Editor's note: The following post is part of CoinWorld.com's
'Collecting Basics' series, which provides novice readers with an
introduction into the numismatic hobby.
The Saddle Ridge Hoard is a notable collection of 1,427 U.S. gold
coins of the 19th century discovered in 2013 by a couple walking their
dog on their property in California gold country near the Sierra
Coin World senior editor Paul Gilkes reported
in an article published online on May 16, 2014, that most of the
coins, which were found stashed in eight metal cans, are Coronet $20
double eagles dated between 1855 and 1894, struck at the San Francisco Mint.
There are, however, coins that are dated as early as 1847 and as
late as 1894, and coins that were struck at the Philadelphia Mint,
Carson City Mint and Dahlonega Mint.
Altogether, the collection of coins is worth an estimated $10
million according to Kagin’s, the California dealer who helped the
finders market the collection.
"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,” Gilkes wrote. "Curiosity eventually
became strong enough for the couple to investigate further. And what
the couple discovered can only be described as miraculous.”
One of the Saddle Ridge coins is an 1866-S Coronet, No Motto gold
$20 double eagle graded PCGS Mint State 62 that is the finest known
certified by the grading service and estimated to be worth around $1 million.
Some of the coins were encrusted with dirt and rust after being
buried for years in the deteriorating cans. Still, for many of the
pieces, the surfaces of the coins underneath the encrusted dirt and
rust were in remarkable condition.
David McCarthy, Kagin’s senior numismatist and researcher, described
the first time he saw the coins after the couple brought them to
Kagin’s in plastic bags.
“I picked up a double eagle dated 1890[-S] and removed it from its
bag,” McCarthy said. "Looking at the tiny amount of metal that
was exposed, I could see that the coin underneath was essentially perfect."
find was made public in February 2014, though the couple remains
anonymous, known only as John and Mary.”
"It’s impossible to describe really, the strange reality of
that moment,” John said of discovering the first can of coins.
"When I told [Mary], the look of bewilderment — her mouth was so
wide open flies could have flown in and out several times.”
Mary said it was like finding “a wonderful hot potato."
The coins were listed
for sale on Amazon and Kagin’s website in May with great fanfare
to a market that was very curious about these coins.
a story published online on Aug. 22, Gilkes cited McCarthy as
saying that roughly 75 percent of the coins had been sold.
Through Amazon, interest was shown
from potential buyers in France, Germany, Japan, Great Britain,
Canada, Brazil and Hong Kong. McCarthy said Saddle Ridge coins offered
on Amazon were only available to U.S. customers at that time.
More from CoinWorld.com:
coin find among largest hoards in Great Britain
sure-fire ways to make money in coins: Watch inflection points
Mint gets ready to launch four-coin Kennedy silver half dollar set
on Oct. 28
Mint confiscates 1804 dollars — in the 19th century
Barber quarter graded Good 4 and sold for $5,875 'nearly perfect
for the grade': Market Analysis
Keep up with CoinWorld.com's 'Collecting Basics' series by signing
up for our free eNewsletters, liking
us on Facebook, and following us on Twitter. We're also on Instagram!