Treasure Hoards

Discovered Treasure

Hidden Hoards

Many existing hoards have already been found and dispersed through sales and auctions over the years, to the delight of many rare coin collectors. Certainly there are still many great coin hoards still hidden away, just waiting to be discovered. The following are just some of the many great coin hoards discovered in America.

The bank gave these rare pieces to its better customers as souvenirs and keepsakes over the following 92 years, until 1948, when there were only 1,642 mint Fugios remaining. The bank saw the value and appreciation of these rare coins, so they saved the remaining coins in their vaults, where they stay untouched today. At the bottom of the keg was a selection of the die varieties, which the Bank of New York donated to the American Numismatic Society Museum. The bank kept the remaining coins, many in mint state condition, which still remain on the property today.

In 1929 his descendants auctioned off all of the remaining 2,200 coins to famous coin dealer, Wayte Raymond who purchased the remaining pieces, and resold them for a profit. As a result, today these are the only pre-colonial (pre-1776) American coins that can be easily obtained in Mint State.

White had a real passion for saving coins and accumulated more than 100,000 pieces. When the hoard was examined several years after White’s death, it was found to contain 350 gold and 100 silver dollars, 200 silver half dollars, 5,000 2-cent pieces, 60,000 large cents and 60,000 copper-nickel cents, 250 Colonials, and more than 20,000 foreign coins. The coins were placed in the hands of noted coin dealer Edouard Frossard, who sold most of them privately. His sales experienced both success and scandal, where record sales prices were recorded, but thieves stole important portions of White’s collection at the sale preview. Frossard sold the rest by auction on July 20, 1888, billing them as “18,000 American and foreign copper coins and tokens selected from Aaron White hoard.”

Most had much of their original mint red color with toning to brown, they were mostly spotty red pieces with plenty of bag marks. The Half cents of that year showed light striking at the upper part of the wreath. Many surviving coins, show varying degrees of wear, some mechanical damage, and active corrosion on the coins.

The story is that the boys formed a club, the “Rinky-Dinky-Doos,” and were busy digging a hole in the floor of the cellar to bury their secret club papers, playing cards, dice and poker chips. While digging, their shovel struck something hard, so they reached into the hole and pulled out a $20 gold piece, and then another, and another. So then they really started digging! What the two boys had finally unearthed in two separate pots were 3,558 gold coins that dated from the 1830s, 1840s and 1850s, many in Choice & Gem State condition.

When all was said and done, the two youths were awarded $6,000, though the money would not be available to them until they were 21 years old. Only one of the two boys collected the reward, the other died just before his 21st birthday of pneumonia. In 1935, the 3,558 coins, divided into 438 lots and were auctioned off on May 2, 1935 at the Lord Baltimore Hotel, realizing a sale of $20,000. The 3,558 gold coins had a face value of $11,200, and sold for $20,000, but today, their discovery would be worth more than $10 million.

In 1996, Ron Gillio, noted numismatist, coin dealer and promoter, negotiated and purchased the largest hoard of high quality 1908 U.S. $20 gold pieces, approximately 20,000 examples of the Saint-Gaudens 1908 “No Motto” double eagles. The hoard was remarkable not only for its size, but also for the condition of the coins involved, as some were truly exceptional. It was a mind-boggling number of coins in incredible quality. All coins were Mint State, and many were of choice and gem quality. They were offered to the market in 1997, and were dispersed over a period through 1999.

The Binion Hoard (1998)

Ted Binion was a wealthy U.S. gambling executive and one of the sons of famed Las Vegas casino magnate Benny Binion, owner of Binion’s Horseshoe, where his son Ted, was involved early on in his father’s casino operations. By 1964, Benny was no longer allowed to hold a gaming license, because he was a convicted criminal. His sons Jack and Ted took over the day-to-day casino operations. Jack filled the role of president, while Ted became the casino manager.

Ted Binion loved living the high life and partying. Like his Father Benny, he had associations with the Mob, and was convicted of drug trafficking charges in 1986. By 1996 he was banned from participating or even entering the family’s casino. Ted stored his massive silver collection in a floor-to-ceiling vault in the basement of the Horseshoe casino. But when Ted’s ties to the family casino were severed, he had to either sell the silver or relocate it to a secure spot, which he decided to do. Binion contracted construction of an underground vault with MRT Transport, a trucking company owned by Rick Tabish, and transported his silver to the vault, where only he and Tabish knew the combination. Ted Binion was found dead in 1998 from a suspected drug overdose, but police felt the death was staged. The vault was discovered two days after Binion died, where Rick Tabish was caught unearthing the silver at 2 am in the morning. The 12-foot-deep vault was built on the desert floor on a piece of property Binion owned just outside Vegas. The concrete bunker contained six tons of silver bullion, Horseshoe Casino chips, paper currency, and more than 100,000 rare coins, including Carson City silver dollars, many in mint condition, estimated to be worth between $7 and $14 million.

It was discovered that Tabish was having an affair with Binion’s girlfriend, Sandra Murphy. Both were arrested and initially charged and convicted in Binion’s death, but were later granted a new trial, and acquitted of the murder. So, what happened to all of Ted Binion’s silver? In November 2001, Spectrum Numismatics International purchased some coins from the Binion Hoard, and NGC (Numismatic Guaranty Corporation), gave the coins a pedigree, from the “Binion Collection,” where they were then sold to the public.

Saddle Ridge Hoard (2014)

In February 2014, a couple was walking their dog on their property after a storm, when they noticed a piece of rusted metal jutting out of the ground next to an old tree, near an odd shaped hill that they had nicknamed ‘Saddle Ridge’. They used a stick to dig up a rusted can filled with U.S. $20 gold pieces. They returned with a metal detector, eventually uncovering a total of eight cans filled with over 1,400 rare U.S. Liberty Head gold coins minted between 1855 and 1894. The gold coins had a face value of approximately $28,000, worth over $10 million dollar today.

An old newspaper clip from January 1900, revealed that suspiciously similar amount of gold coins had been stolen from the San Francisco Mint, which led to speculation that the government might stake a claim to the money. The U.S. Mint annual report in 1901 revealed a shortage of $30,000, however the treasure coins spanned of almost 50 years, from 1847 to 1894 with mint marks from San Francisco, Carson City, New Orleans and Philadelphia. None of the coins were dated 1900, which was the date of the coins stolen from the Mint’s cashier’s vault that year. In 1903, the Chief Clerk at the San Francisco Mint, Walter Dimmick, was found guilty of stealing the $30,000 worth of gold coins in 1900. Dimmick went to prison and the 1,500 gold coins were never found. The Saddle Ridge Hoard discovery is one of the most amazing numismatic stories of buried treasure, and the happy couple who discovered the coins got to keep their “Pots of Gold!”