Couple in California finds 10 Million Dollars in their back yard

Finding gold in your yard could mean a huge jackpot for the IRS.

In California an anonymous couple found $10 million worth of rare mint condition gold coins buried in an old tree on their property. They will most likely owe about half of what they found to the IRS whether they sell the gold or not. Under a 1969 federal court ruling that held a “treasure trove” is taxable the year it was discovered.

“If you find and keep property that does not belong to you that has been lost or abandoned such as treasure, it is taxable to you at its value in the first year it is undisputed possession,” the report said, citing the IRS tax guide. The report also says says after all is done, around 47 percent will go to state and federal tax.

The Couple is going to try and fight the tax claim by saying it was there when they bought the property. Almost all of the 1,427 coins that were found dating back from 1847 to 1894, were in mint condition. 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 a piece.

“I don’t like to say once-in-a-lifetime for anything, but you don’t get an opportunity to handle this kind of material, a treasure like this, ever,” said veteran numismatist Don Kagin, who is representing the finders. “It’s like they found the pot of gold at the end of the rainbow.”

Kagin, a family business owner has been in the rare coin business for a long time, says little about the couple other than that they are husband and wife. They are middle aged and have lived for many years on the property where the coins were found. They have no idea who put them there is what he said. The couple has chosen to remain anonymous in order to avoid a gold rush to their property. They also don’t want to be treated any differently, which can be respected. They say they will sell most of the coins, keeping a couple for keep sake and quietly donate to local charieties while also paying off the bills.

What makes the couples find very valuable is that almost all of the coins are in near perfect mint condition. That means that whoever put them into the ground likely stocked them away as soon as they were put into circulation. “Because paper money was illegal in California until the 1870s,” he added, “it’s extremely rare to find any coins from before that of such high quality. It wasn’t really until the 1880s that you start seeing coins struck in California that were kept in real high grades of preservation.”  The coins, in $5, $10 and $20 denominations, were stored more or less in chronological order, McCarthy said, with the 1840s and 1850s pieces going into one canister until it was filled, then new coins going into the next one and the next one after that. The dates and the method indicated that whoever put them there was using the ground as their personal bank and that they weren’t stolen all at once in a robbery.

“Kagin and McCarthy would say little about the couple’s property or its ownership history, other than it’s in a sprawling hilly area of Gold Country and the coins were found along a path the couple had walked for years. On the day they found them last spring, the woman had bent over to examine an old rusty can that erosion had caused to pop slightly out of the ground. Don’t be above bending over to check on a rusty can,” he said she told him.