The Story Behind a Hoard of Gold Double Eagle Coins a Man Found Buried in His Back Yard

Image: Portable Antiquities Scheme

A man named Terence Castle was digging a pond in his back yard in 2007 when he found the proverbial pot at the end of the rainbow. A treasure of 80 gold U.S. Double Eagle coins with dates ranging from 1854 to 1913 were in the cache. The virtuous Castle, whose residence is in the Hackney borough of London, informed authorities of his find and eventually gave up the treasure to its rightful owners: the Sulzbacher family.

Martin Sulzbacher, a Jewish refugee from Germany, was a banker who placed the coins in a bank vault just prior to World War II. In 1940, Martin's wife and children were sent to an internment camp in the Isle of Man, and Martin, declared an "enemy alien," was sent first to Canada and then to Australia. Eventually he joined his family in the Isle of Man. In their absence, Martin's brother, a citizen of the UK, took the coins out of the bank and buried them in the back yard. 

When Martin and his family returned home after his period of internment, he found that his house had been demolished by a German bomb and his brother and extended family were killed. No one who knew of the location of the coins was still living. Yet when Castle's discovery hit the news, Max Sulzbacher, by that time aged 81, was able to make his rightful claim on the hoard. 

Read about six other hoarded treasures found in the last seven years at Mental Floss.  

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