Gold News

Lesson of the Saddle Ridge Gold Coins Hoard

Gold coins buried in your back-yard might seem a great safety-net. But for you, or for a future historian...?
 
SO A COUPLE in California have unearthed maybe $10 million-worth of historic US gold coins, writes Adrian Ash at BullionVault. 
 
The coins were buried in 8 rusty tin cans sometime in the late 19th century on land they now own. You can see the coins here, on the website of Donald Kagin PhD, the coin dealer charged with selling them for top price. 
 
Kudos to Dr.Kagin. The global PR he's unleashed is priceless, and coin collectors worldwide will be able to pay top Dollar for these coins. Because he's arranged for 90% of what he's calling the Saddle Ridge Hoard (named after a geographical feature on the lucky couple's land) to be made available through Amazon.com
 
Now, as you'll see, those old cans make a stark contrast with the shiny gold. Gold does so little, remember, it doesn't even react with water or air. That makes it perfect for long-term, low-cost storage. 
 
But also note that "what's really significant about this find," as Kagin says, "is that unlike other hoards and treasures, this one includes a great variety of dates." 
 
Indeed, the hoard seems to have been gathered and buried over a period of some years. Because different cans held coins from certain years. Worth $27,000 in the back-half of the 19th century (when the face value of a gold coin meant what it said) these coins were put aside in stages as each of the cans was filled up. 
 
This hoard, therefore, was most likely somebody's life savings...quietly built up over time. 
 
Buried out in the Californian scrub, however, those careful savings were for some reason lost to them...and to their heirs...forever. 
 
All coin and jewellery hoards are fascinating. Who buried it? Why? And what happened to mean that they left it there...making it worthless to the owners? 
 
Such lost treasure also therefore provides a key lesson for today's savers and hoarders. Know where your wealth is stashed, and please... make sure your family know too. 
 
There's no profit in giving your treasure to a metal-detector after the grim reaper comes calling. 
 
What's more, unlike British Romans fleeing the Saxons...or even Viking raiders fleeing terror themselves...you may now safely bury a chunk of your wealth far overseas today, yet maintain full access to its value at all times, using BullionVault. 
 
Then, if you are then threatened by a horde of barbarians (or its economic equivalent) you can flee to where your gold or silver already awaits, or at least get to a safer place to release and use its value. 
 
Because history shows that's much easier than trying to flee carrying all your wealth with you. Burying your gold in the back yard, in contrast, means you must be able one day to return and unearth it.
 
And as the Saddle Ridge coins prove, just like every other hoard so far discovered by archaelogy, a farmer's plough or blind luck, you might not get chance.

Adrian Ash is director of research at BullionVault, the world-leading physical gold, silver and platinum market for private investors online. Formerly head of editorial at London's top publisher of private-investment advice, he was City correspondent for The Daily Reckoning from 2003 to 2008, and he has now been researching and writing daily analysis of precious metals and the wider financial markets for over 20 years. A frequent guest on BBC radio and television, Adrian is regularly quoted by the Financial Times, MarketWatch and many other respected news outlets, and his views from inside the bullion market have been sought by the Economist magazine, CNBC, Bloomberg, Germany's Handelsblatt and FAZ, plus Italy's Il Sole 24 Ore.

See the full archive of Adrian Ash articles on GoldNews.

Please Note: All articles published here are to inform your thinking, not lead it. Only you can decide the best place for your money, and any decision you make will put your money at risk. Information or data included here may have already been overtaken by events – and must be verified elsewhere – should you choose to act on it. Please review our Terms & Conditions for accessing Gold News.

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