Dog Walk Nets Couple $10 Million

dog walk

A dog walk turned up quite a surprise for a couple identified only as John and Mary.  Roughly $10 million in rare gold coins were found in a rusty metal can as the pair took their dog for a walk on their property.

The coins date from 1847 to 1894 and were uncirculated, according to David Hall, co-founder of Professional Coin Grading Service of Santa Ana.  Hall recently certified the coins as being in mint condition.  The face value of the coins only adds up to about $28,000, but some of the coins are so rare that some coin experts believe they could be valued at $1 million each.

In all, 1,427 coins were found in eight cans.  The couple is choosing to remain anonymous to avoid treasure hunters descending on their property, and to protect themselves in the event the coins lead to a change in their lifestyle.  The literal buried treasure was actually found last year, but the recent appraisal of the coins and the incredible condition they were found in has fuelled excitement about the couple’s find.

The Saddle Ridge Hoard, the name given to the $10 million dog walk, is going on sale in the near future.  The eight cans were so named after the spot where the gold was found.  Don Kagin of Kagin Inc, a coin dealer, will be handling the sale for the couple.  He notes that the find is a rare gift of history, as it dates back to the Gold Rush era.

According to the American Coin Treasures and Hoards, 1985 was the last time buried treasure was found, and those coins sold for $1 million with a face value of $4,500.  The couple, suspecting that their find was incredibly valuable, stashed the coins in their cooler under the woodpile.  John said that with the discovery of the old coins, he half-suspected a prospector with his mule was going to come around the corner.

Kagin says that it took him months to properly restore the coins to their former splendor.  It wasn’t until recently that he was able to appropriately appraise the find, and the couple whose dog walk netted them a possible $10 million says that the find is not going to have much of an impact on their lifestyle.  In fact, Mary says that the couple enjoys life on their property and won’t be changing their habits simply because they have come into money.

Efforts were made to determine how, exactly, the money came to be buried in that location, but the best any researchers or attorneys could come up with was that the cans were buried there at different times by someone who was somehow involved in the mining industry.  Regardless, the find has stunned the world of coin experts, as it’s incredibly rare to find over 1,000 coins with that sort of history in one place.

The couple plans on selling most of the coins, but the dog walk that netted them a likely $10 million has also allowed them to think about quietly donating to local charities of their choice.  The couple are also loaning some of the coins to the American Numismatic Association for their annual National Money Show.

By Christina St-Jean


Christian Science Monitor

PBS Newshour


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