“Don’t Forget To Walk The Dog”

“Don’t Forget To Walk The Dog” March 3, 2014

Everybody walks the dog after work. Not everybody finds$10 million in buried treasure when they do. But that’s exactly what happenedto a Californiacouple one day last year while strolling along a trail they had walked foryears on their property. Noticing a half-buried, rusty can in the shadow of anold tree, the woman stopped to poke around with a stick. Inside was a stash ofdirty metal disks, which a little cleaning revealed to be uncirculated 19thcentury U.S.gold coins. In all, the couple found eight cans in the hoard, containing 1,427coins with an original face value of $27,980. Because the coins are in pristinecondition, experts have estimated their present-day value to be around $10million; though some individual coins in the cache are so rare, they couldfetch $1 million apiece. (Watch Amazon.com. The sale starts soon!)

It’s an interesting story on several levels. Thethought of finding buried treasure always quickens the pulse. The report thatthe anonymous couple intends to give a good portion of the proceeds to charitywarms the heart. But what most interests me are the circumstances around whichthe money was originally buried in the first place. Who stashed it there? Why?And what in the world happened to prevent him or her from recovering it? Theimagination reels with the possibilities.

Some speculate that this couple has uncovered the lootfrom the 1901 robbery of the San Francisco Mint—six bags of uncirculated coinstotaling $30k, stolen and never recovered. The numbers line up well, but the actualcoins themselves don’t seem to. Not all of the newly discovered coins wereminted in San Francisco.Furthermore, the cans were buried at different depths and stored in collectionsof roughly chronological order, suggesting that the owner would slowly fill acan over time and when it was full, make a new deposit in his or her backyardbank vault.

The “morals of the story” are legion. Don’t bury yourtalents; use them. You can’t take it with you when you’re gone. Don’t boastabout tomorrow. Hiding well is almost as valuable as remembering well. Don’tjust look when you’re out for a walk; see! And perhaps most important of all:don’t forget to walk your dog. It could change your life.