SF Bank Heist at Turn of Century May Explain Buried Gold
A story that describes a gold heist from the San Francisco Mint at the turn of the century could explain the source of the gold coins worth $10 million that were found last month in California’s Mother Lode country.
The published news item was discovered in the Haithi Trust Digital Library and was provided by Northern California fishing guide Jack Trout, who doubles as a historian and collector of rare coins.
In a story that went global last week, a couple in California’s Sierra Nevada foothills found six buried steel cans that contained 1,427 gold coins dated 1847 to 1894 and worth $10 million. They were walking their dog on their property when they sighted a piece of a rusty steel can that was slightly exposed from surface erosion around it. Inside the can they saw the first glimpse of gold coins.
The value of the coins was enhanced, according to a broker, because they are mostly uncirculated, mint condition. The face value of the coins adds up to $27,000. Those two facts are a match of the gold heist in 1900 from the San Francisco Mint.
In addition, the coins were largely in chronological order, which indicates they were unused. (There are some problems with this theory, though, according to The Chronicle’s Kevin Fagan in an article summarizing the various hypotheses).
New information, which adds credibility that the heist was an inside job at the Mint, became available late Monday afternoon from research by historian Jack Trout: An 1866 Liberty $20 gold piece — which did not include the words “In God We Trust” — was part of the haul, a coin that alone is worth more than $1 million.