A collection of gold coins worth a total of $1 million that was discovered by chance at a vineyard in Champagne will be sold in Los Angeles in June.
Nearly 500 of the $20 coins were found at a property belonging to Champagne Lanson's Maison Alexandre Bonnet in February last year. A vineyard worker uncovered the stash in the attic of a house in the village of Les Riceys. It is not known how the coins came to be there, but the building was once owned by a wine producer who traded with the U.S. and England in the 1930's.
The collection features 497 gold U.S. coins minted between 1851 and 1928 with an approximate value of $1 million. According to Bonhams auctioneers, the coins have lain untouched for nearly a century and range in condition from "Very Fine to Choice Mint State."
Under French law, half of the proceeds will go to the Lanson worker who discovered the coins in the house. He is described as a "modest employee," who "will now be able to buy or build a house for his family with the auction proceeds."
Paul Song, director of the rare coins and banknotes department at Bonhams, said: "With many coin collections typically found in bank vaults, we are excited to bring this new, uniquely discovered treasure to auction."
The collection is currently on display in Paris as part of Bonhams' annual "Style et Elegance au Grand Palais," and will be shown at additional locations in the coming months.
It will be sold as part of a rare coins and medals auction in Los Angeles on June 3.