The World’s 8 Largest and Most Famous Coin Hoards Discovered to Date

Avid coin enthusiasts will undoubtedly be familiar with the euphoria of stumbling upon a rare piece. This feeling, however, pales in comparison to the exhilarating sensation of unearthing an entire coin hoard. These hoards narrate captivating stories of bygone eras, encapsulating fortunes and monetary relics carefully preserved through time. This article explores the most renowned coin hoard discoveries globally, including the largest coin hoard ever found in the US, focusing on:

The practice, history, and regulations of coin hoarding.
Famous ancient and modern hoards worldwide.
Sourcing hoarded coins for your collection.

If you’re captivated by the allure of lost and found coin hoards and treasures, don’t miss this fascinating video:

Coin hoarding

What is a coin hoard?

The term “hoarding” originated in archaeology, describing the intentional act of accumulating and burying valuable items – a practice aimed at safeguarding or concealing wealth for various reasons. In a numismatic context, a coin hoard mirrors this archaeological concept, signifying a substantial collection of coins intentionally gathered and, at times, concealed for reasons such as preserving value, avoiding economic instability, or responding to societal upheavals.

In contrast to organized collections meticulously curated by numismatists, coin hoards are amassed without a deliberate effort to curate or complete sets. The key distinction lies in intent: collectors carefully assemble sets for historical, legacy, or aesthetic purposes, while hoarders accumulate coins without a specific strategy. The defining characteristic of a coin hoard is the absence of a structured goal, distinguishing it from traditional coin collections.

Nevertheless, determining what constitutes a coin hoard isn’t rigidly defined. Size alone doesn’t categorize a collection as a hoard, with their scope varying widely. Some hoards consist of only a few dozen coins, while others number in the thousands, reflecting their diverse nature which defies a one-size-fits-all definition. Historical context, the intent behind accumulation, and the scarcity of the coins involved are some other factors that contribute to defining whether a collection qualifies as a coin hoard.

Hoard coin discoveries can occur in different ways, such as the original hoarder returning or unearthing by metal detectorists, archaeologists, or other members of the public.

Is it illegal to hoard coins?

In the United States, hoarding coins is not illegal and there is no coin hoarding law per se. However, the legal landscape governing this practice is intricate, varying across jurisdictions and contingent upon the collector’s intent.

Put simply, there exists a legal distinction between coin collecting and hoarding. Accumulating coins for the sake of a hobby or wealth-building is lawful, yet doing so with the aim of defrauding or manipulating currency transgresses legal boundaries.

Enthusiastic coin collectors, motivated by the joy of completing sets, differ from hoarders who amass coins without the intention of creating numismatic collections. The absence of a precise legal definition for hoarding introduces challenges, fostering diverse interpretations. Therefore, collectors should stay current with the legal framework to navigate the delicate balance between individual rights and legal considerations as far as coin possession is concerned.

It’s also essential to note that regulations regarding the possession of large coin quantities vary between countries. For instance, the anti coin hoarding law Philippines proposed seems to be having a significant impact on nations globally and sparking numerous discussions.

Document by the Senate of the Philippines

To delve deeper into the historical limitations on Americans owning gold, read about FDR’s Executive Order, essentially an early version of an anti-coin hoarding bill.

Ancient coin hoards

Ancient coin hoards offer glimpses into the past, revealing stories of ancient economies and cultures.

Greek coin hoards

The birth of coinage, a pivotal development in the history of currency, is often attributed to ancient Greece. While the first standardized coins are generally credited to the ancient Lydians in present-day Turkey around 640 BC, Greece, as a country of immense historical importance and a hub of significant archaeological activity, has been a treasure trove for hoarding of coins discoveries. These discoveries shed light on important aspects of ancient economic systems, trade networks, and cultural practices, providing invaluable insights into the intricate tapestry of the country’s past.

Ancient Greek coin hoard findings continue to emerge even to this day, with one of the most significant ones occurring in 2021. Archaeologists, during the third season of the Phanagoria expedition by the Institute of Archaeology of the Russian Academy of Sciences, unearthed 80 copper staters dating back to the sixth century. This latest inventory of Greek coin hoards, found stashed inside an amphora, is believed to be linked to a series of Hun or Turk assaults that wrought destruction upon major sections of the city.

Ancient Greek coin

Coin hoards of the Roman Empire

The Roman Empire, an unparalleled juggernaut in the annals of human history, held sway over vast territories and diverse cultures, leaving an indelible mark on the evolution of Western civilization. Studying Roman coin hoards reveals details about trade networks, inflation responses, tax systems, and coin circulation in this colossal empire.

One notable discovery is the Frome Hoard, found in Somerset, England, in 2010. Comprising over 52,000 Roman coins, this spectacular Roman coin hoard dating back to the third century stands as one of the largest and most diverse Roman hoards ever unearthed in Britain. The Frome Hoard includes issues featuring notable emperors such as Carausius, Diocletian, Maximian, and Allectus, illuminating the turbulent times marked by political transitions during that time.

Uncover fascinating stories about Roman coins hoard discoveries and more here.

Anglo-Saxon coin hoards

Anglo-Saxon coin hoards serve as windows into the historical landscapes of early medieval England, preserving tales of kingdoms, trade, and societal changes.

Jersey Coin Hoard

The Jersey Coin Hoard, considered one of the most famous Anglo-Saxon coin hoards, is distinguished by its unique blend of Celtic, Anglo-Saxon, and hoard of Roman coins found. This extraordinary collection provides valuable insights into the complex historical interactions between these cultures.

Discovered in 2012 by metal detectorists Reg Mead and Richard Miles on the island of Jersey, the Jersey Celtic Coin Hoard is a remarkable archaeological find. Buried over 2,000 years ago, it consists of an estimated 70,000 to 80,000 coins, predominantly made of silver and gold.

This substantial collection is believed to date back to the 1st century BC, providing a unique glimpse into the late Iron Age and the period of Roman influence in the region. The coins bear intricate designs and symbols, including depictions of stylized horses and other Celtic motifs.

The Jersey Coin Hoard. Photo by Wikipedia

American coin treasures and hoards

American coin hoards, spanning from colonial times to the modern era, illuminate the economic and cultural transformations that have shaped the United States.

Kentucky Coin Hoard

The Great Kentucky Coin Hoard, discovered in 2023 by an anonymous individual in a Kentucky cornfield, is a staggering find of over 800 gold coins dating back to the Civil War era. The discovery, estimated to be worth millions, includes $1 gold Indian coins, $10 gold Liberty coins, and, notably, eighteen 1863-P $20 Gold Liberty coins, a super-rare date with significant value.

The NGC suggests that the coins may have been buried due to Kentucky’s declaration of neutrality during the Civil War, reflecting the state’s internal conflicts.

To procure a rare coin similar to those included in the gold coin hoard found in Kentucky, have a look at this piece:

1901-S $10 Liberty CAC MS65

Metal: Gold
Year: 1901

Check our most current price here.

Baltimore Gold Hoard

The Baltimore Gold Coin Hoard refers to two coin hoards discovered in 1934 and 1935 by teenagers Theodore Jones and Henry Grob while digging in a cellar. Amazingly, these impressive collections of over 3,500 gold coins were unearthed in the same location, one year apart, adding to the intrigue of this historical find.

The hoard of coins ranged from $1 to $20 denominations, dating back to the 1830s – 1850s. Adhering to the 1933 U.S. Gold Act, when the boys found the coins the first time, they turned them over to the government due to private gold ownership being illegal. The second time, however, they gave the coins to their mothers, sparking a legal dispute. Ultimately, the boys were awarded $7,000 each in 1937.

Capture the essence of this legendary discovery with this rare coin:

1853 $20 Liberty PCGS XF45 CAC

Metal: Gold
Year: 1853

Get our most current price here.

Nevada Coin Hoard

One of the most famous coin hoards ever discovered in Nevada was the Redfield Hoard, amassed by financier LaVere Redfield, found at his home after his passing in 1974. A truly iconic collection comprising over 407,000 silver Morgan and Peace dollars, which posthumously earned Redfield the nickname “Silver Dollar King”, the hoard exemplifies Redfield’s unique approach to wealth preservation. The multimillionaire was notorious for avoiding banks due to distrust in paper money and instead hoarding coins, choosing to hide significant portions of his fortune in unconventional places.

The hoard, sold to a large precious metals company for $7.3 million in 1976, showcases Redfield’s decades-long dedication to silver dollars, like the following one, making it a pivotal chapter in numismatic history:

1878 7 Tail Feathers Rev 1878 Morgan $1 PCGS MS64

Metal: Silver
Year: 1878

View our most current price here.

Saddle Ridge hoard coins

Discovered in 2013, the Saddle Ridge Gold Coin Hoard in California stands as the largest known buried coin discovery in the United States to date. Anonymous discoverers, a couple simply known as Mary and John for privacy reasons, stumbled upon this treasure while walking their dog on their property in the Sierra Madre Mountains. Comprising 1,411 coins dating from 1847 to 1894, with most originating from the San Francisco Mint, the hoard was valued at over $10 million.

Enclosed in eight metal cans, the immaculately preserved coins’ origins remain shrouded in mystery, fueling theories involving bank heists, the prudent actions of a wealthy individual distrustful of banks, or even gold miners working nearby stashing coins. The fortunate couple retained ownership of the coins, and eventually made them available for purchase on Amazon, under the listing “Saddle Ridge Hoard coins for sale”.

Embark on a journey through history with this unique coin reminiscent of the Saddle Ridge Hoard discovery:

1840-D $5 Liberty Small Date NGC AU58 CAC

Metal: Gold
Year: 1840

See our most current price here.

New York Subway Coin Hoard

Defying the traditional notion of a coin hoard found buried in the ground, the New York Subway Hoard was meticulously collected over three decades from subway turnstiles by New York City Transit Authority workers. A unique assemblage of 23,000 valuable U.S. coins, it included notable pieces such as 8 1901-S quarters, 45 complete sets of Barber dimes (with the exception of the 1894-S), 241 1916-D dimes, and more.

Acquired by Littleton Coin Co. in the 1990s, this collection represents a captivating chapter in numismatic lore, standing as one of the most unique American coin hoards of all time.

Delve into numismatic history with this captivating coin, echoing the era of the New York Subway Hoard:

1907 Barber Half Dollar PCGS PR65 CAC

Metal: Silver
Year: 1907

Have a look at our most current price here.

Explore Blanchard’s selection of fascinating rarities, extending beyond hoard coins, here.

Where to buy rare coins for your own hoard

From the legendary Saddle Ridge Hoard mystery to the unique collection of the New York Subway Hoard, coin hoards offer glimpses into the past. To unravel the stories behind these extraordinary finds and explore rare pieces, browse through Blanchard’s specially curated collection.

Whether you’re starting your numismatic journey or enhancing your already valuable collection, our team is delighted to assist you and offer expert guidance on coin hoards for sale and more.

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