Couple Finds $10M in Gold Coins on Dog Walk

The 1800s coins were buried on their property in northern California

By John Johnson,  Newser Staff

Posted Feb 25, 2014 5:58 PM CST

(Newser) – That was some dog walk. A couple in California's Sierra Nevada region out for a stroll on their own property unearthed an estimated $10 million in US gold coins from the 1800s, reports the San Francisco Chronicle. It's thought to be the most valuable such hoard ever found in the US. The happy discovery took place last year when the couple spotted a decaying canister sticking out of the ground near an old tree. They dug it out and found it to be stuffed with mint-condition rare coins. Then they found seven more canisters. In all, they ended up with 1,427 coins dated from 1847 to 1894 with a face value of $27,980.

"I don't like to say once-in-a-lifetime for anything, but you don't get an opportunity to handle this kind of material, a treasure like this, ever," numismatist Don Kagin tells the AP. He is representing the middle-aged couple, who are keeping their names and location private for obvious reasons. "It's like they found the pot of gold at the end of the rainbow." Kagin says the coins—collectively called the Saddle Ridge Hoard—will be up for sale on Amazon's collectibles site, probably in May. The best guess is that a miner buried the treasure long ago but died before cashing in. The couple plans to pay off their bills, donate quietly to local charities, and remain on their lucky land. (This makes last year's $250,000 discovery of coins just off Florida's coast look like chump change.)

One of the decaying metal canisters filled with 1800s-era U.S. gold coins that was unearthed in California.
One of the decaying metal canisters filled with 1800s-era U.S. gold coins that was unearthed in California.   (AP Photo/Saddle Ridge Hoard discoverers via Kagin's, Inc.)
This image provided by the Saddle Ridge Hoard discoverers via Kagin's Inc. shows one of the gold coins.
This image provided by the Saddle Ridge Hoard discoverers via Kagin's Inc. shows one of the gold coins.   (AP Photo/Saddle Ridge Hoard discoverers via Kagin's, Inc.)
One of the decaying canisters that was filled with gold coins.
One of the decaying canisters that was filled with gold coins.   (AP Photo/Saddle Ridge Hoard discoverers via Kagin's, Inc.)
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