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More than half of rare gold coins found in California sold

Half of the Saddle Ridge Hoard gold coins have sold since Tuesday
One coin from the Saddle Ridge Hoard sold for $65,000, says gold coin expert

Gold fever has spread as enthusiasts of the Saddle Ridge Hoard, the circa-1800s U.S. coins found last year in a Sierra Nevada family's property, purchased more than half of the cache in less than 72 hours. 

Kagin's Inc. and Amazon have sold 731 pieces from the collection since 9 p.m. Tuesday. The historic trove, called one of the greatest unearthed finds, originally contained 1,427 pieces. 

One sold for $65,000, and some buyers are snagging multiple coins with $5, $10 and $20 double-eagle denominations. An 1874 $20 Double Eagle coin was auctioned for $15,000 Tuesday at the Old Mint in San Francisco, where many of the coins were struck. 

"We're absolutely (shocked) by how fast the pieces are selling," said David McCarthy, senior numismatist for Kagin's, who appraised the collection worth $10 million. "It's a world-class group of coins that everyone in the world has been talking about." 

Still, the most expensive purchase of the loot--14 coins in near-perfect condition and the can they were found in--is still up for grabs on Amazon's for $2.75 million. Three buyers have shown interest, McCarthy said. 

The hoard gained international buzz when a couple, identified by Kagin's only as John and Mary, discovered eight cans of gold coins covered by moss on their property in February 2013. The discovery spawned a whirlwind of claims by people citing alleged family ties and theories about who had the coins, such as famed outlaw Jesse James. 

A few pieces will remain with the couple as keepsakes.

Copyright © 2014, Los Angeles Times
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