Hidden wartime treasure set to fetch £80,000 at auction

A glass jar containing eighty US Double Eagle gold coins found buried in the garden of a London residential care home, nicknamed the “Hackney Hoard”, is expected to fetch around £80,000 when they go to auction next week. After being reported to the British Museum by their finder Terence Castle, it was later ruled that an attempt should be made to reunite them with their rightful owner.

It was discovered that they originally belonged to Martin Sulzbacher, a German Jewish banker, who had fled to Britain from Nazi persecution and were buried for safekeeping by his brother after the start of the blitz. Tragically, his brother and four other members of his family were killed by a bomb not long after.

Despite searches by Martin Sulzbacher, the location of the coins remained a mystery until discovered over seventy years later by Terence Castle. Max Sulzbacher, 81, the son of Martin and living in Jerusalem, was found to be the rightful inheritor of the $20 gold coins dating from 1850 to 1913. He decided that seventy-seven of them should be put up for auction, with the sum being split between himself and his three siblings, with a reward going to Terence Castle and the person responsible for tracking him down.

During such a time of uncertainty as existed when the coins were originally buried, the enduring value of gold coinage was clearly seen as a source of security, much as they have been for hundreds of years and certainly as they still are today.

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