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File this one under: “knowing when to keep your mouth shut”

The California couple who we reported found the largest gold treasure horde in history may now lose every dime. The San Francisco Chronicle is reporting that the gold they found buried in rusty cans may have been stolen from the U.S. Mint. The coins have a face value that adds up to $27,000, but the total value of what is being called the Saddle Ridge Horde is estimated to be at $10 million.

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A search of the Haithi Trust Digital Library found by a fishing guide and historian named Jack Trout revealed the news about the alleged theft. Trout claims there is evidence that one specifically rare 1866 Liberty $20 gold piece was part of the buried stash, and alone it is worth about $1m.

“This was someone’s private coin, created by the mint manager or someone with access to the inner workings of the Old Granite Lady (San Francisco Mint),” Trout said. “It was likely created in revenge for the assassination of Lincoln the previous year (April 14, 1865). I don’t believe that coin ever left The Mint until the robbery. For it to show up as part of the treasure find links it directly to that inside job at the turn of the century at the San Francisco Mint.”

Mint spokesman Adam Stump stated: “We do not have any information linking the Saddle Ridge Hoard coins to any thefts at any United States Mint facility. Surviving agency records from the San Francisco Mint have been retired to the National Archives and Records Administration (NARA), under Record Group 104. Access to the records is under NARA’s jurisdiction:”

The gold coins may be a previously undiscovered bounty that an employee of the San Francisco Mint was convicted of stealing in 1901. There were reports in the late 1800’s that these could be the coins stolen by Walter Dimmick, an employee in the Mint at the time. He began working at the mint in 1889 and in 1909 he was given the keys to the vault. An audit at the time revealed a $30,000 shortage in $20 Double Eagle Coins.

He quickly became the prime suspect as he was the last person to see the missing gold coins and had already been caught practicing how to forge the Superintendent’s name. He was the convicted of stealing the coins and sentenced to nine years in San Quentin prison.  The coins he stole were never found, and the denominations are a very close range to the Saddle Ridge Horde.

The couple, who are trying to remain anonymous, claim they want to donate most of the money if they get to keep it.

“We’d like to help other people with some of this money. There are people in our community who are hungry and don’t have enough to eat. We’ll also donate to the arts and other overlooked causes. In a way it has been good to have time between finding the coins and being able to sell them in order to prepare and adjust. It’s given us an opportunity to think about how to give back,” said the couple.

About The Author

Austin Petersen

Austin Petersen is the founder of The Libertarian Republic, as well as the CEO of Stonegait LLC. Formerly an Associate Producer for Judge Andrew Napolitano's show "Freedom Watch", on the Fox Business Network. Austin was referred to by the Judge as "The right side of my brain". He built Judge Napolitano's social networks with over 700,000 fans and millions of clicks a month. Austin graduated from Missouri State University. He has written and produced award winning plays and videos, and previously worked for the Libertarian National Committee and the Atlas Economic Research Foundation.

  • Keyser S.

    There is no telling how many people called this one.

  • CementCityBoy

    Sounds more like, “found treasure may be stolen by the US goobermint.”

    • Geo Garcia

      more like the government is tryin to figure out a way to steal it..

      • pyrodice

        They always do…


    Idiots for disclosing the find in the first place. Should have just had a few appraised each month, sold them privately and kept their mouths shut. Now they’re screwed and will be fighting the government forever to keep what they found.

    • TheLight

      That wouldn’t have worked. Uncirculated gold coins would attract attention, just like they would have back when they were still in circulation. One of the dead giveaways of robbery loot a hundred plus years ago was the shininess of the coins. Brand new gold coins came from only one or two places, the US Mint or the vault of one of the larger banks that handled money for the government. A stranger spending a lot of them all over town would be noticed just like someone suddenly appearing out of nowhere today making the rounds of all the local coin shops with shiny new gold coins to sell would attract serious attention, especially if some of the coins had rare dates and mintmarks. All of the rarest dates that are in private hands are well known and can be tracked from auction records. New coins suddenly appearing throws up red flags for any dealer and they would notify the authorities.

      • Jordan

        Probably not pawn shops though

        • chickief

          A pawn shop only loans or buys based on a percentage of the gold spot price which would only be about $20 per gram, not the coin value unless they had someone on hand to verify the actual value of the coin.

          • pyrodice

            Yeah, I tried to sell an appraised, swiss-serialized gold double eagle once, and the pawn shop idiots said they had to crack the case to ascertain that it was actually a gold coin. Morons. I left and found a more reputable gold exchange.

          • chickief

            Pawn shops are not coin exchanges, whereas precious metals are “more up their alley”. They “scrap” the gold and silver and “pop” the gem stones and make more $$ doing that than reselling forfeited pawn. It’s not that they weren’t “reputable” but that they are not coin exchanges AND there was a time a few years ago, there was a rash of lead coins with heavy gold plating on the market supposedly to have originated in Russia, they were very authentic looking but very counterfeit. I remember receiving an FBI bulletin on them.

          • pyrodice

            Yeah, I was more offering up an experience so people could learn without having to make the mistake themselves, not so much arguing.

      • DeborahMcClainStrole

        TheLight; THEBULL did not say “A stranger spending a lot of them all over town…” I know criminals who are stupid enough to do that but anyone with common sense would know better. It is a shame this couple didn’t keep the discovery quiet and make sure the person they chose to appraise them was sworn to silence as well. IMHO if there is a government challenge then it should go all the way to the Supreme Court. Even then, there is no law that I know of that gives the government a claim to it. I found out the hard way myself a decade ago when I was involved in the possible unearthing of a buried gold treasure. The government threw the book at us when we filed dig permits. Every “code book” in the system was even used until my partners and I gave up because you had to fill out the exact location of the find, longitude and latitude, etc. and because it was “close to” a scenic highway (considered National Park land” we were not only denied but soon after there were military helicopters and small planes scoping the area with visible camera type equipment on the flights. Oh yeah, open your mouth and the government will find a way to steal it from you. If they lose in stealing it from you then they will tax you on it. You acquired it (basis cost) free and sold it at a profit so you are taxed at the appropriate rate. This used to be a fantastic country for prospectors of all kinds, not any more.

      • daddyksinger

        They still could have been smart about it and claimed they only found one or two coins and waited to see the response that would generate. Too late now suckas.

      • THEBULL

        Notify the authorities? Why? Reputable coin graders would be able to tell if the coins were phony or authentic and would probably offer a sum of money on the spot for the rare coins, they wouldn’t need to notify anyone for any reason. Again don’t sell them all off in one place at one time. A few coins at a time, at different dealers, in different states if necessary. A simple story of “I inherited these from my parents or grandparents” would suffice as a logical excuse for having the coins.

  • Viva la Revolucion

    Should have kept their mouths shut about finding it.

  • Don

    Sounds like the gov has found a way to keep all the money.. crooks..

  • Richard Gould


  • harperman

    I never would have revealed the find to begin with. You knew the government would go after it. Smart thing would have been to sell the coins a few at a time.

    • mike

      Hello fellow Coastie, I agree, and isn’t there a statute of limitations?

      • $46142785

        Statute of limitations applies to prosecutions, not to recovery of stolen property.

        • mike

          your right. just checked it out.

  • lucas

    they could conveniently lose it

    • KrisTal_K

      Sad thing is even if it became ‘lost’ the damn gobment would still come after them for taxes.

  • fliteking

    Greedy politicians. No way these are the stolen coins , the powers that be are just trying to push them into taking a “finders see” while pocketing the bulk of the rest.

    Both party’s have made “being honest” a mistake.

  • grandpaez

    There’s still a 10% finder’s fee.

  • hangman

    They should have kept their mouths shut.

  • disqus_lJpzo1DMyh

    does this Gubmint do anything but rob & rape the little guy?

    • Geo Garcia

      dont u remember it was said “somebody is gonna havta give up a piece of their pie”

  • Nancy Snell Campanelli

    The government was happy with taking 50% for taxes…. now they want to find a way to have it ALL…………. = GREED. If they try to take it all way, THERE HAD BETTER BE A NICE, PLENTIFUL “REWARD” FOR THIS COUPLE!!!!!!!!

    • Beegeezee505

      The reward will be a jack boot crashing down their door at 2 am and zip-tying their hands behind their backs on the living room floor while they ransack the house. Followed by a lawsuit against the family and then subsequently being targeted by the IRS for the rest of eternity.

      This poor family is screwed.

      • Justin

        You forgot that their dog will get shot.

      • Randy Bobandy

        It will be perfectly legal as long as the jack boots are screaming “STOP RESISTING!” at the top of their pachyderm lungs.

      • Charles Neely

        Bee Gees You the man! This nazi govt wrote on the book kicking in doors at 2am

  • Guest

    I would not have uttered a word about the coins to anyone. That is what you get these days for being honest: It truly and sadly does not pay to do so-quite literally.

  • leann wilson

    They should atleast get a big fat reward , what happened to finders keepers

  • Bill T

    I saw this coming when I first heard of the find!

  • Corey

    The price you pay for being Liberal andd believing in the government that you gave overreaching power to. As a lesson to all Liberals I hope they lose every dime!!!!

  • Caniac Steve Henderson

    my wife and i already promised each other that IF we ever found something like that ..we tell NO one and slowly get rid of one or 2 coins at a time every now and then as to NOT attract attention..

    • Charles Neely

      Wrong sell to a over sea private collector

  • Seamus Cameron

    One flaw is the missing money was reported in $20.00 Double Eagles, most of these coins aren’t in that denomination.

  • Onlooker from Troy

    They sound like statist liberals anyway; “we’ll also donate to the arts” and “It’s given us an opportunity to think about how to give back”; blech, what tripe. Screw ’em.

  • PLC

    A government of the people, for the people and by the people. Yup, They’re as greedy as the rest of the peps! Can you say statute of limitations!? Oh, that doesn’t apply to the gov

  • Joy60

    Come on this happened so long go why would the government say it’s their’s now. Let them keep it since no one can claim it. They can do more good with it than our government could ever hope to.

    • Aaron Siegel

      It’s funny cause no one in the government said anything in this article. Nor has their been any comment by the government of what they will do if in fact this is proven for sure.

  • Aaron Siegel

    I have no idea how this article ended up so highly SEO’d, but I’m glad the comments are as amusing as I thought they would be.

  • Thomas Paine

    This is why you NEVER say anything to anyone, especially the federal government!

  • Raul

    After they take them, are they going to make them pay tax on them?

  • Hoplite Helot

    FUCKING UNITED STATES CORPORATION GREEDY EVIL PSYCHOPATHS strike again!!! hahahahah ALL HAIL AND PRAISE SATAN!!! wtf! this shit is outta control!!! WE ARE SLAVES! wake up!

  • Helena Howard


  • Nathan Graham

    I see honesty is not a common thread that binds most of the posters together on the Libertarian Republic site. I will keep that in mind if my wallet comes up missing around any of you.

    • Jack Frost

      The point is, if you reported your missing wallet was filled with $100,000 in crisp new bills, instead of the Feds helping you look, they would back audit your taxes and request forfeiture of any funds found because you must be engaged in some type of organized criminal activity!

    • nuwriter

      Funny that you think that you come from a more honest group.

      Hilarious really.

      You support the theft of trillions annually by the government, and you’re worried about libertarians stealing your wallet? Too funny.

      You can worry about some hypothetical theft, while supporting the very real theft of trillions. Your whole hypocritical ideology is based on legitimizing theft.

  • Kat

    Just think how many vacations for Obama and Mochelle this would cover…2 , 3 if they budget

    • Erik Kilpatrick

      yeah right…1 vacay…maybe…but taxpayers will pick up the tab for any shortcomings.

  • joe_schmooga

    What’s that old saying? Something on the order of: “Loose lips will get it broken off in your arse!”

  • Barb

    This is to be expected. Any gold coins found anywhere will be claimed by the gov’t as stolen. Happened before and will again.

  • ClarkeB10

    “Be courteous to all, but intimate with few; and let those be well-tried
    before you give them your confidence.”

    George Washington

  • Tim Chambers

    Idiots…the first thing I would have done would have been moving to another country with no extradition treaties with the U.S.. I would have also kept my big, fat, do-gooder trap SHUT!

  • Jack Frost

    So anyone with old coins could be aiding and abetting a felony from years ago? Sure, that’s right. Just bring all your silver and gold coins and any other valuables down to the local office of the government and turn them in immediately, no questions asked. Why risk a criminal record over mere valuables. After all, you didn’t earn that, or mint it either, so hand it in today!

  • Dawni Childers

    There WAS a conviction IN 1901 for the crime. Once IRS rapes the couple for it’s %, the couple SHOULD be allowed to keep what is left. I mean…. Think about it. In reality ONLY the IRS is god. And those who have been busted for illegal gains that do time for tax evasion, once times served, the new ex-con and his aquirements are totally free & clear. Let’s hope this couple can just get that tooth out of their ass, once the IRS bite’s. Best of luck!

  • Nick Latona

    If they don’t get to keep the gold coins then a real theft will have occurred. There is so much supposition in what is written here you have got to know the government wants to steal it!

  • John

    I guess no one told them the government owns everything

  • Mike Annas

    we are from the Government….we’re here to help you….10 most hated words in the English language.

  • Ed Perry Green

    Note to self, If you find rare gold coins MELT THEM down

    • John

      Note to self: “if you find a coin worth a million dollars, make it worth 1380”. That’s what you just said, buddy.

      • Better than nothing, Hawking…which is exactly what these folks are going to get. Who cares about history or a bunch of nusmatists j***ing each other off? It’s a freakin coin.

  • Ed Perry Green

    Tell me this government isn’t getting more and more like the Nazi’s

  • Bill Corless

    statute of limitations baby.

  • akfellow

    Run Away!

  • Shame they weren’t smart enough to bite the bullet and melt all of it down.

  • Robert E. Barry

    Oh my what a surprise……..

  • pmconcc

    All Trout did was to allow the Gov’t to take away the couple’s gold and have them end up with nothing but a ‘finders’ fee. He must be so proud of himself!

  • kcal

    Who is this Jack Trout douchebag anyway? “fishing guide and historian”…jesus wept! He gets to decide if a crime has been committed? The US Mint said themselves that they have no records of any missing coins that can be tied to this find….seems like an open and shut case. Jack Trout…do the world a favor and drown yourself….

  • Vaughn Register

    That money should help defray the costs of Michelle Obama’s Chinese vacation. After all, her message, to tell Chinese children to eat their Brussel sprouts is of paramount importance to the survival of America. Those who found the coins should pray (to Allah) that they aren’t charged as accessories to the theft.

  • James Synkgar

    While i think t he couple should be allowed to keep it, if it was stolen from the mint, isnt it technically still stolen goods?