California couple stumbles upon multi-million-dollar hoard of United States gold coins

Underground treasure comprises 1,427 coins in eight metal cans
By , Coin World
Published : 05/16/14
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While the world's oceans and waterways have yielded valuable treasures from shipwrecks, treasures are also found on solid ground.

The Saddle Ridge Hoard was found secreted within eight metal canisters buried in California’s gold country. The majority of the coins are Coronet $20 double eagles struck at the San Francisco Mint from 1855 to 1894. Overall, coins in the hoard range in date from 1847 to 1894.

Examples represent strikes from the San Francisco Mint, Philadelphia Mint, Carson City Mint, and Dahlonega Mint.

The coins are now certified by the Professional Coin Grading Service, and more than a dozen of the coins are either the finest or tied for the finest that PCGS has graded for the specific date and Mint.

Collecting basics: What is the Saddle Ridge Hoard and why was it such big news?

The couple who found the stash of gold coins on their property while walking their dog early in February 2013 had traversed the landscape many times before and had even spotted one of the eight cans poking out of the ground. Curiosity eventually became strong enough for the couple to investigate further. And what the couple discovered can only be described as miraculous.

The couple has been identified only as “John and Mary.”

The lid popped off one of the cans, revealing the edge of one of the gold coins inside. Over the course of a week, the couple retrieved eight metal cans in total.

The couple contacted several numismatic firms, including Kagin’s in Tiburon, Calif. Kagin’s principal, Donald H. Kagin, is a specialist in pioneer and early U.S. gold coins and is author of Private Gold Coins and Patterns of the United States.

Kagin’s senior numismatist and researcher, David McCarthy, carefully examined each coin in the hoard. 

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