The story behind the “Saddle Ridge Hoard” of $10m in gold coins.
Here are the facts direct from the couple who found the hoard while walking their dog.
“We found the coins buried on a little area of our property that we call the Saddle Ridge” (the wife), “I saw an old can sticking out of the ground on a trail that we had walked almost every day for many, many years.” (the husband)
“I was looking down in the right spot and saw the side of the can. I bent over to scrape some moss off and noticed that it had both ends on it!” (wife), “Years ago, on our first hike, we noticed an old tree growing into the hill. It had an empty rusty can hanging from it that the tree had grown around – that was right at the site where we found the coins… At the time we thought the can might be a place for someone to put flowers in for a gravesite – something which would have been typical at the time.” (husband) and he continues, “There was also an unusual angular rock up the hill from where the coins were buried – we’d wondered what in the heck it was.”
“It wasn’t until we made the find that we realized it might have been a marker: starting at the rock, if you walk 10 paces towards the North Star, you wind up smack in the middle of the coins!” (wife), and she continues “[My husband] used a stick to dig up the first can. We took it back to the house, it was very heavy.” “Heavy enough that we needed to take a little breather before getting back to the house. It was getting towards evening and the light was fading. I said to my wife, “Wow, this thing is heavy. It must be full of lead paint.” I couldn’t figure out what in the world would weigh that much.” (husband)
“Right after making the comment about it possibly being paint, the lid cracked off and exposed a rib of a single gold coin. I knew what I was looking at immediately. I looked around over my shoulder to see if someone was looking at me – I had the idea of someone on horseback in my head. It’s impossible to describe really, the strange reality of that moment… I clamped the lid back on – I found a can of gold coins and I thought there was a zero percent chance of Mary believing me! When I told her, the look of bewilderment – her mouth was so wide open flies could have flown in and out several times.” (husband)
“We went back to the site and a foot to the left of the first can we broke into another can. In the process we used a small hand shovel and a few coins scattered; it was so decomposed only half of that can was left. It was like looking at a pocket of coins.” (wife) “It was a very surreal moment. It was very hard to believe at first. I thought any second an old miner with a mule was going to appear.” (husband) “It was like finding a wonderful hot potato.” (wife)
“There were five more small cans – which brought the total up considerably, and we found the last one with a metal detector. It was a big day when we found that can. We’ve poked around more and now have a sense that we found everything that’s in the area.” (husband) “I never would have thought we would have found something like this; however, in a weird way I feel like I have been preparing my whole life for it.” (wife)
“My husband just knew what to do – it was a little bit karmic… Perhaps in some way we were the ones that could honor the coins.” (wife)
“Like a lot of people lately, we’ve had some financial trials. I feel extreme gratitude that we can keep our beloved property.” (husband) “We love our lives as they are – I hope we can help our family members and our community and give back some.” (wife), she continues “It took us awhile to get the guts to Google what coins we had.”
“In terms of the condition and value of the coins, we as amateurs thought that the 1866-S No Motto $20 might be worth $5,000 or more – we didn’t realize it was considerably better than the coin sitting in the Smithsonian!” (husband)
“[After we found them] I dug a hole under the wood pile and got a slab of green board to cover it, put the coins in plastic bags, then put them in a box inside an old ice chest and buried them.” (husband) “The old-timers had it right – it’s safer than in a bank!”
“We knew almost immediately that we would sell them, but we couldn’t just go to anyone – we had to walk that path really carefully.” (wife) “We knew better than to go to any local pawn broker with the coins to put them on the market, we knew better than that.” (wife) and she continues “What we really appreciated was that from the outset, David [McCarthy of Kagin’s Inc.] very much wanted us to know everything we could about our coins. He didn’t ever try to say, “These really aren’t anything.” He let us know right away that they were special and told us various stories about the different dates. One thing that he said that stuck with us was the idea of honoring the whole group, instead of selling a little bit at a time over time, even though it is more risky for us personally. The history of the coins as a hoard is important.”
“We may keep a representative sample of the hoard. We would like to hold onto a cross section of it – something to leave to relatives when we pass on.” (husband) “We’re self-employed – the beautiful thing about self-employment is that you can go to your grave self employed.” (wife) and she continues. “We’re the same people we were before, just with more freedom of choice. Our finances won’t have to dictate so many of our day to day decisions.”
“Money can change other people’s perception of us more than our own perception of ourselves. Have you heard the song by Cindy Lauper, Money Changes Everything? We don’t want that; we don’t plan to tell our extended family or friends until more time goes by.” (wife)
“It would have been quite a pity not to share the magnitude of our find. –We want to keep the story of these coins intact for posterity.” (wife) and continues with advice for other treasure hunters, “Whatever answers you seek, they might be right at home! The answer to our difficulties was right there under our feet for years. Don’t be above bending over to check on a rusty can!”