An American couple was lucky to discover a treasure filled with gold coins with a total value of up to $10 million, buried on their property in Northern California.
The incredible find
The couple, from California, unexpectedly discovered this treasure under an old tree while walking their dog in the garden. This treasure consists of 1,427 gold coins, dating from 1847 to 1894.
The coins, with the denominations of $5, 10, and 20 were in uncirculated and mint condition. Mr. David Hall, a co-founder of the Professional Coin Grading Service of Santa Ana, said that in this treasure, there were quite a few rare coins, so the value could be up to nearly $1 million apiece.
“It’s quite a story. People were walking along on their property in Northern California, noticed something, began digging and they found cans of gold coins,” Hall said. “It should have happened to you and me.”
After authenticating the find, Hall also regarded the gold coin discovery as the largest of its kind in US history.
The couple spotted something shiny on the ground when they were walking their dog, then dug up and eventually discovered eight metal cans of 1,427 gold coins.
No one knows how they got there, or whom the coins might have belonged to.
“Somebody could have buried them and then died before they let anybody know where they were,” Hall said. “Believe it or not, I know cases where they forgot they had something, or they moved or whatever … It could have been some kind of robbery deal … Who knows?”
Being discovered near a hill called Saddle Ridge, the treasure was named after the hill itself.
The couple, in their 40s, plan to sell the gold coins on Amazon and keep only a few coins as souvenirs.
Approximately 90% of the coins would go up on Amazon.com’s “Collectibles” site, according to Don Kagin, head of Kagin’s, Inc., who was assisting the anonymous owners.
He said the couple wants to donate some of the proceeds to charity.
“Basically they’re thankful and they think it’s wonderful that they’re going to be able to save their property that they thought they might lose and, again, they want to give back to the community and to needy people,” he said.
Beside donating the coins to charities, the couple would use the proceeds to pay off debt and save for retirement. The two do not want this incident to disturb their lives.
Before being put on sale, part of the treasure would go on display at the National Money Show in Atlanta organized by the Mint Industry Research Council.
“Unlike other hoards and treasures, this one includes a great variety of coins struck over many different years, and many of the coins are still in pristine condition,” Kagin said.
“And add to that a wonderful human interest story: this family literally found the pot of gold at the end of the rainbow.”
The 6-gold-coin-bag theft
The San Francisco Chronicle reported that the incident was related to a gold coin theft that occurred in the state of California.
A theft of 6 bags of Double Eagle gold coins worth $30,000 happened on June 29, 1901. These bags were filled with $20 Double Eagle gold coins that have mysteriously disappeared from the US Mint in San Francisco.
After months of intensely searching for the lost assets, investigators concluded that Walter Dimmick, the former San Francisco Mint clerk, was the perpetrator. So, Mr. Dimmick was jailed, but so far the stolen gold coins have remained undiscovered.
The San Francisco Chronicle cited a newspaper report that around the time of the theft, new unused coins totaled $27,000, similar to the Saddle Ridge treasure. Then, there were many theories about the origin of the treasure stemming from the aforementioned theft. However, historians and officials of the United States Mint, which produced the gold coins, have rejected these theories.
“We do not have any information linking the Saddle Ridge Hoard coins to any thefts at any United States Mint facility,” said Adam Stump, a spokesman for the United States Mint. “We’ve done quite a bit of research, and we’ve got a crack team of lawyers, and trust me, if this was U.S. government property we’d be going after it.”
Mr. Don Kagin also refuses to accept the above theories for a number of reasons. Accordingly, at the US Mint, thieves stole bags of $20 gold coins, while the Saddle Ridge treasure contained both $5, $10 coins and other denominations.
Furthermore, the stolen coins were in a new, unused state and the mined coins were mostly used. Mr. Kagin thinks the most plausible theory is that the gold coins found was from a person working in the mining industry.
At that time, this person may have put the coins in metal jars and buried in the ground because he did not trust the bank.