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Media Misinformation About Coins Including Gold Coins
Just a small selection of the erroneous and misleading press comments and news items about coins in general, and gold coins in particular.

Media Misinformation About Coins Including Gold Coins
Just a small selection of the erroneous and misleading press comments and news items about coins in general, and gold coins in particular.

Herald Sun (Victoria and Melbourne, Australia)
A report of an interesting discovery of gold coins in Western Australia, but because the journalist's assertion that the 400 coins were sovereigns 'dated 1800' is wrong (largely because sovereigns were not struck in 1800), it is difficult to know how much of this story is true, and how much of it was simply made up by the journalist to fill in the gaps without doing any research before writing this piece.

Here is the Article:

Historic Gold Coins Worth $500,000 Found in Backyard
POLICE are trying to determine who has claims to a collection of historic gold coins uncovered on a building site in Western Australia.
A worker digging a trench in Albany unearthed 400 gold sovereigns dated 1800 today.
Police believe the coins could be worth about $500,000.
The excavation company, Wauters Enterprises, handed the coins over to the owner of the property who has laid claim to the find.
But police will delve into law books to find out exactly who is entitled to the coins.
"We're not sure if it's quite that simple," police spokesman Gerry Cassidy said.
"Once you buy that property do you own everything on it? We're looking at precedents.
"It might even be that a museum issue crops up. Is there some state law that says historical finds need to end up in a museum?
"Police have got to work out exactly how they handle it."

Ignorance or Stupidity?
It would be easy to forgive a journalist who has no specialist knowledge of coins for not knowing that modern sovereigns did not enter production until 1817, but what is less easy to forgive is that he asserted something as fact which cannot be true. Therefore, he clearly did not do his research before writing the article and what he has written is misleading readers who do not know any better and is not informing those of us who do. Because some of the assertions in the article are demonstrably false, we cannot really trust that any of the other 'facts' disclosed in the article are true. It is unfortunate that we cannot really know just how many coins were discovered, their actual value, or whether this event has been conflated out of all proportion out of what was actually found. Did anyone even find any gold coins at all?

A Correction (of Sorts)
To be fair to the Herald Sun, they did print another article concerning this story later on once they had communicated with a local numismatist who pointed out some of the factual inaccuracies of the previous article. The article also suggested that around 300 coins had been discovered, rather than the 400 previously suggested. The local numismatist, a Mr Rob Jackman, pointed out that modern sovereigns were not produced until 1817, and presumably on this basis, the newspaper has now asserted more broadly that the gold coins date back to the 1800s, which has every year from 1800 - 1899 covered. Mr Jackson also pointed out that sovereigns in general are very common, and that $500,000 is probably an overoptimistic estimate of the haul's true value.
Confusingly, the article is illustrated with a picture of gold coins other than modern gold sovereigns, including a gold guinea of William III, as well as a whole host of other gold hammered issues and more modern foreign gold coins. With the exception of the gold guinea, it seems unlikely that any of the other gold coins would have formed part of this hoard, and it appears to be a photograph of a random selection of gold coins which is only relevent insofar as the article is about a discovery of gold coins, which may or may not be sovereigns.
The True Story
We still do not know for sure exactly what was discovered by the builders, and this second article does little to enlighten us any further about the subject. If and when a journalist is assigned who can be bothered to do some actual research before writing an article and sending it to the editor for publishing, we will know more about this story.

Legal Position on the Uncovering of Hoards
In English law, at least, when a property (real estate) transfer takes place, it is normal for the ownership of anything left on the property to pass to the purchaser. This is also likely to be the case in most international legal regimes including Australia, although we do not Checked Out We had a similar case some years ago. A lady contacted us to ask our buying price for Krugerrands. In conversation, we asked if she had bought them from us originally, it's always nice to know. She replied that no, actually she had found them, and was about to ask our advice about the legal position. Although we thought we knew the answer, we checked it with a friendly local solicitor, who confirmed what we thought, adding thoughts on some other relevant practical points as well.

John Lennon Coin Issued by UK Royal Mint - ABC News

John Lennon Coin Issued by UK Royal Mint - ABC News

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