Jar filled with $20 Double Eagle gold coins expected to raise £80,000 for heirs of Jewish refugees Double Eagles discovered in the garden of a London home where they were buried in fear of a Nazi invasion are expected to sell for a total of around £80,000 in a London auction on November 29-20.
Jar filled with $20 Double Eagle gold coins expected
to raise £80,000 for heirs of Jewish refugees
American gold coins discovered in the garden of a London home where they were buried in fear of a Nazi invasion are expected to sell for a total of around £80,000 in a sale to be conducted by specialist London auctioneers Morton & Eden. The sale, in association with Sotheby's, will be held on November 29-30.
The 'Hackney hoard' of $20 Double Eagle coins first hit the headlines when a resident and his friends uncovered them while digging out a pond in his front garden. The 80 glistening coins, wrapped in greaseproof paper and packed tightly inside a glass preserving jar, were the subject of a "Treasure" enquiry and, most unusually, one of the sons of the original owner was traced. This meant that the treasure was returned to him rather than becoming, technically, Crown property.
The Treasure Act 1996 was intended to deal mainly with older coin hoards, often dating back to Roman or Celtic times. It is believed this is the first time since the Act came into force that an original owner or descendant has been found.
One specimen has been presented to the Hackney Museum, where it is to be displayed together with the jar and wrappings in which the hoard was found. A further two coins are being retained and the remaining 77 coins are being offered for sale. Ten examples will be sold individually, each with an estimate of around £1,000, and the remaining 67 coins as a single lot, estimated at £60,000-80,000.
Some of the sale proceeds will go towards restoring the memorials to five family members killed during the Blitz and the finders will receive a reward.
The story is straight from a 'Boy's Own' adventure, tragic circumstances turning to amazing good fortune.
In his own words, Max Sulzbacher, son of the original owner, explains that his family was one of some 60,000 Jews who had fled to England to escape persecution after Hitler and the Nazis first came to power in 1933. His father Martin, a banker living in Frankfurt, mother, three young siblings and their half-Jewish maid moved into a double-fronted house in Bethune Road, Hackney in January 1939. Martin's brother, with his wife and their two children, had already emigrated to London in 1934 and took up British nationality five years later while, in November 1938, their sister's husband was sent to Dachau, never to be heard of again.
"My father was therefore responsible for bringing his sister as well as her three children to London. He was also able to bring over his aged parents - my grandparents - as well. When war broke out, my brother and I were evacuated with our school to Bedfordshire", Max Sulzbacher said.
"My father and mother together with my small brother and sister were interned as 'enemy aliens'. My father was first sent to a camp