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May 28, 2014

California couple's buried gold coins go for sale

SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — A treasure trove of rare gold coins discovered by a California couple out walking their dog has gone on sale, with one coin selling for $15,000 on Tuesday.

The coins date from 1847 to 1894 and have been valued at $11 million.

Several coins were auctioned at the Old San Francisco Mint on at 8:30 p.m. Tuesday, and one of them — an 1874 $20 double eagle that is usually worth $4,250 — sold for $15,000.

Don Kagin, whose firm is handling the sale, says most of the remaining 1,400 coins had gone on sale on Amazon.com and Kagins.com after the auction.

The couple, whom Kagin declined to identify, found them last year buried under the shadow of a tree on their rural Northern California property.

Kagin says there have been numerous theories about the coins' origins, but none has panned out.

THIS IS A BREAKING NEWS UPDATE. Check back soon for further information. AP's earlier story is below.

A treasure trove of rare gold coins that were discovered by a California couple out walking their dog last year have gone on sale. The nearly 1,430 coins date from 1847 to 1894 and have been valued at more than $11 million. One will be auctioned at the Old San Francisco Mint on Tuesday at 8:30 p.m. Most of the rest will go on sale on Amazon.com and Kagins.com later in the evening. Here are five things to know about the coins and their origin:

WHY ARE THEY SO VALUABLE?

Experts say paper money was illegal in California until the 1870s, so it's extremely rare to find any coins from before that period. Additionally, most of the coins are in mint condition, having been stashed away seemingly immediately after they were minted. They were valued by Don Kagin, a numismatist who is handling the sale and marketing of the coins.

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