Gold Hoard - Largest found in North America

Wow, wish I was the lucky one to find something like this!

Joined: Friday, January 13, 2012 - 1:04pm

It sounds like the tax man will be knocking at their door soon.  

Recently, the largest and most valuable coin discovery in U.S. history was discovered by a couple walking their dog in California’s “gold country”. The couple found $10 million in rare gold coins buried in metal cans on their property that had become exposed over the years. . The booty consists of over 1,400 rare and perfectly preserved U.S. gold coins dated from 1847 to 1894. Most of the coins were minted in nearby San Francisco. In $5, $10 and $20 denominations, they add up to a face value of more than $28,000, but their market value is over $10 million.

Not to be left without a windfall, the U.S. tax code actually takes into account these fortuitous findings and treats them as "income" to the finders. In fact, the code uses the precise language of "treasure trove" to define and describe such a circumstance. Trying to argue that it was a "gift" and not income wouldn't, nor would one be successful in trying to argue that they simply "found" something they had lost--unless it was really theirs to begin with. In addition, arguing that it was part of the purchase price of the land you bought also wouldn't work because the trove would be considered personal property. In addition, even trying to give the coins away to charity wouldn't be be efficient tax-wise because for gifts to charity while you are alive there is not a dollar-for-dollar deduction (as the contribution deduction is capped in most cases at 50% of your AGI).

So if you stumble across $10 million in rare gold coins, keep in mind that that will be treated as ordinary income to you for tax purposes. For 2014 the maximum tax rate federally is 39.6%, and California has its own rate of 13.3% . When the rates are combined, after taking into account various adjustments for deductibility of state taxes, the marginal rate is a whopping 51.9%. In the end, walking away with $5 million after-tax isn't that bad after-all--and I'm sure the couple is confident the tax proceeds will be used efficiently and effectively at both the state and federal level.

kdm's picture
Joined: Friday, September 5, 2008 - 4:32pm

I thought bitcoin was going to replace gold because gold and silver are going to be worthless in the future.

ndbwhunter's picture
Joined: Wednesday, February 23, 2005 - 5:57pm

Keep it quiet and sell them on your own over a period of time.

Lapper's picture
Joined: Wednesday, December 19, 2012 - 9:39am

 The last article I read said that it looks like this was loot stolen from the San Fran mint back around 1900.  I guess one of the coins is one of a kind and was taken as part of that heist.  Article said couple was possible due a finders fee but probably cant keep it all.

Atypical's picture
Joined: Tuesday, September 7, 2010 - 9:56pm

I wonder if the argument that it was part of the purchase of the property would stand any ground in a court of law had it not been "stolen loot".

Kind of like buying a house that has a swing set sitting in the backyard or a section of land that has buried junk pile on it.

Quite convenient that they determined it was from a bank heist back in the early days.

I hope they get a good lawyer and make them prove it beyond the "one of a kind coin in there" statement.

My sincere thanks to all the men and women who have/are serving this great country. Freedom isn't Free.

Joined: Thursday, March 12, 2009 - 9:41am

San Fran likely needs the monies to fund their many progressive liberal social programs.

guywhofishes's picture
Joined: Friday, May 4, 2007 - 7:41am

Gold coins worth $10 million that were discovered by a Northern California couple were not likely stolen in a 1901 U.S. Mint theft in San Francisco, an official said Tuesday.

“We do not have any information linking the Saddle Ridge Hoard coins to any thefts at any United States Mint facility,” U.S. Mint spokesman Adam Stump said in a statement, adding that lawyers have looked into the matter.

In 1901, six bags of double eagle gold coins -- 250 $20 coins in each -- went missing from the San Francisco Mint. Chief Clerk Walter Dimmick was convicted of stealing the $30,000 and served time in San Quentin prison for what was later called the Dimmick Defalcation.

The coins were never recovered, but a home owned by a Mint superintendent was used to cover part of the loss.

Each bag of coins in Dimmick’s cache would have contained coins with the same date and mint mark, said David McCarthy, senior numismatist for Kagin's Inc., which evaluated the Saddle Ridge Hoard.

The cache discovered last year contains a mix of coins with 72 distinct date and mint mark combinations, he said. The 1,427 coins, most of them $20 pieces, are dated between 1847 and 1894.

"That’s 12 times as many permutations as we should have if it was the group that Dimmick defalcated with,” McCarthy said, adding that it's doubtful the mint would have coins made more than 50 years earlier still in its stocks.

The numismatist firm did extensive research to determine whether the coins were ill-gotten, he said. McCarthy said he was aware of the Dimmick story before the cache was discovered but never suspected the coins were from the theft because he knew what that lot would have looked like.

Despite hearing from quite a few people, Kagin's has not received any credible claims to the coins and does not expect to, he said.

Numerous theories have cropped up since the discovery of the Saddle Ridge Hoard was announced last week.

Another suggests the coins may have been buried by the Knights of the Golden Circle, a secretive, subversive Confederate group that some believe buried millions in ill-gotten gold across a dozen states to finance a second Civil War.

Though the coins very well could be a fortune buried by a wealthy businessman, the time period, markers near the cache and manner in which the coins were buried fit the mold of the KGC, said Warren Getler, a former Wall Street Journal reporter who coauthored “Rebel Gold,” a book about the group.

Getler and coauthor Bob Brewer argue in the book the KGC existed for many decades after the Civil War and continued to bury and protect underground gold and silver caches.

The Northern California couple, identified only as John and Mary by Kagin's, had walked the path on their gold country property for years before they spotted the edge of a rusty can peeking out of the moss in February 2013. When the lid cracked off, they found dirt-encrusted coins, some in better condition than those on display in museums.

"I looked around over my shoulder to see if someone was looking at me — I had the idea of someone on horseback in my head. It's impossible to describe really, the strange reality of that moment," John said in an interview transcript.

The Saddle Ridge Hoard, named for the space on their property, may be the most valuable cache ever found in North America, with an estimated value of more than $10 million. If you melted the coins, the gold alone would be worth $2 million, said David Hall, co-founder of Professional Coin Grading Services in Newport Beach, who recently authenticated them.

Thirteen of the coins are the finest of their kind. One "miraculous coin," an 1866 $20 piece made in San Francisco and missing "In God We Trust," could bring $1 million on its own, Hall said. When the motto was added to the coin in 1866, some were still minted without the phrase, he said.

Had the couple attempted to clean the delicate surface of the piece, they could have reduced the value to $7,000 or $8,000 in under a minute, McCarthy said.

Most of the hoard will be sold on in late May or early June to allow a broader swath of the public to access them, McCarthy said. The couple, who will donate some of the profit to charity, said the find will allow them to keep their property.

[For the Record, 7:21 p.m. PST, March 4: A previous version of this post gave the incorrect first name for Getler as Walter. His name is Warren.]  

[For the Record, 7 a.m. PST, March 5: A previous version of this post incorrectly stated that Dimmick’s Oakland house was used to cover the loss incurred by the 1901 U.S. Mint theft. The house belonged to a Mint superintendent, and it covered only part of the loss.],0,3666293.story#ixzz2v6YTfNHa

Captain Ahab's picture
Captain Ahab
Joined: Monday, December 1, 2008 - 8:18pm

Amazing find for the lucky couple. I'm just sad it was in CA and they have to pay their horrendous state tax to Nancy Pelosi and crew. I just got nauseous.

"Diligence is the mother of good luck."

"The constitution only gives people the right to pursue hapiness.  You have to catch it yourself."

"Well done is better than well said."

"Beer is living proof that God loves us and wants us to be happy."

All by:  Benjamin Franklin.

"The solution to any problem - work, love, money, whatever - is to go fishing, and the bigger the problem, the longer the trip should be."

Author: John Gierach

Crackshot.'s picture
Joined: Tuesday, July 14, 2009 - 11:53pm

Interesting story,   It made me look to see if I could find any internet stories that  would mention or confirm local buried treasure.    There were several stories of gold and gold coins buried and lost in ND back in the day.   A couple of them were supposed to be in the Turtle Mountains, The Old timers used to talk it a lot.    I found the Dunseith bank story ,  The other had to do with some Canadian thieves that were supposed to have headed south and were caught and shot in the Turtle Mountains but the gold filled saddle bags were never located .  


  1. $150,000 in gold and silver coins and currency, the entire cash contents of the bank at Dunseith, was stolen by a lone bandit in 1893 who had time to hide the loot in the nearby foothills of Turtle Mountain before he was killed by a posse.
  2. An 80-wagon train was besieged by Indians in 1864 near the Montana border town of Fort Dilts.  Many of the travelers were killed in the 14-day siege and at least 4 members of the party are known to have buried their money and valuables at the beginning of the assault.  One of the men buried $40,000 in gold coins.  The solid fortifications of their last defense can still be seen.
  3. Outlaws robbed a trader's pack train in 1877 of a large cache of gold coins on the east side of the Missouri River near ghost town Raub.  The packers chased the bandits and killed them after a few miles chase, but the gold coins were not found.  The coins must be buried or hidden somewhere along the short escape route.
  4. 16 successful miners, returning from the Montana gold fields in 1864, pulled their boat ashore at a point where the Knife River enters the Missouri near the town of Stanton.  Anticipating they would be camped here for several days, the $200,000 in accumulated gold was taken ashore and buried.  A band of Indians massacred all of the miners except one---who was out hunting.  Not knowing where the gold was buried, he was not able to find the gold.
  5. $40,000 in gold coins are buried at Big Butte, 7 miles south of Lignite.




Life is good




johnr's picture
Joined: Wednesday, February 18, 2004 - 12:00am

Thats a ton of booze nancy and the crew can drink now between flights from SF to DC

There's a whole generation of Americans that have no idea about the truth of the Clintons, particularly Hillary