California gold discovery spurs rush of theories

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AAA Mar. 4, 2014 7:26 PM ET
California gold discovery spurs rush of theories

Some of 1,427 Gold-Rush era U.S. gold coins are displayed at Professional Coin Grading Service in Santa Ana, Calif., Tuesday, Feb. 25, 2014. A California couple out walking their dog on their property stumbled across the modern-day bonanza: $10 million in rare, mint-condition gold coins buried in the shadow of an old tree. Nearly all of the 1,427 coins, dating from 1847 to 1894, are in uncirculated, mint condition, said David Hall, co-founder of Professional Coin Grading Service, who recently authenticated them. Although the face value of the gold pieces only adds up to about $27,000, some of them are so rare that coin experts say they could fetch nearly $1 million apiece. (AP Photo/Reed Saxon)

Some of 1,427 Gold-Rush era U.S. gold coins are displayed at Professional Coin Grading Service in Santa Ana, Calif., Tuesday, Feb. 25, 2014. A California couple out walking their dog on their property stumbled across the modern-day bonanza: $10 million in rare, mint-condition gold coins buried in the shadow of an old tree. Nearly all of the 1,427 coins, dating from 1847 to 1894, are in uncirculated, mint condition, said David Hall, co-founder of Professional Coin Grading Service, who recently authenticated them. Although the face value of the gold pieces only adds up to about $27,000, some of them are so rare that coin experts say they could fetch nearly $1 million apiece. (AP Photo/Reed Saxon)

David Hall, co-founder of Professional Coin Grading Service, poses with some of 1,427 Gold-Rush era U.S. gold coins, at his office in Santa Ana, Calif., Tuesday, Feb. 25, 2014. A California couple out walking their dog on their property stumbled across the modern-day bonanza: $10 million in rare, mint-condition gold coins buried in the shadow of an old tree. Nearly all of the 1,427 coins, dating from 1847 to 1894, are in uncirculated, mint condition, said Hall, who recently authenticated them. Although the face value of the gold pieces only adds up to about $27,000, some of them are so rare that coin experts say they could fetch nearly $1 million apiece. (AP Photo/Reed Saxon)

This image provided by the Saddle Ridge Hoard discoverers via Kagin’s, Inc., shows one of the six decaying metal canisters filled with 1800s-era U.S. gold coins unearthed in California by two people who want to remain anonymous. The value of the “Saddle Ridge Hoard” treasure trove is estimated at $10 million or more. (AP Photo/Saddle Ridge Hoard discoverers via Kagin’s, Inc.)

David Hall, co-founder of Professional Coin Grading Service, poses with some of 1,427 Gold-Rush era U.S. gold coins, at his office in Santa Ana, Calif., Tuesday, Feb. 25, 2014. A California couple out walking their dog on their property stumbled across the modern-day bonanza: $10 million in rare, mint-condition gold coins buried in the shadow of an old tree. Nearly all of the 1,427 coins, dating from 1847 to 1894, are in uncirculated, mint condition, said Hall, who recently authenticated them. Although the face value of the gold pieces only adds up to about $27,000, some of them are so rare that coin experts say they could fetch nearly $1 million apiece. (AP Photo/Reed Saxon)

This image provided by the Saddle Ridge Hoard discoverers via Kagin’s, Inc., shows one of the 1800s-era U.S. gold coins unearthed in California by two people who want to remain anonymous. The value of the “Saddle Ridge Hoard” treasure trove is estimated at $10 million or more. (AP Photo/Saddle Ridge Hoard discoverers via Kagin’s, Inc.)

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LOS ANGELES (AP) — Word last week that a California couple found $10 million in gold coins on their property has set off a Gold Rush of theories over who left behind all that cash.

One is that Jesse James’ gang deposited it in hopes of someday financing a second Civil War. Another claims the coins originally belonged to stagecoach robber Black Bart.

The theory gaining the most traction this week is that the hoard is made up of most of the $30,000 in gold coins that Walter Dimmick stole from the U.S. Mint in San Francisco in 1901.

But Mint spokesman Adam Stump said Tuesday the government has done its research and can’t link the couple’s coins to the theft.

Rare coin dealer Don Kagin represents the couple. He says they think someone in the mining industry once occupied their land and squirreled away the coins over time.

Associated Press

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