SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — A treasure trove of rare gold coins discovered by a California couple out walking their dog has gone on sale, with one coin selling for $15,000 on Tuesday.
The coins date from 1847 to 1894 and have been valued at $11 million.
Several coins were auctioned at the Old San Francisco Mint at 8:30 p.m. Tuesday, and one of them — an 1874 $20 double eagle that is usually worth $4,250 — sold for $15,000.
Don Kagin, whose firm is handling the sale, says most of the remaining 1,400 coins had gone on sale on Amazon.com and Kagins.com after the auction.
The couple, whom Kagin declined to identify, found them last year buried under the shadow of a tree on their rural Northern California property.
Here are five things to know about the coins and their origin:
WHY ARE THEY SO VALUABLE?
Experts say paper money was illegal in California until the 1870s, so it's extremely rare to find any coins from before that period. Additionally, most of the coins are in mint condition, having been stashed away seemingly immediately after they were minted. They were valued by Don Kagin, a numismatist who is handling the sale and marketing of the coins.
WHO FOUND THEM?
Kagin says the couple — a middle-aged husband and wife — does not want to be identified in part to avoid a gold rush on their rural Northern California property by modern-day prospectors. They discovered the coins in eight cans buried in the shadow of an old tree on the property. They plan to keep a few of the coins themselves and use the money from the rest to pay off bills and donate to local charities. Money from Tuesday's auction will benefit the effort to turn the Old Mint into a museum.
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