Every so often, the discovery of a hoard of gold coins stirs up excitement and lights up the newswires of the numismatic press.
On rare occasions, someone finds coins that date back to antiquity or the Middle Ages. More often than not, however, the coins found are modern issues from the 20th century.
There are always exceptions to the rule, of course.
Forgotten But Not Lost
Construction workers in France stumbled upon a huge cache of 19th-century gold coins while preparing a condemned property for demolition.
The vacant house, located in Brittany, concealed the incredible hoard beneath its floorboards: the workers found 600 Belgian gold coins in the basement. They were all inside of what is described as a "mysterious, shell-shaped container."
Copyright: joey333 / 123RF Stock Photo
Believe it or not, this isn't the first time that a gold coin hoard has been uncovered in France in recent years. About four years ago, a similar situation in Normandy involving construction on a residential property turned up a half-dozen gold bars and—coincidentally enough—exactly 600 gold coins, all dating to the 1920s.
This time, the coins are more than 50 years older. Coverage in the Australian news (based on reporting by AP/Reuters) pegs the date of the gold coins at 1870. Each coin bears the right-facing portrait of the notorious King Leopold II on the obverse.
Avoiding the Same Fate
Unfortunately, the case in 2014 was handled improperly by the finders. The coins were worth well over $1 million, but because the owner of the property was never alerted, the subsequent sale of the coins was a violation of French tax law. It was essentially an act of theft.
The difference with the Belgian coins is that the building in this instance was ostensibly abandoned. No property owner, no risk of stealing.
The workers in Brittany nonetheless made the prudent decision to report the discovery to authorities, who are now protecting the treasure while more about its origins is investigated.
Early indications are that the 600 gold coins are valued at about €100,000, or more than $115,000.
The opinions and forecasts herein are provided solely for informational purposes, and should not be used or construed as an offer, solicitation, or recommendation to buy or sell any product.