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Antique American coin haul found in Hackney back garden

PUBLISHED: 11:59 18 October 2010

'Double-Eagle' $20 coins

'Double-Eagle' $20 coins

Archant

Stamford Hill gardeners dig up prized $20 coins.

A TREASURE trove of antique gold coins has been dug up in a Hackney back garden.

The stash of 80 gold $20 coins was found by two residents of the property in Stamford Hill who decided to do a bit of gardening with friends.

After breaking through the earth, the friends stumbled across the coins, ranging in date from 1854 to 1913, and then took them to the Portable Antiquities Scheme.

An inquest is currently being held to determine whether or not the haul qualifies as treasure.

The inquest has been adjourned and is due to be at the Poplar Coroner’s Court on the 8th of February 2011.

The coins will qualify as Treasure under the terms of the Treasure Act 1996 and thus the property of the Crown, if the coroner finds that they have been buried with the intent of future recovery.

However if the original owner or his or her heirs are able to establish their title to the coins, this will override the Crown’s claim.

Hackney Museum has expressed an interest in acquiring the coins, which would then be valued by the Treasure Valuation Committee at their full market value.

Hackney Museum would then have up to four months to raise the money to pay for the hoard, and this sum would be divided between the owner of the land and the finder.

Dr Barrie Cook of the British Museum, Department of Coins and Medals, said: “The 80 coins are all gold 20-dollar pieces of the United States, issued between 1854 and 1913.

“The coins are thus all the same denomination, introduced in this form in 1850, and were struck to the same standard, 90 per cent gold, used from 1837 until the end of US gold coinage in 1933.

“The catalogue shows that the coins gradually increase in number across the decades from 1870 to 1909 (13 coins from 1870-9; 14 from 1880-89; 18 from 1890-99; and 25 from 1900-9).

“Over a quarter of the total were issued in the last 6 six years represented. Together these factors suggest that the material began to be put aside during this later period, rather than being built up systematically across a range of time represented.

“The main element among this latest material are the 17 coins dating to 1908, which suggests that a single batch of coins from that year might have formed the core for the group.”

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