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Treasure Found in California
By Numismatic News
February 28, 2014

This article was originally printed in Numismatic News.
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A hoard of buried gold found by a California couple walking their dog will be marketed mostly online by Kagin’s, Inc., after the 1,427 U.S. coins dated 1847 to 1894 were authenticated by the Professional Coin Grading Service.

Estimating the value in excess of $10 million, Don Kagin, said, “What’s really significant about this find is that unlike other hoards and treasures, this one includes a great variety of dates, many of which are in pristine condition.”

Kagin dubs the hoard the Saddle Ridge Treasure. He named it after a feature on the couple’s property on which eight decaying metal canisters were discovered.

The gold coins found in the containers have a face value of $27,980.

“One of the great things about being involved with PCGS is the occasional ‘discovery coins’ we get to grade. This is one of those fantastic discoveries,” said David Hall, PCGS co-founder at Collectors Universe, Inc.

More than a dozen of the discovered coins now are either currently the finest known or tied for the finest known examples in the PCGS Population Report.

The family contacted Kagin’s senior numismatist, David McCarthy, who evaluated the gold coins following their discovery.

“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,” McCarthy said.

He explained that the find comprises almost 1,400 $20 gold pieces, fifty $10 gold pieces and four $5 gold pieces, all of which were struck between 1847 and 1894.

In the cache is the finest known 1866-S No Motto gold $20 that is valued at around $1 million.

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Other highlights, according to McCarthy, are finest example or tied for finest example certified by PCGS: 1866-S $20 With Motto PCGS MS-62+ (finest known); 1873 Closed 3 $20 graded MS-62 (tied finest known); 1877-S $20 PCGS MS-65 (tied finest known) four 1888-S $20 PCGS MS6-4 (tied for finest known); two 1889-S $20 graded PCGS MS-65 (tied for finest known); and 1894-S $20 PCGS MS-65 (tied for finest known).

““This is one of the best stories in the history of our hobby,” stated PCGS President Don Willis.

The coins were discovered in February 2013 when the couple was walking on their property in Northern California.

According to Kagin’s, through an exclusive arrangement with online retailer, approximately 90 percent of the coins will be available for purchase some time in the future via Amazon’s collectibles online store,

This will be the first major numismatic treasure to be sold through Amazon.

Hall said the “super high quality” hoard is “a literal time capsule” of gold coins that were circulating in the late 19th century.

“What is really special about this discovery is the incredible quality of many of these coins. This group of coins will definitely change the PCGS Population numbers for many issues,” Hall said.

The couple prefers to remain anonymous and not to reveal the precise location of the discovery. The previous largest reported find of buried gold treasure in the United States had a face value of $4,500. It was discovered by construction workers in Jackson, Tenn., in 1985 and was eventually sold for around $1 million.

Kagin’s, Inc., website is at The PCGS website is

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On February 28, 2014 James Burton Sexton said
This is, indeed, strange that these coins are of such high quality, considering the conditions under which they have been "stored".

Has it been (or will it be) investigated thoroughly to verify that these coins were actually "discovered" as the "owners" report?
On March 2, 2014 Don S said
Since it is not yet April 1st, I assume this article is serious. It is pretty amazing that these coins survived possibly 119 years under ground, based on the latest date of 1894, with little or no wear or damage. If the coins were not all from the San Francisco mint, I would wonder how they made it to the west coast in high grade mint condition, only to be buried by a collector who had a great eye for quality. To have such quality all in the same buried can hoard makes one wonder, did these coins some how start out as grading service crack-outs? One would also have to ask what rich person owned the land previously? After all, who in the late 1800's, besides the rich or bank robbers, could afford to stash away several thousand dollars in gold?

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