US Coins

Sales of Saddle Ridge Hoard coins begin May 27 at benefit

The sale of the Saddle Ridge Hoard of 1,427 19th century U.S. gold coins unearthed in February 2013 in northern California will kick off May 27 with an auction to benefit the Old San Francisco Mint.

Sale of the remaining hoard coins will begin online soon after.

The San Francisco Museum and Historical Society will host an exclusive viewing of Saddle Ridge Hoard coins and artifacts at the Old Mint at 5th and Mission streets.

Among the items to be seen will be the rarest coin in the hoard — an 1866-S Coronet, No Motto $20 double eagle graded Mint State 62 by Professional Coin Grading Service.

General admission is $10 to the May 27 event, which starts at 7:30 p.m. Pacific Time, followed at 8:30 p.m. by the auctioning of a hoard coin — an 1874-S Coronet gold double eagle, one of the first coins struck at the Old Mint. The 1874-S double eagle is graded PCGS About Uncirculated 53. 

The coin was donated for the auction by the couple who found the hoard.

“The family who found the treasure are very excited about bringing the coins back to the actual U.S. Mint on 5th and Mission where most were originally struck over a century ago,” said Donald Kagin, whose firm, Kagin’s Inc. in Tiburon, Calif., is handling the marketing and sale of the treasure.

“This will be the only opportunity for the numismatic community in Northern California to view the best coins from the Saddle Ridge Hoard and participate in an auction of 2006 Old Mint commemorative coins as well as the 1874-S $20 Saddle Ridge coin which will benefit the establishment of the American Money and Gold Rush Museum at the S.F. Mint.”

In addition to the 1874-S double eagle to be sold at auction, at least one PCGS Proof 70 example each of the 2006-S San Francisco Old Mint gold $5 half eagle and the 2006-S San Francisco Old Mint silver dollars will be offered for bidding.

Other to-be-determined numismatic items may also be included, according to Kagin’s.

All proceeds from the May 27 event will benefit the Old Mint and help establish in the facility an American Money and Gold Rush Museum.

“The auction of the first Saddle Ridge Hoard coin represents a wonderful opportunity both to raise funds for the continued renovation of the Old Mint building, and to increase public awareness of this iconic landmark and the urgent need for funding its full restoration,” explained the museum and historical society’s president, Jim Lazarus.

Lazarus also thanked the finders of the hoard “for their appreciation of the Old Mint’s connection to the Saddle Ridge Hoard and California history, and their public spirited generosity in donating the auction proceeds.”

Sponsorship for the event will be provided by the Buena Vista Winery, whose founder, Agoston Haraszthy, worked as a coiner at the original U.S. Branch Mint in San Francisco in the 1850s.

At 9 p.m. Pacific Time (midnight Eastern Time), the remaining 1,426 coins comprising the Saddle Ridge Hoard will be offered for sale live on the and websites.

For further information, contact

Epic saga

The saga of the couple discovering the cache of 1,427 U.S. gold coins buried in eight metal canisters on their property while walking their dog has been reported by more than 1 million websites and news agencies worldwide, according to Kagin’s.

The hoard comprises four $5 half eagles, 50 $10 eagles, and 1,373 $20 double eagles.

The coins range in date from 1847 through 1894.

While most of the coins were struck at the first and second San Francisco Mints and bear the S Mint mark, the hoard also contains examples struck at the Carson City Mint, Dahlonega Mint, and the Philadelphia Mint.

“The Saddle Ridge Hoard’s owners immediately loved the idea of using one of these coins to help in the campaign to restore the Old Mint,” says David McCarthy, senior numismatist and researcher at Kagin’s. “None of us could think of a better way to kick off sales of the Saddle Ridge coins.”

The Granite Lady

The U.S. Government Service Administration sold the Old Mint (the second San Francisco Mint facility, nicknamed “The Granite Lady”) to the City of San Francisco for $1 in 2003.

The city then awarded San Francisco Museum and Historical Society a lease to develop “The Granite Lady” as the San Francisco Museum at the Mint, a museum of San Francisco history, and a money and Gold Rush museum.

The first San Francisco Mint opened its doors in 1854 to begin converting miners' gold into coins. Some $4 million in gold bullion was turned into United States coins the first year alone.

Two decades later, in 1874, the San Francisco Mint operations were moved to an imposing new facility featuring thick walls of granite, resembling an ancient Greek temple.

“The [San Francisco] Mint’s production of coins was uninterrupted for 32 years, until the disastrous earthquake of 1906,” according to the U.S. Mint’s website at “Because the gas works were partially destroyed, operations stopped temporarily. But the beautiful, solidly constructed Mint building survived both the earthquake and the ensuing firestorm.

“In fact, the Mint was the only financial institution capable of operating immediately after the disaster and became the treasury for disaster relief funds, performing other emergency banking services as well.

“Coining operations resumed soon afterward and continued in this building until 1937, when Mint workers moved to a larger, more modern facility, the present United States Mint at San Francisco.”

The San Francisco Museum and Historical Society has raised more than $14 million to develop the building for exhibits and events.

In 2013, more than 43,500 people attended events at the Old San Francisco Mint. 

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