California couple's buried gold coins go for sale

May 27 2014, 4:52pm CDT | by

SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — A treasure trove of rare gold coins that were discovered by a California couple out walking their dog last year are set to go on sale. The nearly 1,430 coins date from 1847 to 1894 and have been valued at more than $11 million. One will be auctioned at the Old San Francisco Mint on Tuesday at 8:30 p.m. Most of the rest will go on sale on Amazon.com and Kagin's.com later at night. Here are five things to know about the coins and their origin:

WHY ARE THEY SO VALUABLE?

Experts say paper money was illegal in California until the 1870s, so it's extremely rare to find any coins from before that period. Additionally, most of the coins are in mint condition, having been stashed away seemingly immediately after they were minted. They were valued by Don Kagin, a numismatist who is handling the sale and marketing of the coins.

WHO FOUND THEM?

Kagin says the couple — a middle-aged husband and wife — does not want to be identified in part to avoid a gold rush on their rural Northern California property by modern-day prospectors. They discovered the coins in eight cans buried in the shadow of an old tree on the property. They plan to keep a few of the coins themselves and use the money from the rest to pay off bills and donate to local charities. Money from Tuesday's auction will benefit the effort to turn the Old Mint into a museum.

WHERE DID THE COINS COME FROM?

Most of the coins were minted at the San Francisco Mint, according to Kagin. It's not clear, however, who put them in the ground or how they were obtained, though theories have abounded. Kagin says people have linked the coins to stagecoach bandit Black Bart, outlaw Jesse James and a theft at the San Francisco Mint, but none of the theories has panned out.

WHAT IS IN THE COLLECTION?

The treasure consists of four $5 gold pieces, fifty $10 gold pieces, and 1,373 $20 double eagles. Among the coins that will be on display Tuesday is the crown jewel of the collection — an 1866-S No Motto $20 gold piece valued at more than $1 million.

HOW DOES THIS DISCOVERY COMPARE TO OTHER COIN FINDS?

Kagin calls this coin find the largest such discovery in U.S. history. One of the largest previous finds of gold coins was uncovered by construction workers in Jackson, Tennessee, in 1985 and valued at $1 million. More than 400,000 silver dollars were found in the home of a Reno, Nevada, man who died in 1974 and were later sold intact for $7.3 million. Gold coins and ingots said to be worth as much as $130 million were recovered in the 1980s from the wreck of the SS Central America. But historians knew roughly where that gold was because the ship went down off the coast of North Carolina during a hurricane in 1857.

 
 

Don't miss ...

 

<a href="/latest_stories/all/all/31" rel="author">Associated Press</a>
The Associated Press (AP) is one of the largest and most trusted sources of independent newsgathering, supplying a steady stream of news to its members, international subscribers and commercial customers.

 

blog comments powered by Disqus

Latest stories

Indian American scientist develops path to brighter LCD displays
Washington, Nov 24 (IANS) Researchers led by an Indian-American have developed a polarising filter that can result in mobile device displays that last much longer on a single battery charge and cameras that can shoot in dim light.
 
 
Xi Jinping-Peng Liyuan love story goes viral on internet
Beijing, Nov 24 (IANS/EFE) A music video that tells the story of the deep love between Chinese President Xi Jinping and his wife Peng Liyuan has gone viral on the internet with more than 22 million views in a week, the People's Daily reported Monday.
 
 
Italian doctor contracts Ebola in Sierra Leone
Rome, Nov 24 (IANS) A doctor working for a voluntary organisation in Sierra Leone has become the first Italian to contract Ebola, media reported Monday.
 
 
Complete fossil of small dinosaur found
Seoul, Nov 24 (IANS/EFE) South Korean paleontologists have found a complete fossil of a small dinosaur in rare condition, the first such discovery of its kind in the country, according to the National Research Institute of Cultural Heritage in Seoul.
 
 
 

Latest from the Network

Turkey rejects easing relations with Egypt
Istanbul, Nov 24 (IANS) Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said Monday that he rejected the reconciliation efforts for friendly relations with Egypt. Turkey does not accept the legitimacy of Egyptian President...
Read more on Politics Balla
 
US defence chief Chuck Hagel forced out
Washington, Nov 24 (IANS) In a surprise development, US Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel resigned Monday reportedly under pressure amid criticism of President Barack Obama's national security team over how to deal with...
Read more on Politics Balla
 
Bette Midler slams 'silly' Ariana Grande
Bette Midler has slammed Ariana Grande's ''silly high voice''. The 68-year-old actress hit out at the 21-year-old star's sexy music videos for being ''silly beyond belief'', and insists the 'Bang Bang' hitmaker's...
Read more on Celebrity Balla
 
Demi Lovato: Me and Miley have nothing in common
Demi Lovato insists she and Miley Cyrus won't be friends again because they have nothing in common. The 22-year-old singers were good pals during their rise to fame but the 'Heart Attack' hitmaker admits that while she...
Read more on Celebrity Balla
 
Indian American scientist develops path to brighter LCD displays
Washington, Nov 24 (IANS) Researchers led by an Indian-American have developed a polarising filter that can result in mobile device displays that last much longer on a single battery charge and cameras that can shoot...
Read more on Politics Balla
 
Kohl's Black Friday Sale launched Online
The Kohl's Black Friday 2014 sale starts at 6pm on Thanksgiving Day in stores, but has launched now on kohls.com. Kohl's offers again the popular $15 Kohl's Cash on every $50 spent in this year's Black Friday sale. This...
Read more on Black Friday Countdown
 
Brenton Thwaites for Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales
Brenton Thwaites will star in 'Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales'. The star will play the role of British soldier Henry, beating fellow actors such as Ansel Elgort of 'The Fault In Our Stars' and George...
Read more on Movie Balla
 
Josh Hutcherson 'moves on' from young adult movies
Josh Hutcherson wants to ''move on'' from young adult films like 'The Hunger Games'. The 22-year-old actor - who has starred in four films based on the dystopian 'Hunger Games' novels since 2011 - plans to explore other...
Read more on Movie Balla
 
33 IS militants killed in Iraq's Mosul, two towns retaken (Roundup)
Baghadad, Nov 24 (IANS) At least 33 militants of the Islamic State (IS) died Monday in the Iraqi city of Mosul and the surrounding area, including a leader who was responsible for the sale of kidnapped Yazidi women,...
Read more on Politics Balla
 
Jailbreak in Argentina, 32 inmates escape
Buenos Aires, Nov 24 (IANS/EFE) Thirty-two inmates escaped over the weekend from a police jail in Rosario, a city in central Argentina, police said Monday. The inmates broke out of the jail Sunday by threatening the...
Read more on Politics Balla