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Treasure hunters find gold prize


Justin, left, and Ryan Sloan, both second graders and Young Numismatists, hold up the McKinley gold dollar at the mailbox under which it was hidden.

A father and his two young sons won a treasure hunt Dec. 17 that was sponsored by Bonanza Coins of Silver Spring, Md.

They triumphed after just five of the daily clues were posted by Julian Leidman on the Bonanza Coins Facebook page.

The prize was a gold McKinley commemorative dollar of 1916 worth about $300.

Chris Sloan, a collector from Montgomery County, Md., and his twin 8-year-old sons, Justin and Ryan, went on the hunt “after being snubbed by my teenage daughter on my offer to go treasure hunting (she ‘had plans’).

“I headed to my car with my twin 8-year-olds who were more than game for the adventure,” Sloan wrote in his account.

“During a stop for gas, I refreshed Julian’s Facebook page and noticed Clue #5 had posted 23 minutes earlier.

The race was on.

The fifth clue read, “A 1916 McKinley gold dollar is hidden Northwest of Washington, D.C., within an unincorporated area that is centered at: 38° 59’N 77° 7’W.

After false starts with data entry that pinpointed the location in China. A telephone call by Sloan to a friend with a laptop helped sort it all out.

“Little did I know at the time that if you paste the coordinates from the clue as written into Google, the same address shows up. Oof,” he noted

That address is 7447-7499 Radnor Rd, Bethesda, MD 20817.

This Sloan said was about 20 minutes from his gas station stop.

“I entered the address into the map function on my phone and raced around the area with my index finger.

However, the first four clues helped the trio zero in on their hoped for gold find.

The first clue was “A hidden 1916 McKinley gold dollar is near a place named after the ruthless oil baron in the U.S. television series ‘Dallas.”

J.R. Ewing is the answer.

Second clue: “A 1916 William McKinley gold dollar is hidden in the same state that once was called home to both The Bullets and the Colts.”

Maryland is the answer.

Third clue: “Sometimes when things are not in plain sight, nothing left nor right, one might look to the sky but gold is often found underneath.”

Look underneath is the answer.

Fourth clue: “A 1916 McKinley gold dollar is hidden in the county with the same name as this British ‘Spartan General.’”

Montgomery County is the answer.

Armed with the information provided by the first four clues and being in the area specified by the coordinates, Sloan wrote, “Not seeing anything of interest, I entered ‘Ewing’ and ‘Bethesda’ and found Ewing Drive. There were a few bus stops on Ewing Drive.

“Was the coin in a bus shelter or under a trash can? Was it in a park? More virtual searching on Ewing Drive and then I saw it. There was a cross street on Ewing Drive: McKinley Street. We were looking for a McKinley gold commemorative coin! The coin was at the intersection of Ewing and McKinley in Bethesda, Md.

“We drove to the area and passed a small roundabout at the three-way intersection of Ewing and McKinley in a quiet residential section of Bethesda. We parked and walked over to the intersection. The grassy area of the roundabout had a few shrubs and a bench, I think.

“Then, I saw a more obvious target: a United States Postal Service blue mail box, a structure in a public place. My boys ran over to the box and looked underneath it. Nothing. Then, Justin instinctively got on his hands and knees and reached underneath the mail box. He tore off a piece of cardboard and a plastic bag that was taped to the underside of the mailbox. Our Eureka Moment! We found the treasure.”

Off they went to Bonanza Coins. They were declared winners by Leidman that very afternoon.

This article was originally printed in Numismatic News Express. >> Subscribe today

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