497 Gold Coins Found in French Vineyard Go To Auction at Bonhams

February 1st, 2013 by

(photo: Bonham's)

Some of the 497 gold coins discovered in the French vineyard. (photo: Bonhams)

Last February, a worker at the Lanson Bonnet Champagne vineyards was remodeling an old grape drying building when suddenly, gold coins came raining down upon his head! A hoard of 497 U.S. gold coins dated between 1851 and 1928, with an estimated worth $1 million, had been hidden in the attic.

The worker gathered up the coins and turned them in to the company. Honesty has its rewards, as he will receive half the proceeds from the auction.  A Lanson spokesman described him as a modest employee, who turned the coins over not knowing that he would be entitled to half the proceeds under French law as the discoverer of the treasure.

The coins, described by auction house Bonhams as ranging from Very Fine to Choice Mint State condition, were revealed to the public for the first time on January 29, at the Style et Elegance au Grand Palais show in Paris. The collection will also travel to Bonhams offices in New York, San Francisco and Los Angeles for previewing before being auctioned in their June 3 Rare Coins and Medals auction in Los Angeles.

(Bonhams press release)