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The E-Sylum:  Volume 9, Number 21, May 21, 2006, Article 12

KERENS, TEXAS GOLD HOARD INFORMATION SOUGHT

Dave Ginsburg writes: "Through the good offices of fellow
Liberty Seated Collectors Club (LSCC) member, Len Augsburger,
I've received copies of 11 pages from the Secret Service gold
investigation files concerning the 1947 discovery of $1,775 in
gold coins on a farm in Kerens, TX (which is about 70 miles
southeast of Dallas).  While I'm pleased to say that the Curator
of History at the Smithsonian informed the Mint Director that
the coins were "of recognized special value to collectors of
rare and unusual coin" and the Secret Service, when informed of
this, allowed the finders to keep the coins, I'd like to find
out more about the hoard.

I'm reliably informed that the hoard isn't mentioned in Dave
Bowers' American Coin Treasures and Hoards (1988), nor is it
mentioned in John Kleeberg's article on the 1936 Hull, TX hoard
(American Journal of Numismatics #11, 1999).  A quick search in
the Bass Numismatic Periodicals Index didn't reveal any articles
that obviously concerned a hoard found in Kerens.

The hoard was discovered in the spring of 1947 on a farm owned
by A.L Bain.  It consisted of 166 coins (57 double eagles, 19
eagles, 88 half eagles and two quarter eagles) dated between
1834 and 1866.  Somewhat to my surprise, the hoard contained 25
Civil War-era (1861-1865) double eagles (almost evenly divided
between Philadelphia [13] and San Francisco [12]) - plus one
1866-S double eagle; while none of the eagles were dated later
than 1856 (or 1857) and none of the half eagles were dated later
than 1861.  One of the quarter eagles was an 1861 and the other
was an 1866.  Only one eagle and one half eagle were from San
Francisco - 1854-S and 1855-S, respectively, while 12 of the
half eagles were Classic Head (1834-1838).

I'm presuming the hoard was buried in 1866, since there was only
one 1866 double eagle, but four 1865 double eagles and four 1864
double eagles.

In his letter to the Secret Service, Mr. Bain says that the coins
were examined by Mr. W.A. Philpot, Jr. (described by the Secret
Service as the Secretary of the Texas Bankers Association and a
collector of rare coins), but that he did not sell the coins to
him at that time.  Mr. Bain also states that he has secured a bid
from an unidentified coin dealer and hopes to obtain a bid from
"Mr. Hoffecker of El Paso soon and probably other coin dealers
and collectors."

I'll begin my research by contacting the Kerens historical society
and/or public library, of course, but in the meantime, I'd be
overjoyed (and grateful) to receive any information that any of
my fellow E-Sylum subscribers have regarding this hoard, including
information about Mr. Philpot, Mr. Hoffecker, etc.  I'd really be
interested to know if the coins appeared at auction at the time,
too.  Any speculation about how the coins got to Texas in 1866
would be welcome.  (Since the transcontinental railroad wasn't
completed until May 1869, I'd really like to know how the San
Francisco double eagles got there!)

I'd be happy to provide an inventory of the hoard or a copy of
the correspondence, if anyone's interested."

  Wayne Homren, Editor

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