Finders keepers, right? Maybe not in the case of a California couple who found $10 million in gold coins while hiking with their dog. A newly found century-old news item has shed light on where the huge treasure may have originated.
Last year, while walking on their property the couple noticed a rusted, half-buried can. Taking a closer look they found the can housed mint-condition gold coins. In all, the couple found six cans containing 1,427 gold coins valued at $10 million.
But, now, new information about the treasure’s origins may put a damper on the couple’s plan to sell the coins, the San Francisco Chronicle reports.
A Northern California historian claims to have found a connection between the coins and the unsolved 1901 gold heist at the San Francisco Mint. If the coins are indeed those stolen from the Mint, the couple may be entitled to a finder’s fee but they likely won’t be able to keep the haul.
The coins’ face value of $27,000 and the fact that the coins are mostly in chronological order, meaning they were never circulated, match what is known about the heist.
Additionally, the coins’ unearthing adds credibility that the heist was likely an inside job at the Mint.
One of the coins included in the find, an 1866 Liberty $20 gold piece, does not include the words “In God We Trust” leading historians to believe the coin was from someone’s private collection.
“This was someone’s private coin, created by the mint manager or someone with access to the inner workings of the Old Granite Lady (San Francisco Mint),” the historian tell the Chronicle. “It was likely created in revenge for the assassination of Lincoln the previous year (April 14, 1865). I don’t believe that coin ever left The Mint until the robbery. For it to show up as part of the treasure find links it directly to that inside job at the turn of the century at the San Francisco Mint.”
SF heist at turn of century may explain buried gold [San Francisco Chronicle]