Workers renovating a building at a champagne producer in France received a shock recently when gold coins started to literally rain down on them from the rafters. It is not unusual to hear of gold and silver coins being discovered after being buried in the ground for many years or lost at sea, but to find them hidden in the ceiling is certainly extraordinary.
Francois Lange, head of Alexandre Bonnet vineyards in Les Ricey, France told Agence France Press (AFP) “one of the workers (was) attacking the building’s ceiling with a crowbar when gold coins started to rain down on him, followed by sacks of gold.”
Altogether, 497 gold coins were found, minted between 1851 and 1928. The United States coins, likely Double Eagles, have a face value marking of $20 each, but collectively are now worth over £600,000. With gold recently reaching a record high of $1,920.30 an ounce, there has hardly been a better time for such a treasure to have been discovered.
It remains a mystery as to who exactly originally hid these exceptionally valuable coins in the rafters and why indeed they did so in the first place. However, the building was last owned by a wine producer in the 1930s that traded with the United States, which goes some way to explain their origin. Speculation has hinted at the possibility of the gold coins being hidden for safe-keeping from invading German forces in 1940.
Whatever the history, with Monsieur Lange generously splitting the proceeds from the coins 50-50 between himself and his workers, it looks like all those involved are to benefit from the current strong gold price and numismatic premium of the coins themselves.