Half of estimated $11 million cache of California gold coins sold

Wed May 28, 2014 10:22pm EDT
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By Laura Rena Murray

SAN FRANCISCO (Reuters) - About half of a roughly $11 million collection of 19th century gold pieces unearthed by a California couple has been sold, an organizer said on Wednesday, with sales at Amazon.com surpassing $1 million in just the first hour.

Some 1,400 coins were put on sale beginning on Tuesday by San Francisco-area numismatic firm Kagin's Inc.

The pieces were available at Amazon.com and Kagins.com, with 60 of them put up on display at the mint where the vast majority of the coins were struck in San Francisco.

A California couple, who have remained anonymous, found the coins under a tree while walking their dog on their property in the state's Sierra Nevada mountain Gold Country, where prospectors and miners converged to seek their fortunes in the state's 1849 Gold Rush.

The collection, named the Saddle Ridge Hoard for the area where it was found, is in nearly mint condition and contains pieces struck from 1847 to 1894.

“It was someone’s savings account by the oak tree,” said David McCarthy, a coin specialist with Kagin's Inc.

Organizers listed for sale on Wednesday a unique 1866 coin that is missing the motto "In God We Trust," McCarthy said. The mint in San Francisco at the time did not have the capacity to inscribe that phrase, he said, even though the U.S. Congress had made it a part of the currency.

The collection had initially been expected to sell for over $10 million, but organizers have since increased that estimate to over $11 million.   Continued...