A California couple who discovered a $10 million hoard of buried gold coins may not have been that fortunate after all.
According to a published report, the coins were possibly stolen from the US Mint in 1900 and are thus government property.
According to the San Francisco Chronicle’s website, knowledge of the heist was discovered through a search of the Haiti Trust Digital Library given by Northern California fishing guide Jack Trout, a historian and collector of rare coins.
The unidentified California couple discovered the edge of an old can on a trail they had trekked many times before some months ago. Poking about in the container was the first step toward discovering a buried treasure of rare coins worth $10 million.
“It was like discovering a hot potato,” the pair said to Don Kagin of Kagin’s, Inc., a coin specialist. To represent them, the couple recruited the president of Kagin’s, Inc. and Holabird-Kagin Americana, a western Americana dealer and auctioneer.
The coins are primarily uncirculated and in mint condition, with a face value of $27,000 total. “Those two facts match the gold robbery from the San Francisco Mint in 1900,” the newspaper stated.
According to Ack Trout, an 1866 Liberty $20 gold piece lacking the phrases “In God, We Trust” was among the hidden treasures, and the coin might cost more than $1 million at auction due to its scarcity.
Trout told the newspaper, “This was someone’s secret currency, manufactured by the mint manager or someone with access to the inner workings of the Old Granite Lady (San Francisco Mint).” “It was most likely developed in retaliation for Lincoln’s assassination the previous year” (April 14, 1865).
I don’t think that coin ever made it out of The Mint until the heist. Its appearance as part of the treasure trove connects it directly to that inside job at the San Francisco Mint at the turn of the century.”
When contacted by ABC News today, Mint spokesperson Adam Stump stated, “We do not have any information tying the Saddle Ridge Hoard coins to any thefts at any United States Mint site.” Surviving San Francisco Mint agency documents have been retired to the National Archives and Records Administration (NARA) under Record Group 104.
When word of the hoard initially emerged last week, coin trader Kagin remarked on the rarity of such a find.
“People have been coming to us with one or two coins worth a few thousand dollars since 1981, but this is the first time we’ve had someone with an entire stockpile of hidden coins… “It’s a million to one shot, far more difficult than winning the lottery,” Kagin told ABCNews.com.
After discovering the five cans of money on their Tiburon property in northern California this spring and completing an interview with Kagin, the couple is attempting to stay incognito.
“I never imagined we’d come upon something like this. “However, I feel like I’ve been prepping my entire life for it,” the pair explained.
“I noticed an old can jutting out of the dirt on a route we’d walked practically every day for many, many years.” I was gazing down in the appropriate place when I noticed the side of the container. “I went down to scrape some moss off and saw it had both ends,” they explained.
It was the first of five cans discovered, each containing gold coins.
“Nearly all of the 1,427 coins, ranging from 1847 to 1894, are in mint condition,” Kagin told ABCNews.com.
He stated that the pair intends to sell the majority of the coins, but first “loan some to the American Numismatic Association for its National Money Show, which begins Thursday in Atlanta.”
“Some of the rarest coins might sell up to a million dollars,” said Kagin. He also stated that they want to sell 90% of the collection on Amazon.com and its website.
“We’d like to use part of this money to aid others.” People in our neighborhood are hungry and do not have enough to eat. We’ll also give to the arts and other underserved causes. In some ways, the period between finding the coins and selling them has been beneficial in terms of preparing and adjusting. “It’s given us the opportunity to consider how we might give back,” the pair added.
Last April, two months after the treasure was discovered, Kagin and his colleague David McCarthy, senior numismatist, and researcher at Kagin’s, visited with the couple.
When McCarthy and Kagin reminded the couple that their find will be remembered for a long time, they stated, “It would have been a shame not to share the significance of our treasure.” We wish to preserve the history of these coins for future generations.”