Get PJ Media on your Apple

The PJ Tatler

by
Zombie

Bio

March 3, 2014 - 3:05 pm

Remember the California couple who found $10 million in gold coins on their property? They’re probably going to end up with NOTHING in the final analysis, as breaking news from San Francisco reveals that the source of the mystery gold has been discovered:

A story that describes a gold heist from the San Francisco Mint at the turn of the century could explain the source of the gold coins worth $10 million that were found last month in California’s Mother Lode country.

The published news item was discovered in the Haithi Trust Digital Library and was provided by Northern California fishing guide Jack Trout, who doubles as a historian and collector of rare coins.

The details of the 1899 heist — $30,000 face value of uncirculated gold coins stolen from the San Francisco Mint in 1899 — matches every known fact about the gold coins found recently in the Sierra foothills, which were nearly $30,000 in face value of uncirculated mint condition coins mostly made at the San Francisco Mint in the late 1800s.

If, as is almost certainly the case, this explains the origin of the found coins, then the couple who found them will not merely have to pay taxes on them — they’ll have to turn them over entirely back to the federal government, since the coins’ status has changed from “treasure trove” to “stolen goods”:

Treasure trove is any gold or silver in coin, plate, or bullion that is hidden by an unknown owner in the earth or other private place for an extended period. The property is not considered treasure trove unless the identity of the owner cannot be determined. Under early common law, the finder of a treasure trove took title to it against everyone but the true owner. The U.S. law governing treasure trove has been merged, for the most part, into the law governing lost property. In the absence of a contrary statutory provision, the title to treasure trove belongs to the finder against all others with the exception of the true owner.

It was a nice story while it lasted.

UPDATE

Just to clarify:

The finders will EITHER have to hand over all the coins back to the government, OR pay taxes on them (on the off-chance they win the legal battle to retain ownership of the coins). Under no circumstance (of which I am aware) would they have to pay taxes AND return the coins.

UPDATE II

A few of the coins in the hoard were from different U.S. Mints and from earlier in the 19th century. It could be the case that the Federal Government might only be able to prove that the coins amongst the hoard which can be confirmed as coming from the San Francisco Mint in 1899 must be returned, while the finders could contest that the remaining coins were not part of that robbery and thus not necessarily stolen property. It’s entirely possible that the person who originally buried the hoard mixed in coins from more than one different sources (or crimes). In this case, the finders and the government would split ownership.

UPDATE III

According to the 1906 edition of the official Hearings Before the Subcommittee of the House Committee on Appropriations, a mint clerk named W.N. Dimmick was caught and convicted of stealing $30,000 in gold coins from the San Francisco Mint — although in the description of the case no mention is made of whether Dimmick ever revealed the location of the stolen coins, or whether they were ever recovered.

Here is the full text of the relevant minutes from the House Hearings:


Note that there is a discrepancy in the date of the supposed crime: Was it 1899, or 1901? A few pages later in the same minutes is this passage revealing that there may have been many other thefts from the mint as well, due to a plague of dishonest mint employees:

Also note that one of the coins found in the hoard was an ultra-rare 1866 Liberty $20 gold piece missing the phrase “In God We Trust” — a coin which was never released to the public and which must have been produced and kept within the mint itself.

This link to an article in the July 9, 1901 edition of the San Francisco Chronicle has more details about the Dimmick theft.

Comments are closed.

Top Rated Comments   
Moral of the story: Don't facebook your entire life! Learn to STFU and enjoy your fortune w/o bragging!
20 weeks ago
20 weeks ago Link To Comment
MORAL: keep your mouth shut !!
20 weeks ago
20 weeks ago Link To Comment
Lesson No. 1: keep your mouth shut. Do your homework, sell them quietly one at a time over a period of years.

What idiots. I wouldn't have told my best friend or my mother.
20 weeks ago
20 weeks ago Link To Comment
All Comments   (75)
All Comments   (75)
Sort: Newest Oldest Top Rated
Seems like by ratifying the 16th amendment a notably short time later, the government has already gotten its gold back from its subjects with interest so if the fed isn't willing to let finders be keepers then it should immediately issue income tax refunds to its citizenry. I have no doubt that the Bank of China would be more than happy to front them the money.
20 weeks ago
20 weeks ago Link To Comment
Obviously you know nothing about the law. The gov't need only to prove its case by a preponderance of the evidence. That means that if the scale of justice is evenly balanced then if you tip the scale with a feather that is enough to win the case.
20 weeks ago
20 weeks ago Link To Comment
Nitwit!
20 weeks ago
20 weeks ago Link To Comment
Animal House quote: "You F*@&ed up. you trusted us." applies to this. You Tube video (warning: Adult content). Cheers -

http://snarkarchive.wordpress.com/2013/07/14/animal-house-you-fed-up-you-trusted-us-youtube/
20 weeks ago
20 weeks ago Link To Comment
Actually, I think your first statement on paying taxes and handing over the coins is correct. If they dispute ownership, certainly the IRS and California Franchise Tax Board will demand that they pay if the case goes beyond December 31, 2014, which is a likely event. Then they will be in the position of having paid the taxes and then losing all or some of the assets that were taxed in court. Assuming they can afford the taxes without selling the assets, I would not want to be in their position of then trying to reclaim the tax money if they lose in court.
20 weeks ago
20 weeks ago Link To Comment
Obviously if the coins were stolen from the government, the government has a higher claim to them than the finders. But the government will have to prove it. Old newspaper clippings and congressional hearing minutes are (very probably) not sufficient. They are hearsay. The fact that the amounts are very close is (very probably) not sufficient. The government will have to provide its original ledgers and records and testimony from someone that they are authentic. This will be a lot of fun for the lawyers involved; not so much fun for the finders.
20 weeks ago
20 weeks ago Link To Comment
News this morning is that nobody from the mint seems to be interested in making a claim. So unless some concerned citizen decides to file suit on behalf of their government, it may be the finders get to keep it all.
20 weeks ago
20 weeks ago Link To Comment
If the federal mint tries to claim them, they should have to provide serial numbers and proof of ownership beyond any doubt, that is what we have to prove as private citizens in order to get our stolen goods back, even when we have pictures and have provided identification that can hardly be challenged. I don't believe they were stolen, but I think the finders will have to pay some sort of income tax. Just too much value there.
20 weeks ago
20 weeks ago Link To Comment
There are no serial numbers on coins. Second it would be a civil case and the standard of proof is by a preponderance of the evidence. There is no such thing as proof beyond any doubt in either a civil or criminal case. You don't believe they were stolen; how so? Also it is an old legal aphorism that you can't trace title through a thief. How did you come up with this nonsense?
20 weeks ago
20 weeks ago Link To Comment
More from that link:

>>U.S. Mint theft

Another explanation put forth by hundreds of Internet commenters is that the cache is from a 1901 theft of 1,500 gold Double Eagle coins with a face value of $30,000 from the U.S. Mint in San Francisco. The number and face value is about the same as the Saddle Ridge Hoard, and though the mint's chief clerk, Walter Dimmick, was convicted of the crime, the booty was never recovered.

Kagin, however, said the mint explanation is unlikely because the coin dates are too spread out for a single haul like that. The coins are also too old for a 1901 heist, he said.

"It wouldn't be a mint robbery if it didn't have coins from at least the previous seven years, and the most recent coin in the hoard is from 1894," said Kagin, who in addition to being a dealer wrote the definitive "Private Gold Coins and Patterns of the United States."<<
20 weeks ago
20 weeks ago Link To Comment
Zombie, there are some problems with Trout's theory. See here for details:
http://preview.tinyurl.com/kuyl3mr

"Robbery unlikely

"The coins are dated from 1847 to 1894, and most of them are what are called Double Eagles, or $20 gold pieces, minted in San Francisco. About a third apparently were never circulated, and more than a dozen were judged by a rare-coin evaluator to be among the finest-preserved examples of their kind.

"That's the kind of stash any self-respecting outlaw would have loved to get his mitts on. But local historians find theft theories unlikely."

So if two-thirds of them Were circulated, they couldn't have been stolen from the Mint. Here's another hypothesis: some family had hoarded these over the years, and when President Roosevelt (Democrat) confiscated everyone's gold coins in 1933, they buried them for safekeeping, then died without telling their heir[s] about the stash.

Here's more about FDR's unconstitutional move:

"President Franklin Delano Roosevelt’s 1933 executive order outlawing the private ownership of gold coins in the United States was arguably unconstitutional. But why did he do it ? Many historians and economists point to efforts to get the economy moving again as the reason, the theory being that people were hoarding gold and the velocity of money in circulation needed to be sped up.

"But the real reason for the gold confiscation was a bailout of the privately-controlled Federal Reserve Bank. "

http://www.moonlightmint.com/bailout.htm
20 weeks ago
20 weeks ago Link To Comment
1 2 3 4 5 Next View All