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They're ours? Right?

I read the other day of a treasure find in Great Britain.

What makes the story so unusual is the coins were not ancient Celtic or Roman.
They were American.

According to the London Evening Standard a trove of 80 American double eagles ($20 gold pieces) was discovered buried in a garden.

They were dated in a span of years from 1854 to 1913.

There was the usual gross overvaluation placed on them. The paper said hundreds of thousands of pounds. With the pound at $1.60, the coins would be hard-pressed to reach 100,000 pounds.

But the find is still interesting. A museum in Hackney, the area where the coins were discovered, wants to exhibit them.

With World War I breaking out in 1914 and an internal British suspension of the gold standard, perhaps the owner was hedging against a German invasion.

We may never find out what the real story is, but if we were like certain nations the United States could declare them national patrimony and demand them back.

On what grounds?

With such a dodgy pedigree, they obviously must belong to us. They all say “United States of America” right on them.

What more proof do you want?

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4 Responses to They're ours? Right?

  1. Curtis in Houston says:

    I may be mis-remembering but were there a lot of full weight fakes circulating in Europe in the mid to late 19th century? I thought it had something to do with banks paying more for gold coins than they would for gold bars, rounds, or nuggets. If so, how do we know these are not full weight fakes? If I have mis-remembered then disregard my point. Either way finding 5 pounds of gold is very exciting!

  2. Tim L. Shuck says:

    I’m sure SAFE (Savings Antiquities for Everyone) will be right on this, protecting U.S. cultural property rights …

  3. Frank Colletti says:

    Dave:

    Well, it is about time.

    The Greeks want their stuff back, Italy wants their stuff back, the Chinese will not allow export of their coins.

    Everyone wants everything back, well, how about it.

    As you said we have proof that it was meant to come back, otherwise the person who ‘saved them’ in that garden wouldn’t have marked the ‘United States of America’. It is obvious that this was meant to guide the finder with an easy return address.

    And, hey postage is not cheap, so lets offer to mail them some stamps.

    Frank

  4. Timmy says:

    The coin doctors must be drooling over this discovery. I also wish we had more talk about coin doctors, there is a lot on the message boards about them but everybody is afraid to name any of them. Anyway if these coins are not counterfeit then at least we know they haven’t been doctored.

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