Public Gets to Check Out the Saddle Ridge Hoard of Gold Rush-Era Coins Before They Go on Sale Later This Month

May 14th, 2014

Attendees of Witherell’s Old West Show at the Nevada County (CA) Fair Grounds last weekend got a first-hand look at the Saddle Ridge Hoard – an $11 million cache of 1,454 gold coins that was discovered by a California couple while walking their dog on their own property.

The exhibition of Gold Rush-era coins was the last opportunity for the public to see what experts are calling the “greatest buried treasure ever unearthed in the United States.”

Most of the coins will be offered for sale on Amazon’s web site starting May 27 at 9 p.m. PDT. All the coins will have a fixed price. The lowest-priced coin in the group will be offered for $2,600.

Back in February, we learned about a middle-aged couple who struck it rich when they spotted the edge of a rusty can peeking out of the moss near a path on their property. John and Mary, who declined to reveal their full names or home address for fear of unwanted treasure hunters descending on their property, used a stick to scratch the old can out of the ground.

Sealed on both ends, the can was extremely heavy, but the couple had no idea what was inside. As they struggled to get the can back to their home, the lid cracked off, revealing a cache of gold coins. Later, the couple went back to discover seven more cans crammed with gold coins.

Nearly all the coins are in pristine condition even though they were buried in California’s Sierra foothills for more than 100 years.

Despite speculation that the coins might be tied to the unsolved mystery of Walter Dimmick, a San Francisco Mint chief clerk, who was convicted in 1901 of embezzling 1,500 gold coins, no credible claims have been made.

Rare coin expert Dr. Donald Kagan, whose currency firm, Kagin’s, is representing the couple, told a local reporter that the Saddle Ridge Hoard’s appearance at the Old West Show was fitting.

"We're kinda bringing the coins back to where they were buried, in the gold country," Kagan told FOX40 News.

The most valuable item of the hoard is an 1866 $20 coin printed without the “In God We Trust” motto, known as the 1866-S No Motto Double Eagle. Experts placed the value of the coin at approximately $1 million.

The rest of the coins are dated from 1847 to 1894. There are 1,400 $20 gold pieces, 50 $10 gold pieces and four $5 gold pieces. The hoard has a face value of $28,520, and an estimated worth of $11 million.

“So here’s an opportunity not just to own a coin, but to own an incredible story [about] a couple who weren’t looking for it, [but] who have found their pot of gold,” Kagin said.

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