The next time you are out walking your dog, be sure to keep your eyes peeled on the ground, for you never know what treasures you may find. That is exactly what happened to a California couple who recently stumbled upon what is being touted as the most valuable ancient gold find in North America.
The couple who are only known to the world by their first names, John and Mary, say that the chain of events leading to this amazing discovery began last year, while they were walking their dog along the same path in their property located somewhere in Northern California's Gold Country, as they had done for years. However this time around, John noticed a rusty can sticking out from the ground. Curious, Mary and he decided take a closer look. Realizing that it was intact, they unearthed it with a stick and took it home.
The can was extremely heavy leading the couple to speculate that it was filled with lead paint. However, when John opened it and saw the side of a shiny coin, he knew he had struck gold - literally!
They couple immediately returned to the area with a small shovel to see if there were any more cans to be found. Sure enough, they found one more. This one had broke and scattered all its precious belongings into the ground below. And that was not all - Over the next few days the couple unearthed six more in the vicinity, the last one, using a metal detector.
The couple has since been working with coin experts to figure out the value of their extraordinary find. Called 'Saddle Ridge Hoard', it comprises of 1,400 $20 gold pieces, fifty $10 gold pieces and four $5 gold pieces - all struck between 1847 and 1894.
Based on the dates of the coins and their condition, as well as, the condition of the metal cans they were found in, experts believe that the gold was buried sometime in the late 19th century, right after the peak of California's Gold Rush. John thinks that the can that was sticking out, was a marker for whoever buried the treasure there - For reasons that nobody will ever know, he/she never returned to retrieve it.
Numismatic experts estimate the coins which have a total face value of $28,000 USD to be worth about $10 million USD. But given that just one of the coins, a rare 1866, $20 coin printed without the “In God We Trust” motto, is expected to fetch $1 million USD, the treasure could be worth substantially more.
Prior to this, the face value of the largest buried treasure found in the United States had been $4,500 USD. Discovered by construction workers in Jackson, Tennessee in 1985, it sold for $1 million USD. While John and Mary do not plan to sell the entire collection, they will sell a few of the coins to help pay outstanding bills and also to assist some friends and family members in need. Pretty Cool!
Resources: Saddleridgehoard.com, ndtv.com