Pile Of Items
His stomach dropped as he got down on his knees and put his hands into the hole dug by his dog. He could feel the pile of items inside of the hole. Slowly, he began pulling them out one by one. Was this what he thought it was? Surely it couldn’t be! He had no idea what was coming.
His hands were visibly shaking when he turned to look at his dogs. He had a few people to call if he wanted to get to the bottom of this. But he didn’t know that it would change his life for good.
Liam Smith was pleased with the life he built for himself. Since he was a teenager, he dreamed of meeting a nice girl and settling down with her. When he was only 20-years-old, he found the perfect woman.
For months, he did everything he could to be with her. He knew that if he tried hard enough, he would be the lucky man that got to end up with her. But one day, she finally told him to stop.
Mary was tired of being chased by Liam. He had confessed his love to her multiple times and she was growing sick of it. She told him that she was finally ready to be with him, and things couldn’t be any better from thereon. By the time Mary was 23-years-old, she was the proud owner of her own bakery and Liam was a fitness trainer.
They were together for three years when they decided to take the next step. Liam proposed to Mary, and she cried tears of joy. They couldn’t wait to be together for the rest of their lives. But one thing was missing.
Rex, Joey, and Bella
They were happy together, but they knew that there was something missing. That was why they decided to adopt three beautiful dogs from rescue shelters in their area. They knew the three of them would be a handful but they couldn’t just leave two there, knowing they would get put down.
That was how they came to have Rex, Joey, and Bella. No two of them were the same but they were all part of a family now. No one knew what this would cause.
Having three dogs turned out to be quite the hassle. Liam and Mary had to take turns walking them every day. Although it was a lot of work, they never regretted it. It was all worth it. For an hour a day, they would walk around their property.
But Mary and Liam had no clue that these walks would stick in the minds of their dogs and that it would make them discover something that would change their lives.
Liam started noticing that every time they would pass a certain spot on their property, the dogs would go crazy. They always seemed to sniff and scratch at the same spot in the garden. Liam would call them away from the spot. He assumed that there was a rat or some kind of small animal hiding in the ground.
But even though Liam forgot about the spot, the dogs never did. Liam was completely mistaken by what they were so interested in.
At night, Liam and Mary always left the dogs outside to roam their property. They had kennels with warm blankets where they could safely rest every night. But little did Liam know that they would be digging while he slept.
When Liam woke up the next morning, he quickly grabbed the kettle full of dog food and made his way outside. When he reached the back glass sliding door, he was met by something he was not expecting. The dogs were all covered in mud. He watched as Rex dropped something at his feet. When he saw what it was, he couldn’t believe his eyes.
Liam bent down and picked up the present from Rex. He examined it closely. It was round and flat, but it was completely covered in mud. He quickly washed it off.
It took him a good 10 minutes to rinse all of the dirt off. He didn’t want to use any objects that would potentially damage the mysterious object. As the dirt washed away, he saw the gold shininess underneath. Where did the dogs find this?
In His Drawers
Once the coin was clean, Liam placed it in one of his drawers. He made a mental note to check it out over the weekend. He didn’t have time to do it right now. He forgot about it and continued his day as usual. Once he was done with work in the evening, he immediately went off to bed, he was exhausted.
If he had known what he would find the next day, he would’ve taken the coin a lot more seriously. It would be the discovery of a lifetime.
When Liam Woke up the next day, he noticed another muddy coin by the door. It could no longer be a coincidence. He had to do something, he needed answers. He decided to take the dogs on a walk, hoping to figure out where they were finding the coins.
He was expecting a neighbor reporting their money stolen. But when he found the answer to his questions, it was something he could never have expected.
He felt his stomach tie itself into a knot. He bent down and put his hand in the hole his dogs had dug. He felt something. Surely it wasn’t what he thought it was. He had no idea what was coming.
His hand shook as he looked down at his dogs. He needed to make some phone calls if he wanted to get to the bottom of things. He just had no idea how it would change his life forever.
Emerging From The Dirt
An old and rusted paint can started to emerge from the soil. Liam started to dig around it with a stick until he could lift it from its hiding place.
It was heavy and sealed shut with an old, rusted lid. Someone had taken great care to conceal whatever was inside, but why?
What Was Inside?
Liam tried to muscle open the container, but it was rusted firmly shut. He held it up to his ear and shook it carefully from side to side, and the contents moved with a weighty “clack, clack.”
What could possibly be inside? Liam would have to wait a little longer to find out.
The Rusty Can
Liam rushed to fetch a pair of pliers and a hacksaw. Finally, he emerged with a wide grin and began the task of opening the rusted old can.
He squeezed the top firmly with the pliers and twisted, and the lid came loose, spraying dried clods of dirt and dust as it fell. Barely containing himself, he peered inside.
His first glimpse into the darkness inside the can didn’t reveal much about its contents, there was what looked like dirt and gravel.
The soil inside was damp and packed, but then something shiny caught his eye as it caught the light and he knew that they would have to dig deeper to reveal the contents inside.
Liam gingerly poked around inside the can with his finger, getting damp soil under his nails. Then, his fingertips felt something different, sticking out from beneath the sand and gravel that had been packed into the rusty old paint can. Something cool and smooth, with ribbed edges.
Something that felt like metal. “I’ve found something,” he whispered.
As coin after coin emerged, Liam couple gasped in amazement. After gently wiping the mud away from them with his sleeve, he held them in the light to get a better look. The first one was dated 1886, it was unbelievable!
He grabbed the remaining coins on the table to inspect, and the other coins in the mysterious stash didn’t disappoint.
The Mystery Deepens
All in all, there were over 100 of the old coins in the rusty can. Liam couldn’t believe his luck! And the more he pulled out, the more his astonishment grew.
Little did he know, the rusted can was just the beginning of the mystery. But where had the coins come from? And were there more?
More Rusty Cans
At that moment, Liam only had one question spinning around in his mind: were there more coins stashed in the ground on the propert, waiting to be found?
There was only one way to find out. To his delight, with a little digging he started to uncover more rusted cans. How many would there be?
Can after can was pulled from the earth, and coin after coin was found inside the old cans. The stash seemed never-ending.
Liam was thrilled with the unexpected windfall, after all, who actually finds buried treasure? The sheer scale of the coin hoard he had stumbled upon turned out to be jaw-dropping.
So Much Gold!
The coins were all identical to the ones that he had picked up from his dogs just a day before. What was going on? He wondered where the coins could have come from. Had someone hidden them here decades or even centuries ago?
Liam’s mind raced as he thought about all the possibilities. Then he came to his senses and dialed two numbers. One was his wife. The other was someone who could help.
Liam called his wife and told her about the discovery he had just made. He explained how he had to stay behind to make sure nobody else found it. Even if it was his property, he didn’t want to take any chances.
His next phone call was to an expert who could identify the coins for him. As far as he knew, they could be worthless, but he had a hunch that they were very special.
Most of the coins were from 1847 and 1894, making the coins over a century old, dating back to California’s Gold Rush days in the 1800s. But the date alone wouldn’t determine the true value of the coins, it was also the sheer volume.
Liam had unearthed a staggering total of 1,400 old coins–and even more surprising, they were in amazing condition.
Rare And Unusual
As soon as the excitement died down and an appraiser was called in, the couple was given the news. Most of the coins that they had found were $20 gold pieces, also known as double eagles. And the surprises just kept coming.
Douglas Mudd, the director and curator of the American Numismatic Association’s Money explained that some of the coins in the hoard were even rarer, such as the $5 piece known as a Dahlonega half eagle. But just where had the coins come from?
The expert told Liam that the coins were hard to trace but were probably worth a fortune. They were at least a hundred years old. And because he had found them on his property, he had every right to them.
But the man notified them that it was possible they were wrapped in a dark history that could jeopardize his chances of keeping the money.
An Enormous Hoard
When experts inspected the gold coins they speculated that, based on the dates of the coins and the cans they were found in, the coin hoard may have been slowly buried over a span of time. The total face value of the coins $28,000.
“That was a lot of money in the late 1800s,” Mudd explains. “A huge amount.” But who would have buried a fortune in the ground?
An Old Bank Robbery
There was a bank robbery in the early 20th century at the San Francisco Mint. It was a concern that these coins could be the same ones from the heist. The men who were caught never gave up the location after all.
But after considering it, the expert told Liam that they could never know for sure, and it was better to not linger on it. It was a hundred years ago anyway. Liam couldn’t believe that he had a claim to this fortune and all because of his wonder.
Where Did They Come From?
“You get a lot of hoards in Europe—coins buried for hundreds or thousands of years,” says Mudd, “but they’re less common in the U.S. Our history isn’t that long, and for most of the time we’ve had banks, so people have tended to put their money there.”
So that leaves only a few likely explanations for the “Saddle Ridge Hoard,” as the collection has come to be known.
The massive stash of coins was most probably buried on the couple’s land by an outlaw on the run, says Mudd. But just how much is the incredible find worth?
The answer to the coins’ estimated value is absolutely staggering, at $10 million in today’s market. But the question on everyone’s lips is: what will they do with all that money?
A Staggering Amount
Some of the rare gold coins were estimated to be worth $1 Million on their own! That is a sum of money most can only dream of.
But the extremely lucky and elated couple have decided to do the noble thing and pay off their outstanding bills, and then donate the rest of the valuable coins to various charities within their community.