Voices

Mainstream news and the coin hobby: not always golden

Editorial column from March 31, 2014, issue of Coin World
By Steve Roach - Coin World Staff
Published : 03/14/14
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It’s been a busy few weeks for gold coins in mainstream media, but not all of the angles taken by the press have been positive (or well-researched for that matter). 

First, there’s the fantastic Saddle Ridge Hoard story of 1,427 gold coins unearthed in California gold country. The find itself was an international media event that targeted people’s dreams of buried treasure. 

Then, after the euphoria cooled, mainstream news latched onto the possibility that the coins were stolen from the San Francisco Mint cashier’s office by an employee in 1901. 

Research into contemporary Mint practices shows that the types and dates of coins in the hoard were inconsistent with that theory, and that angle to the Saddle Ridge Hoard story quickly faded away.

Next, on March 11, ABC News reported that the Las Vegas store Gold and Silver Pawn Shop popularized in the History Channel TV series Pawn Stars may have melted down a collection of coins that may have been stolen at one time. Melting coins that trade close to bullion value is a situation that happens regularly at coin shops around the country, after stores meet the holding requirements that their local jurisdiction requires. It’s not unusual, except the affected party claims that the collection was full of rarities worth more than their melt value. 

Among the rarities was what ABC News described as, “a 1903 St. Gaudens $20 gold piece and Silver Morgan coins from the 1880s.”

A 1903 Saint-Gaudens $20 double eagle would be a rare find, for sure! 

The type was first minted in 1907.

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