Do you ever find yourself daydreaming about a far away world where you have mounds and mounds of gold in your backyard? Some people dream of roaming the Earth to hunt for buried treasure. One Sierra Nevada couple didn’t have to go that far. They dug it up in their back yard – about $10 million worth of 19th-century U.S. gold coins stuffed into rusty cans.
It’s believed to the biggest hoard of gold coins ever unearthed in the United States. And it’s going on sale soon. The bonanza emerged last year as the man and woman were walking their dog on their property in the Gold Country and noticed the top of a decaying canister poking out of the ground.
They dug it out with a stick, took it to their house and opened it up.
Inside was what looked like a batch of discs covered in dirt from holes that had rotted through the can.
A little brushing revealed nearly perfectly preserved $20 gold coins with liberty head designs on the front, dated from the 1890s. They ran back to the same spot, and when they were done digging they’d found a total of eight cans containing 1,427 coins – with a face value of $27,980.
According to the American Coin Treasures and Hoards, the bible of buried treasure finds, the biggest hoard of gold coins dug up before Saddle Ridge was a collection found by construction workers in Jackson, Tenn., in 1985. It had a face value of $4,500 and sold for $1 million.
Donald H. Kagin showed a photograph of the gold coins found on the S.S. Republic, one of the largest gold coin finds in history.
Kagin and McCarthy met with the couple in April, two months after the hoard was dug up and the inevitable attorneys had gotten involved.
Kagin, whose 81-year-old outfit is the nation’s oldest family-owned numismatic firm, said he’s planning to send the buyers a write-up of the collection’s place in Gold Country history. He did similar research when consulting on the gold chunks and coins fetched up from the record-setting shipwrecks of the SS Central America ($130 million value, in 1987) and SS Republic ($60 million value, in 2003).
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