PCGS Certifies “Saddle Ridge Hoard” of Buried Treasure Gold Coins

Professional Coin Grading Service (www.PCGS.com) has authenticated and graded a hoard of 1,427 19th century U.S. gold coins that were discovered in eight, decaying metal canisters buried on private property in California’s gold country.

The coins, which are dated from 1847 to 1894 and have a combined face value of $27,980, are estimated to be valued at more than $10 million. The majority are $20 denomination Liberty Double Eagles struck at the San Francisco Mint between 1855 and 1894. Described as the “Saddle Ridge Hoard,” it is believed to be one of the greatest buried treasures ever unearthed in the United States.

Some of this amazing treasure will make its public debut at the upcoming ANA National Money Show in Atlanta, courtesy of Kagin’s, Inc. (www.Kagins.com) of Tiburon, California, the PCGS Authorized Dealer that recently submitted the treasure trove for certification.

1886-S $10 Gold Coin

“One of the great things about being involved with PCGS is the occasional ‘discovery coins’ we get to grade. This is one of those fantastic discoveries!” said David Hall, PCGS Co-Founder and Collectors Universe, Inc.

The coins were discovered in February 2013 by a couple while they were walking on their Northern California property near a hill they named Saddle Ridge because of its shape.  They later contacted Kagin’s senior numismatist, David McCarthy, who did the initial evaluation and inventory of the treasure trove.

“This is the proverbial pot of gold at the end of the rainbow,” said Don Kagin, Ph.D., President of Kagin’s.  “What’s really significant about this find is that this treasure combines a great quantity of pristine coins along with a great human interest story.”

A sampling of the coins with special gold-colored foil “Saddle Ridge Hoard” PCGS certification insert labels will be displayed at the Kagin’s booth (#707) during the upcoming American Numismatic Association National Money Show in Atlanta, February 27 – March 1, 2014.

Hall said the “super high quality” hoard is “a literal time capsule” of gold coins that were circulating in the late 19th century. More than a dozen of the discovered coins now are either currently the finest known or tied for the finest known examples in the PCGS Population Report.

“What is really special about this discovery is the incredible quality of many of these coins.  This group of coins will definitely change the PCGS Population numbers for many issues. It’s a remarkable feeling to hold these coins in your hands. I’ve always called rare coins ‘history in your hands’ and the Saddle Ridge Hoard is a historical time capsule of immense numismatic importance,” Hall emphasized.

The couple who discovered the hoard want to remain anonymous and do not want to disclose the specific location of the discovery.

The previous largest reported buried gold treasure in the United States was the 1985 discovery by construction workers in Jackson, Tennessee of gold coins with an estimated face value of $4,500 and market value of about $1 million.  Although not “buried” treasure, more than 400,000 silver dollars were found in the home of Lavere Redfield of Reno, Nevada after he died in 1974.  The coins were sold as a group for $7.3 million in 1976.


  1. wymck says

    Waitasecond… 1,427 gold coins…? That total $27,000 in gold value (about 20 ounces?)

    There’s a digit gone somewhere… must be, because the double eagle is roughly 1 ounce gold, the eagle 1/2 ounce, the half eagle 1/4 ounce, the quarter eagle 1/8 ounce, the $1 gold = 1/20 ounce. The math does NOT add up… but at the same time I’m so excited by this story!

  2. Jake V. says

    I just read that the 1866-S ‘no motto’ $20 gold in MS66 shown above is valued at over $1 million by itself.

    These coins were not cleaned, retain mint state luster and surfaces and are generally from the San Francisco Mint (Post gold rush gold is generally harder, similar to the Carson City mint to locate)

    The value is not based solely on the gold…

  3. Koichi Ito says

    I wonder how these coins are in mint state condition? In fact I have seen Ancient Greek and Roman coins were also in mint state condition too.

  4. fmtransmitter says

    Keep us posted when they come up for sale…Amazon? Really? Why not Heritage or another well known numismatic auction house? Amazon??? (scratches head)…

  5. Jeff says

    In Sheep’s Clothing
    Could it be that Chief Clerk Walter Dimmick had betrayed the trust placed in him? It certainly seemed that way when the San Francisco Mint discovered that six bags of gold coins were missing from one of the vaults, together worth $30,000!

    Only someone who could open the vault and had free access to the building could have removed that many heavy coins without being detected.

    The Chief Clerk, Walter Dimmick, was able to get into the vault at the time the money was stolen. He was also the last one to count the bags of coins every night before the vaults were closed. Yet he denied knowing where the money might be.

    Since he had already been caught learning to sign the Superintendent’s name (forgery), taking money from the pay envelopes of other Mint employees (theft), and stealing other government funds in his care, a jury eventually found him guilty of stealing the $30,000 in gold double eagles and of two other charges.

    At 46 years old, Walter Dimmick began to serve his time (almost seven years of hard labor) at the San Quentin prison in California. The 1,500 gold coins were never found.

  6. Koichi Ito says

    No wonder these coins are in pristine mint state condition because it was stolen from the San Francisco Mint. So I also believe that mint state coins of Ancient Greece and Rome can be stolen coins too?

  7. Jeff says

    I said the same thing about Amazon when I heard it on the radio but then again this opens the market to world vs the dealers that would buy these coins and then mark them up 30% to their “Best” customers. I worked in the coin business back in the Go-Go yrs and know most of the players in the so called “Rare’ market. All these Mint State coins will knock the million dollar price points down from the known examples and suddenly the Rare tag will change. They still are very beautiful and not something the average person would have been able to pull from the circulating coinage at the time.

  8. says

    If indeed these coins were stolen, then the San Francisco mint are the writghful owners. Does any one agree with me ,mint director at San.Mint.

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