dig up hoard of American gold coins By Dalya Alberge
| Oct 18, 2010
A valuable hoard of American gold coins has been unearthed
in an east London garden — one of Britain's most curious
hoards are discovered every so often, but their Anglo-Saxon,
Viking or Roman owners were themselves interred long ago.
Whoever hid the 80 coins from the 19th and early 20th centuries
may be alive. Why they chose the garden of a residential
block in Hackney is a mystery.
Archaeologists more used to deciphering which
Roman emperor is depicted on a coin have been taken aback
by the find — gold $20 “Double Eagle”
pieces dating from 1854 to 1913 and minted mostly in San
Francisco and Philadelphia. Estimates put the value at hundreds
of thousands of pounds. The coins, so large that each one
weighs 33 grams, go on show at the Museum of London tomorrow.
They were uncovered by two residents who decided
to do gardening with a couple of friends. A spade hit something
hard. Expecting to remove a brick or a rock, they found
themselves staring at glistening gold. One finder, interested
in archaeology, alerted the Museum of London, which contacted
the Portable Antiquities Scheme at the British Museum.
Scheme head Dr Roger Blandtold the Standard:
“There is a huge mystery about who might have buried
the coins. It's wonderful to speculate. Who buries so many
Today Inner North London coroner Dr Andrew
Scott Reid, announcing the find, said the original owner
had until next spring to come forward. The finders are remaining
anonymous and the find's location is not being released
to discourage false claims. An ill-gotten gain has to be
possible and police records are being checked.
If the coins are declared Treasure, they will
become Crown property and will be valued. Hackney Museum
wants to acquire them and the money paid would be split
between the land owner and the finders.