Back in October 2010 Philip Mernick passed along an article about an old hoard of U.S. gold coins found in an unusual place - a garden in East London. The hoard has been on display at the British Museum (see image of the exhibit below). Alan Luedeking saw this story on the BBC News website - the original owner of the hoard has been identified and the coins are being returned to his family.
A hoard of gold coins smuggled to London by a Jewish man who fled Nazi Germany will be returned to his descendants, a coroner has ruled.
Max Sulzbacher's family buried the jar of "double eagle" gold dollars in the garden of their home in Hackney.
But they were killed when a bomb hit their house during the Blitz, taking the details of where the coins were with them.
The coins, now being sold, are expected to fetch £80,000 at auction.
They were minted between 1854 and 1913, and will be available to bidders at Spink auctioneers in Bloomsbury, London.
The coins were found wrapped in greaseproof paper by Terrence Castle of Stoke Newington, north-east London, in the summer of 2007 while he was digging a frog pond in the garden of the property with three other people.
Mr Sulzbacher, 81, a retired chartered accountant who lives in Jerusalem, said that he would be using the proceeds of the sale to give the finders of the coins a reward and to restore his family's gravestones at Enfield cemetery, north London.
He said he was "surprised and delighted" by the find.
Mr Sulzbacher's father, Martin, smuggled the coins to England, having sold all of the family's possessions in Germany.
He was sent abroad to Canada at the outbreak of war, but when then the ill-fated Arandora Star he was on was torpedoed and sunk, he was sent to Australia.
His wife and four children, including Max, were interned on the Isle of Man.
His mother and father, brother Fritz, his sister and sister-in-law remained in London and buried the coins, before being killed by a German bomb.
On his release, Martin Sulzbacher unsuccessfully had the garden searched.
Some identical coins were found at the property in 1952 and he was able to claim them.
It was that information that helped the British Museum, the coroner's office and the Museum of London to trace Max Sulzbacher this time.
To read the compete article, see:
Gold coins returned to family of Jew who fled Nazis
Philip Mernick (who first alerted us to the original story) provided the British Museum press release and a link to this article from the Evening Standard. Thanks. What a fascinating journey for this group of coins.
The return of the hoard, now worth about £80,000, means the four now-elderly children of the original owner will be able to afford new gravestones at the Jewish cemetery in Enfield for the grandparents, two aunts and an uncle killed on September 24, 1940, when a bomb fell on the family home in Hackney.
Max Sulzbacher, 81, a retired chartered accountant, said: "The tombstones were poor quality during the war. They have disintegrated and now we know how to pay for new ones."
The coins were discovered three years ago by the current residents when they were gardening. Opening an inquest into the find last October, coroner Dr Andrew Scott Reid gave any claimants until this spring to come forward. The publicity alerted British Museum experts to a 1952 report of a similar find on the same site, which helped them unfold the astonishing story of Martin Sulzbacher, Max's father, and his family. Martin Sulzbacher, a German Jew, fled to Britain in 1938. When war broke out, he was interned as an enemy alien and sent to Australia, while his wife and four children, including Max, were held on the Isle of Man. The remaining family stayed in Hackney. When the risk of invasion grew, they decided Mr Sulzbacher's savings should be buried in the garden.
To read the complete article, see:
To read the earlier E-Sylum article, see:
U.S. GOLD COIN HOARD FOUND IN EAST LONDON GARDEN
Wayne Homren, Editor
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