almost as unlikely. Together, they dug up rusty cans stuffed with 19th century U.S. gold coins worth approximately $10 million dollars.
Believed to be the largest hoard of gold coins ever unearthed in the United States, the couple has decided to sell them.
Last year, good fortune struck while the man and woman were walking their dog on their Gold Country property and noticed a decaying canister buried in the ground. Using a stick, they dug the canister out of the ground and opened it up. Inside the rotting can they found what looked like a bunch of dirt-covered discs. It turns out they weren’t discs, they were coins.
Cleaning revealed liberty head designs on the front side of $20 gold coins, likely from the 1890s. Thinking there might be more coins, they continued digging and found a total of eight cans containing 1,427 coins – estimated to be worth $27,980.
Most of the coins, 1,373, were $20 gold coins, fifty were $10 gold coins and four were $5 coins. The coins were minted between 1847 and 1894, and after a thorough cleaning, their shine was restored because thankfully gold does not corrode. About a third of the coins were never circulated, leaving them in pristine condition. The majority were minted in San Francisco.
The couple consulted a rare coin dealer after making the discovery and talked about how unbelievable it was to find buried treasure in their own backyard. They joked that while digging up their cans they were waiting for a miner and a mule to appear.
To avoid attracting treasure seekers to their land, the couple has decided to remain anonymous and keep the location of their find secret. However, they have allowed coin dealer Don Kagin of Tiburon, an expert who helped evaluate some of the biggest sunken treasure finds in history, to put the collection up for sale.
The collection is named the Saddle Ridge Hoard, after the spot on the couple’s property where it was found. The Saddle Ridge Hoard, is reportedly worth at least $10 million due to the excellent condition of most of the coins.
Kagin said that this story was like one of those fantastic Wild West stories, except it really happened. Even more amazing is that most of the collection is in pristine condition.
He and his senior numismatist, David McCarthy, arranged the collection of coins and cans for inspection at their office. American Coin Treasures and Hoards, the people who, in a sense, wrote the book on buried treasure, say that prior to the Saddle Ridge Hoard the biggest hoard of gold coins found in the United States was dug up by construction workers in Jackson, Tenn., in
1985. The collection contained gold coins with a face value of $4,500 and sold for $1 million.
Two months after the initial find, the couple and their lawyers met up with Kagin and McCarthy. Initially, the family was terrified by the find and had reburied the coins until they could decide what to do with them.
When McCarthy first examined the find, he pulled out a dirty gold coin and found it was from 1890. He was stunned and amazed by the find, calling it the most amazing buried treasure he’d ever seen.
McCarthy spent several months restoring the coins. This month, he finally finished. All the coins have been restored, appraised and are ready for sale.
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