The Numismatic Bibliomania Society



The E-Sylum: Volume 18, Number 13, March 29, 2015, Article 30


Speaking of hoard coins, back in the U.S. Frank Colletti published some information on the "Mohawk Valley hoard" in today's JR Newsletter, an email publication of the John Reich Collectors Society. -Editor

They were slabbed by NCS, and they state:

Mohawk Valley Hoard coin NCS has recently encapsulated the Mohawk Valley Hoard in NCS Genuine holders. This hoard was found near Albany New York buried in the ground. The hoard had existed only in legend until it was recently discovered with the help of metal detectors. The hoard contains bust half dollars as well as a significant number of bust quarters. Spanish Colonial pieces consisting primarily of 2 Real coins were also discovered. While it is not known when the coins were buried, the most recent date on any coin in the hoard is 1842. The coins were discovered in rows and may offer a glimpse into the silver coins in circulation in the first third of the 19th century.

NCS Continues:

The coins appear to be intentionally marked by those who buried the hoard. Notches were punched into the coins either along the top edge of the coins or in the center of the coin often in front of the portrait always on the obverse of the coin. These marks, along with environmental damage to some of the pieces, would prevent the hoard from being certified by a major grading service such as NGC. It is speculated that these marks were made so that the owner would know the hoard was found should coins with such marks begin appearing in circulation.

All coins in the hoard have been encapsulated under NCS Genuine Only service. There is no mention of the grade of the details on the label. Each half dollar is fully attributed with Overton numbers according to Variety Plus standards and the quarters have been attributed according to the Browning reference. The Spanish Colonial pieces have been fully attributed according to date, mint, and assayer initials. All coins have the pedigree "Mohawk Valley Hoard" listed in the coin's description.

An example of the mark can be seen here:

The story as written can be found here:

Here's an excerpt from the site. -Editor

Among the loose rocks, under just a couple of inches of soil, were STACKS of Bust Half Dollars. In all, in this one ‘hole’ were 164 Bust Half Dollars and 1 Eight Reale. Because they were stacked, and because they were in well -drained soil among loose rocks, the coins for the most part are nearly as nice as the day they were buried. Most are in grades of VF to choice AU. Again, all were hallmarked.

The searching continued daily for the next week and a half and each day at least one additional cache was found. Most coins were Bust Halves or 2 Reales. On Easter Sunday 2002, the detector went off once again, heralding the discovery of approximately 100 Bust Quarters in one spot. Looking closely at the land, it could be seen that the quarters had been buried at the base of a large tree, long since fallen and decayed back into the soil. Again, all the coins contained the hallmark, with grades ranging from VG to AU. A similar situation later in the year yielded a group of 50 2 Reales which had been buried at the base of a tree which apparently died, fell over and slid down the hillside. Some of the coins, having been tangled in the roots, were dragged down the hillside with the tree. The remainders were at what was once the tree’s base.

Overall, there have been approximately 18 different caches totaling about 550 coins—which included about 100 2 Reales and one 8 Reale. The rest were all Bust Quarters and Halves. All but two of the coins were hallmarked. While the size and quality of the coins in this find are unique in themselves, there are a number of other curious and amazing facts: No higher denominations were found. No copper was found. None of the coins was in any type of container—all were stacked among loose rocks. The US coins ranged in date from 1794 (half dollar) to 1838 (bust quarters and halves). Besides the 1794 half, a number of rarities were among the hoard. Included was one 1815/2 half (full luster AU58), condition census bust quarters including one of the finest known 1805 Browning 5s, a 1818 B9 and an XF and AU 1818 B10—perfect reverse—an extremely rare variety. One of the three non-hallmarked coins is an 1817/3 half in AU58. The two Reales range farther back into the 1700s and are generally in AG to Fine. A small group of the reales and halves exhibited, in addition to the hallmarks, recognizable countermarks from the period.

There has been a great deal of research and educated speculation regarding the well known E and L countermarks on Bust Quarters (some of which were found in the Albany, NY area). We can now add an additional mystery cache—with three different countermarks or hallmarks. The Mohawk Valley was an area of relatively heavy commerce and travel in the early 1800s. Were the coins buried treasure from river pirates? Were they hidden by a local resident who marked them in order to know if the caches had been found and spent? Were they marked to indicate they were genuine? Our search of historical documents from the Mohawk Valley has not yet yielded any clues. Curiously, no Bust Dollars were found. Perhaps there are even more coins in the farm fields, but located away from obvious landmarks! Only time will tell.

Over 200 coins from this find have been acquired by Keshequa Coins of Nunda, New York. In the interest of preserving and promoting numismatic scholarship, we have made some of these coins available to the John Reich Collector Society for census and documentation purposes.

I have Dave Bowers' 1997 American Coin Treasures and Hoards book handy, but didn't find this hoard in the index or the chapter on silver coin hoards (which leads off with the fabled Economite hoard). I'm sure more could be found in the pages of the John Reich Journal. Can any E-Sylum readers add to the story? Where can other images of the coins be found? -Editor

To read the complete newsletter issue, see:
JR Newsletter: 29 March 2015 (234) (

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Wayne Homren, Editor

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