FOX 66 News at Ten
LOS ANGELES (AP) - A Northern California couple out walking their dog on
their Gold Country property stumbled across a modern-day bonanza: $10
million in rare, mint-condition gold coins buried in the shadow of an
Nearly all of the 1,427 coins, dating from 1847 to
1894, are in uncirculated, mint condition, said David Hall, co-founder
of Professional Coin Grading Service of Santa Ana, which recently
authenticated them. Although the face value of the gold pieces only adds
up to about $27,000, some of them are so rare that coin experts say
they could fetch nearly $1 million apiece.
"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," said veteran
numismatist Don Kagin, who is representing the finders. "It's like they
found the pot of gold at the end of the rainbow."
family has been in the rare-coin business for 81 years, would say little
about the couple other than that they are husband and wife, are
middle-aged and have lived for several years on the rural property where
the coins were found. They have no idea who put them there, he said.
pair are choosing to remain anonymous, Kagin said, in part to avoid a
renewed gold rush to their property by modern-day prospectors armed with
They also don't want to be treated any differently, said David McCarthy, chief numismatist for Kagin Inc. of Tiburon.
concern was this would change the way everyone else would look at them,
and they're pretty happy with the lifestyle they have today," he said.
plan to put most of the coins up for sale through Amazon while holding
onto a few keepsakes. They'll use the money to pay off bills and quietly
donate to local charities, Kagin said.
Before they sell them,
they are loaning some to the American Numismatic Association for its
National Money Show, which opens Thursday in Atlanta.
their find particularly valuable, McCarthy said, is that almost all of
the coins are in near-perfect condition. That means that whoever put
them into the ground likely socked them away as soon as they were put
Because paper money was illegal in California
until the 1870s, he added, it's extremely rare to find any coins from
before that of such high quality.
"It wasn't really until the
1880s that you start seeing coins struck in California that were kept in
real high grades of preservation," he said.
The coins, in $5,
$10 and $20 denominations, were stored more or less in chronological
order, McCarthy said, with the 1840s and 1850s pieces going into one
canister until it was filed, then new coins going into the next one and
the next one after that. The dates and the method indicated that whoever
put them there was using the ground as their personal bank and that
they weren't swooped up all at once in a robbery.
Although most of the coins were minted in San Francisco, one $5 gold piece came from as far away as Georgia.
and McCarthy would say little about the couple's property or its
ownership history, other than it's in a sprawling hilly area of Gold
Country and the coins were found along a path the couple had walked for
years. On the day they found them last spring, the woman had bent over
to examine an old rusty can that erosion had caused to pop slightly out
of the ground.
"Don't be above bending over to check on a rusty can," he said she told him.
are located on a section of the property the couple nicknamed Saddle
Ridge, and Kagin is calling the find the Saddle Ridge Hoard. He believes
it could be the largest such discovery in U.S. history.
the largest previous finds of gold coins was $1 million worth uncovered
by construction workers in Jackson, Tenn., in 1985. More than 400,000
silver dollars were found in the home of a Reno, Nev., man who died in
1974 and were later sold intact for $7.3 million.
Gold coins and
ingots said to be worth as much as $130 million were recovered in the
1980s from the wreck of the SS Central America. But historians knew
roughly where that gold was because the ship went down off the coast of
North Carolina during a hurricane in 1857.
Wednesday, February 26 2014, 09:19 AM EST
National News Headlines
|Murder suspect recaptured after mistaken release from Los Angeles jail|
|A murder suspect who was mistakenly released from a Los Angeles jail last month was recaptured Monday in Nevada, authorities said.|
|Closings set in NYC cop's trial in deadly stairwell shooting|
|The rookie police officer who shot an unarmed man in a dark public housing stairwell says what happened was a deadly accident.|
|Activists demonstrate against sexual violence at Baylor|
|A candlelight vigil to protest Baylor University's response to campus sexual violence drew scores of demonstrators to the street in front of the university president's home Monday night.|
|Police: Bus driver didn't use brake before fatal accident|
|The driver of a school bus that struck and killed an Indianapolis elementary school principal had left the driver's seat without putting on the parking brake, according to an Indianapolis police report made available Monday.|
|Correction: Child Abuse story|
|On Feb. 8, The Associated Press erroneously published a story from 2012 about the Colorado Department of Human Services considering relaxing the requirements for social workers in child abuse cases.|
|Firefighters battling grass fires across central Oklahoma|
|Firefighters are battling wind-blown grass fires across central Oklahoma, including a fire that has forced partial closure of a busy turnpike.|
|Reality star named Florida's 1st female football head coach|
|A reality TV star has been hired as the first female high school football head coach in Florida history.|
|Stronger regional coordination can counter Africa extremism|
|Violent extremist groups and their affiliates are collaborating more in northern Africa, and regional forces must be built up and supported with deeper intelligence sharing to counter the increasing threat of attacks, the head of the U.S. military's Special Operations Command Africa said Monday.|
|Police: Off-duty Memphis officer shoots intruder at home|
|Police in Memphis, Tennessee, say one of their off-duty officers has shot a person at his home in the nearby Mississippi city of Southaven.|
|Wife of ISIS leader charged in US in death of American hostage Kayla Mueller|
|The wife of a senior Islamic State leader killed in a U.S. raid last year has been charged in federal court with contributing to the death of American hostage Kayla Mueller, the Justice Department said Monday.|
|Cabin smoke forces flight back to Arizona; passengers unhurt|
|A commercial flight headed to Los Angeles filled with smoke, turned around and made an emergency landing in Tucson, Arizona, where some passengers had to jump from the airplane to the runway.|
|Despite defeat, NYC mayor vows to revive horse carriage deal|
|New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio is insisting that he will try to revive a plan to limit carriage horses.|
|The Latest: Bundy urges officials to visit standoff suspects|
|The Latest on an armed group that took over buildings at a federal wildlife refuge in Oregon (all times local): 2:30 p.m.|
|What We Know: US looking for more help in fight against IS|
|Defense Secretary Ash Carter heads to Brussels this week to try to persuade partners in the 66-nation coalition against the Islamic State group to take on a bigger share of the load.|
|Prosecutors to seek death in Memphis officer's shooting|
|Prosecutors will be seeking the death penalty in the fatal shooting of a Memphis police officer earlier this year.|
|Vermont attorney general drops probe of environmentalist|
|The Vermont attorney general's office has dropped its criminal investigation into whether an environmental activist has operated as a lawyer without a law license in her advocacy for critics of large-scale wind and solar power projects before state regulators.|
|Colorado Planned Parenthood clinic to reopen next week|
|The Planned Parenthood clinic where three people were killed in November will reopen next week even though repairs aren't finished yet.|
|Man on trial for chain-reaction crash that left officer dead|
|A prosecutor urged a jury Monday to convict a suburban New York man of vehicular manslaughter, drunken driving and other charges in the death of a police officer, despite the fact that another driver was actually the one who struck and killed the highway patrolman.|
|Help Kids Lose the Wrath for Math|
|Children can love numbers, really, with some key direction.|
|Big Payoff for the Smallest Acts of Gratitude|
|Teaching our kids by a strong example and a dedicated effort.|