Was stash of gold coins found by couple stolen - more than 100 years ago?

Was stash of gold coins found by couple stolen - more than 100 years ago?

Credit: CBS News

The coins found in the buried cans have a total face value of $27,000. But their pristine condition makes them worth more than $10 million.

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by Bill Whitaker / CBS News

CBS News

Posted on March 5, 2014 at 10:37 AM

SAN FRANCISCO -- CBS News told you last week about a California couple who found millions of dollars' worth of 19th century gold coins -- buried in their backyard, in the foothills of the Sierra Nevada.

No one knew how the coins got there, or where they came from.

Now there is an intriguing clue. The coins found in the buried cans have a total face value of $27,000. But their pristine condition makes them worth more than $10 million.

Coin dealer Don Kagin represents the couple who spotted one of the cans sticking from the ground as they were hiking.

"Nothing resonates like this," he said. "This is buried treasure, something that we all fantasize about."

But the near perfect condition of the 1,400 coins raised suspicions among historians, who pointed to this article from 1901. It reports $30,000 "stolen from the vault of the cashier of the San Francisco Mint. No trace has been found...."

The suspect in that case was Walter N. Dimmick. The mint clerk served prison time after an audit found 1,500 coins missing from the mint vault. He denied any wrong doing.

"There is no, no connection between these coins which were buried over many, many years and a heist that took place at the San Francisco Mint," Kagin said.

Click here to read more at CBSNews.com.

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