IRS to Take About ½ of CA Couple’s $10M Gold Coin Fortune

March 11, 2014 – If you haven’t heard about the California couple who stumbled upon over 1,400 gold coins while walking their property last year, allow me to bring you up to speed. The coins were almost exclusively one-ounce Liberty pieces minted prior to 1896 and many of the pieces were in mint condition.

The couple, who have chosen to remain anonymous, had the coins graded by PCGS. PCGS numismatists came to the conclusion that while the face value of the coins totaled about $27,000 and while the value of the gold in the stash is worth about $2 million the numismatic value of the coins brings the stash’s total value to approximately $10 million.

One of the coins, an 1866 “no motto” $20 piece, is relatively rare and could fetch up to $1 million at auction, according to numismatic experts contacted by The incredible worth of the coins attracted the eyes of the U.S. Mint and it wasn’t long before rumors that the coins were stolen from the San Francisco Mint in 1901 started to swirl.

The Mint’s lawyers could not conclusively tie the coins, now known as the Saddle Ridge hoard, to the 1901 heist or any other reported robbery. However, another governmental agency now has its eyes on the couple, the coins and most of all the estimated $10 million price tag on the lot.

The IRS will take about half of any proceeds from the sale or exhibition of the coins, according to sources. Taxes on the sale of gold are higher than those of other investments, presumably because physical gold purchases don’t involve investing in the dollar or any dollar-backed paper investment. Additionally, the couple will have to pay a treasure trove tax, a tax some have called unconstitutional because the couple found the gold on land they owned.

The couple has given brief, anonymous interviews and it seems as though they don’t have a great need for money. Still, one has to wonder if keeping the gold coins on hand might be a better option than selling them since the IRS is going to bleed as much of that $10 million as possible.

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