Imagine that you were hiking on your property and saw the rusty old can pictured at left. Me, I’d probably grumble about previous generations’ approach to trash disposal and pick the can up to throw it away. When a California couple saw a can sticking out of the ground, they checked it out…noticing that it had a lid. What could be inside? Not century-old creamed corn.
Nope: it was a hoard of gold coins. Experts believe, based on the age and condition of the coins, that the original coin-stasher must have built the hoard over a period of years during the 19th century, then left it behind. What were coins with a face value of $5, $10, or $20 are now much more valuable to collectors: one piece is valued at about $1 million by itself. The entire hoard could be worth about $10 million.
In a press release from Kagin’s, the company selling the coins on the family’s behalf, the staff senior numismatist is quoted saying, “Never in my wildest dreams would I imagine coins coming out of the ground in the kind of condition that I saw in front of me. Many pieces were finer than anything known in major collections or museums.”
The family decided to stay anonymous, allowing Kagin’s to publish an interview with them. According to Kagin’s, which refers to them as “John” and “Mary,” the couple are self-employed, around 40 years old, live somewhere in the Sierra Nevada, and really, really don’t want treasure-hunters swarming on their property.