First gold coin of Saddle Ridge Hoard donated to San Francisco Mint Museum

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May 29, 2014 – The California family who discovered over $10 Million in buried gold coins while walking their dog has decided to use the first piece of their newfound fortune to help save the National landmark where 1,312 of the 1,427 gold coins in the now-famous Saddle Ridge Hoard were struck.

Photograph of the San Francisco Mint, c.1900. Source: Wikicommons.

The family learned that a San Francisco non-profit, the San Francisco Museum and Historical Society (SFMHS), was attempting to raise money to renovate the second San Francisco Mint and develop an on-site museum, but that the funds raised thus far would not begin to meet the project’s needs.

In a bid to raise both money and awareness for the project, the family agreed to allow the SFMHS to auction an 1874-S $20 Double Eagle from the Saddle Ridge Hoard at the Mint during a fundraiser on Tuesday, May 27th. The $20 gold piece, struck during the Mint’s first year of production, will be the first coin from the Saddle Ridge Hoard to be sold and is the only coin from the treasure that will be sold at auction. The family also agreed to loan 60 coins from the Saddle Ridge Hoard for display during the fundraiser. The group will include an 1866-S No Motto $20 gold piece valued at over $1 Million and will be the largest number of coins from the hoard that will ever be seen together publicly.

‘I applaud the discoverers of the Saddle Ridge Hoard for making a charitable donation their first act,’ noted Don Kagin, Ph.D., president of Kagin’s, Inc., the numismatic firm that will sell the balance of the hoard, ‘Their thoughtful generosity will significantly increase awareness of this wonderful architectural icon and the need for capital infusion to develop space that is currently underutilized into a state-of-the-art San Francisco History, Gold Rush and Money Museum.’

The story of a family discovering a cache of 1,427 U.S. gold coins buried on their property has been reported by over 1,000,000 web sites and news agencies worldwide. The treasure, contained in eight buried cans, consists of four $5 gold pieces, fifty $10 gold pieces, and 1,373 $20 double eagles – most of which will be offered for sale by Kagin’s on immediately following the San Francisco Mint fundraiser.

‘The family loved the idea that these coins could help in the effort to restore the building where most of the Saddle Ridge Hoard coins were made,’ says David McCarthy, Senior Numismatist at Kagin’s, ‘Gratitude has been one of the words that has come up in nearly all of our conversations. The family believes that gratitude is not just a feeling – it is a responsibility to share their good fortune. This was a perfect opportunity to do just that.’

‘The auction of the first Saddle Ridge Hoard coin represents a wonderful opportunity both to raise funds for the continued renovation of the Old Mint building and to bring greater awareness of this iconic landmark and the urgent need for funding its full restoration,’ explained SFMHS president, Jim Lazarus. He thanked the finders of the hoard ‘for their appreciation of the Old Mint’s connection to the Saddle Ridge Hoard and California history and their public-spirited generosity in donating the auction proceeds.’

The Old Mint is being renovated and now a museum. Photograph: Sanfranman59 /

The San Francisco Mint first opened in 1854, quickly becoming the largest Branch Mint in the United States. California gold production soon overwhelmed the first Mint, and by 1870 construction had begun on a new mint, now affectionately known as The Granite Lady. Opening in 1874, the second San Francisco Mint produced more coinage each year than all other U.S. Mints combined and was one of the few buildings that survived the 1906 earthquake that devastated San Francisco, becoming an essential part of efforts to rebuild the city. In 2003, the U.S. Government Service Administration sold the Mint to the City of San Francisco for $1. The City then awarded the SFMHS a lease to develop ‘The Granite Lady’ as a museum of San Francisco and Gold Rush history.

This is the website of the SFMHS.

Here you will find a sketch of the mint’s history.

We reported on the story of the coin hoard.

Here Kagin’s gives more information.