Much of California Couple's $10M Gold-Coin Trove May Belong to Uncle Sam

The news of a Northern California couple’s stash of rare gold coins with an estimated worth of $10 million fascinated the world this week.
The couple stumbled upon the mint-condition gold coins buried in the shadow of an old tree in their backyard.
However, news reports since the initial story broke have raised dark clouds over the celebrated treasure trove.

Much of California Couple's $10M Gold-Coin Trove May Belong to Uncle Sam
One of the six decaying metal canisters containing 1800s-era U.S. gold coins. They were unearthed
from under the shade of a tree in a Northern California couple’s backyard.


The San Francisco Chronicle reports that the gold coins are taxable under a 1969 federal court ruling that held a “treasure trove” is taxable the year it was discovered.
The paper’s report says that about 47 percent will go to state and federal taxes, or the top tax rate.
Almost all of the 1,427 coins that were found dated from 1847 to 1894. They were uncirculated and in mint condition, said David Hall, co-founder of Professional Coin Grading Service of Santa Ana, who recently authenticated the coins.
Although the face value of the coins comes to about $27,000, some of them are so rare that coin experts say they could get nearly $1 million apiece.
The Collection Could Be Claimed by Others
And now for an even darker twist to this story: The whole collection could be taken away and given to descendants of the person who originally put it in the ground or even given to the state of California, according to U.S. treasure trove laws.
The U.S. Treasury could also demand a piece of any profits, or even take the coins away.
According to a report in the Daily Mail, Treasure enthusiasts claim the gold coins could have come from a previously undiscovered bounty tied to an employee of the San Francisco Mint, who was convicted of stealing in 1901.
Walter Dimmick began working at the mint in 1898, and by 1901 was trusted with the keys to the vaults – until an audit revealed a $30,000 shortage in $20 Double Eagle coins, six bags in all, the Daily Mail reports.
The coins that Dimmick stole were never found, leaving some to now wonder if the so-called “Saddle Ridge Hoard” is the very same set of lost coins.

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