Walking your dog can be a very lucrative pastime. At least, that's the case for one California couple, who found a stash of gold coins worth $10 million while they were out walking their furry friend. The 1,427 Gold Rush-era $20, $10 and $5 coins, dating back to the mid- to late-1800s, have a face value of $27,980. And the coins, which are in nearly mint condition, are highly collectible. In fact, one of them - an 1866-S No Motto Double Eagle - is said to be worth $1 million on its own.
The man and woman, who are keeping their identities under wraps, were walking their dog in their yard in the (aptly named) Gold Country last spring when they noticed a rusty canister sticking out of the ground. They dug it up with a stick, carried it home and opened it. Inside they found some very dirty discs which, after a little gentle brushing, turned out to be $20 gold coins stamped with Liberty heads and dated from the 1890s. They rushed back to the same spot and ended up uncovering seven more canisters.
The couple then contacted numismatist (coin expert) David McCarthy at Kagin's Inc., who immediately realized the significance of this incredible find. The treasure has been nicknamed the Saddle Ridge Hoard, after the spot on the couple's property where it was found.
“We all dream about discovering buried treasure; seeing the real thing in person – piles of gold coins encrusted in dirt and rust – the experience was just indescribable,” McCarthy said in a statement. “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.”
Kagin's and the couple kept the discovery under wraps for several months, but now the coins are all cleaned up and ready for the world to see. Some of the finest specimens will be on display at the American Numismatic Association's National Money Show in Atlanta, opening Thursday.
Kagin's Inc. president, Donald Kagin, is representing the couple and will undertake the selling of the coins. If you're thinking you'd like to get your hands on some of the buried treasure, many of the coins will be up for sale on Amazon.