The Wells Fargo Hoard .. How did this happen?
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190 posts in this topic

The hoard name is nothing more than clever marketing. Collectors make a strong association between gold and the “old west.” The “Wells Fargo” name is one of the few from western American history that remain widely known. The connection is nostalgic, romantic and entirely artificial. If it were called the “Lichtenstein Hoard” would it have had as much appeal? Could the marketers have dumped nearly 20,000 over graded, common-date double eagles at premium prices from the “Lichtenstein Hoard?”
I'm sure Wells Fargo didn't object either. It's great marketing for them as well.
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Great thread, worth re-starting.....Gillio has NEVER disclosed the exact location of where the coins were stored or who tipped him off.  It does appear that the coins were NOT in the U.S. but probably a foreign country; they weren't in a U.S. bank and withheld from the confiscators of FDR's administration.

And yes, the Wells Fargo moniker has nothing to do with their long-stored status but a holding spot after Gillio took delivery of the coins.  It was where they were kept before they went to PCGS.   They might have been at a central bank or money center bank in some Central American or South American country....or even a high-ranking military junta's private stache.  Those names wouldn't have meant anything to most Americans.  Hell, before I did some digging I too thought they had been in a Wells Fargo bank for decades. 

Apparently, they were there for days or weeks and only in 1998. xD

Edited by GoldFinger1969
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On 5/27/2009 at 11:56 AM, BillJones said:

The other night I was reading about the Wells Fargo hoard of 1908 No Motto $20 gold pieces in the Encyclopedia of U.S. Gold Coins 1795 - 1933 by Jeff Garrett and Ron Guth.

Any additional details in this book above and beyond what Bower's wrote in his GUIDE BOOK on DE's ?

I was thinking of getting this book but it is pricey. xD

 

Edited by GoldFinger1969
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2 hours ago, RWB said:

The comments in my DE book were the most reliable and accurate I could find at the time. It is up to Mr. Gillio and others to reveal the full story.

That's what I thought, Roger.  Gonna re-read that section tonight since I've been posting a bit on it on some threads here and ATS.

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On 2/6/2021 at 5:27 PM, GoldFinger1969 said:

That's what I thought, Roger.  Gonna re-read that section tonight since I've been posting a bit on it on some threads here and ATS.

And I did....entire section on 1908's is outstanding, I never knew about Long and Short Rays before.

The change in price for >MS65 coins once the hoard hit is very interesting, esp. the MS67's and MS68's.

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1 hour ago, RWB said:

I've been trying to find the name of the turnip truck driver, from whose truck all the buyers at inflated prices fell...but no luck so far, and I've looked under a lot of rocks and fallen trees.....

;)

It looks like the condition rarity pre-Wells hit right at MS66 but was really big at the MS67 and 68 levels.  But at MS65 and below, nada.  There was enough coins at that level for collectors, investors, and all others.

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On 5/28/2009 at 9:55 AM, Oldtrader3 said:

There seemed to be a collector perception also that the Wells Fargo Hoard coins were graded rather liberally. I have looked at quite a few MS65/MS64, Wells Fargo coins, passed on them and thought that they were overgraded. This overgrading has been the issue with several other hoards as well.

Many of the coins have the OGH 3.1 slab during which you generally did NOT have loose grading standards.  I've also seen some Wells Fargo coins with CAC stickers, and John Albanese tends to be pretty tough grading Saints.

Don't forget, over 50% of the hoard (12,000 coins) were MS-65 or below....there the market got oversupplied and you couldn't really cut prices at those grades because they already traded as generic common bullion.  That's why dealers got fed up with Wells Fargo NM's.  They were already a generic common even before the hoard and in the MS65 grades or below plentiful enough.  Then you had thousands more in each grade.

No wonder they got indigestion. xD

On 5/28/2009 at 9:55 AM, Oldtrader3 said:

As for the provenance of these coins, who knows? The most logical quess is that they were used for specie payment and either never left Wells Fargo vaults or were foreign coins bought back in the late 1960's. It could be as simple as an asset that off-book and was forgotten, kind of like the GSA dollars.

I find it strange that Gillio hasn't revealed more details.  It's not like it's top secret or he did something illegal.  Common sense would indicate either he had a sensitive lead at a bank that had the coins OR they came from some individual or institution where someone maybe cut some corners.  Maybe a private citizen from Central or South America had the coins and a family member or government official decided to liquidate it and take his/her cut secretly.

I doubt they came from Europe since the American dealers had experts scouring those banks in the 1960's and 1970's.  This would be a record hoard in size, hard to believe it lasted until the mid-1990's.  Possible, but highly unlikely.

A small or midsized South American, Central American, or Mexican bank....some leader of a military junta....a south of the border government agency that aquired the coins.  Those are some possibilities.

The coins were probably on the books for about $400,000, the face value of the coins.  Gold was about $375/oz. so the coins were worth just under $7.5 million based on bullion value.  Most of the coins initially sold for just over $1,100 retail so assuming that Gillio bought them all as 1 group (not segmenting the coins by quality) for about half of that (a nice markup above the spot price of $375/oz.)....he probably paid about $10-$11 MM.

Edited by GoldFinger1969
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On 5/27/2009 at 1:12 PM, RWB said:

They might have been owned by a foreign national, or purchased in Europe

i believe there were 700 bags of US $20 gold pieces found in the Merkers mine in Germany by Patton's people.  US gold along with many other bags of foreign gold looted by the NAZIs.  In fact the entire German Reichsbank was hidden in mines.  I believe it was 700 bags (size of bag unknown) but I would have to check my book.  What I wouldn't have done for 1 bag.  :devil:

Edited by Alex in PA.
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7 hours ago, Alex in PA. said:

i believe there were 700 bags of US $20 gold pieces found in the Merkers mine in Germany by Patton's people.  US gold along with many other bags of foreign gold looted by the NAZIs.  In fact the entire German Reichsbank was hidden in mines.  I believe it was 700 bags (size of bag unknown) but I would have to check my book.  What I wouldn't have done for 1 bag.  :devil:

I've seen reference to the Merkers Mine but never seen any detail on quantity of coins, what type of gold coins, condition, disposition, etc.  If you have any good articles or leads, please post them.

A standard bag of double eagles was 250 coins.  700 bags would have been 175,000 coins.  The Wells Fargo Hoard was about 80 bags assuming each filled to 250 each.

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12 minutes ago, GoldFinger1969 said:

I thought it was 250 double eagle coins per bag or $5,000 ? 

That was the US Mint standard.

 

11 minutes ago, GoldFinger1969 said:

Merkers Mine but never seen any detail on quantity of coins, what type of gold coins, condition, disposition

This is discussed in my JNR article. The coins were inventoried by nationality/type, quantity, disposition plus other data from the Reichsbank records.

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29 minutes ago, RWB said:

This is discussed in my JNR article. The coins were inventoried by nationality/type, quantity, disposition plus other data from the Reichsbank records.

Got a link ?  Or maybe you can attach a PDF here.

Edited by GoldFinger1969
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16 hours ago, GoldFinger1969 said:

1905-1908 is the book most heavy on Saints, right ?

Right. That was completed in 2006 (I think) and includes some details not in the SG book.

Edited by RWB
Correct book date
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The JNR issue is #3, Here is the abstract for the specific article.

“U.S. MINT & NAZI GOLD, MERKERS KAISERODA SALT MINE TREASURE, WORLD WAR II: JUNE TO AUGUST 1945.”
Under orders from Nazi leadership, primarily Hermann Goering and Heinrich Himmler, conquered people and nations were systematically stripped of art, gold and other valuables. Recovery of the treasure after the end of the European war had an unexpected connection to the U.S. Mint.

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On 5/28/2009 at 9:09 AM, kryptonitecomics said:

The real story is that I used my Delorean to go back to 1908 and purchase the Double Eagles......

 

http://steve.goddard-kool.itmblog.com/files/2008/10/cars-02-1981-delorean-dmc-12-back-to-the-future.jpg

 

http://www.tulving.com/wells3.JPG

 

Then I reappeared in the 1960's so I could get them transferred into modern bags to help erase any suspicions others would have if they found my pristine bags of gold coins stored in hundred year old bags.

 

Finally my cousin Vinny helped me smuggle the coins back into the bank using a vintage Wells Fargo Stage Coach.

 

http://www.sandiegohistory.org/journal/82fall/images/pg221.jpg

 

The coins weren't actually stored in a Wells fargo Bank....we just used the stage coach name as we thought it would sound better then the Banco Popular hoard

TM

 

http://www.bancopopular.com/us/img/personal/header/logoBPPR.gif

 

Any questions? (shrug)

This account, which reflects the intimate personal insider knowledge of an actual participant is plausible, credible, and above reproach. If any collector worthy of the name agrees, a GoFundMe site should be set up immediately -- yes, even years after the fact -- to fully reimburse "AM kryptonitecomics" for out-of-pocket expenses incurred in carrying out this action. When a bank like Wells Fargo agrees to pay $3,000,000,000 to settle criminal charges and a civil action stemming from its mistreatment of its customers in its community bank over a 14-year period (2002-2016) it should come as no surprise that it had no compunction to "using its employees to use fraud to meet impossible sales goals."

We owe the kryptonite guy a debt of gratitude for bringing these sordid details to light.

Edited by Quintus Arrius
Accudental premature trigger of Save tab.
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Modwriter:  What is somewhat strange involving The WF Hoard, Mod, is that Ron Gillio -- who found them and took possession of the coins -- has been very quiet regarding the details. 

It IS possible he was sworn to secrecy and he didn't want to reveal sensitive details at the time.  If someone was cut out of the monies....if the people he bought them from bribed people....if it was coins that were in the possesion of an unsavory government or military official....well, you could understand why they wouldn't want those details leaked.  However, it has been 25 years since they were found -- you'd hope the statute of limitations on secrecy would be expiring soon. xD

David Bowers GUIDE BOOK ON DOUBLE EAGLES has the story as does Roger's SAINTS masterpiece (probably the most detailed and up-to-date information anywhere on the hoard).  I haven't checked it out yet but I don't think that Bower's own Hoard book has any additional details on The WF Hoard (assuming it is even mentioned which I assume it would be given the size).

Secrecy involving the hoards -- even the European ones, but especially South/Central American ones -- seems to be a constant.  There's obviously a windfall being made and folks don't want it publicized.  It's also possible that in some cases the original owners (banks or individuals or goverment officials) may think that the coins are only worth their bullion value, not realizing some or all may have numismatic value, too.  So any "middle man" doing the deal made a nice killing by re-selliing to the U.S. dealers.

The El Salvador/MTB Hoard was found in 1983 and chronicled by David Akers.  It's the only one larger than The WF Hoard I am aware of.

 

Edited by GoldFinger1969
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MODWRITER:  ".....when I saw the @Marilyn Goldenpic of her older PCGS holder, that I found fascinating. Also a big thanks to @GoldFinger1969posts too. This has been a huge learning experience for me. The latest issue of Littleton's catalog has a non-Wells Fargo hoard St. Gauden's graded by our host on the back cover for $3,125 that had caught my eye before this thread.

When you said "graded by our host" -- you mean Littleton's ?  For that money, it should be at least MS-66 or maybe an MS-65 CAC.

A WF Hoard Saint is on my to-buy list.

Edited by GoldFinger1969
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Mod, do you collect Saints or are you just now developing an interest in Saints ? 

Besides some good threads here, the 3 books I think are essential are the ones by David Akers, David Bowers, and of course, Roger Burdette's SAINTS DOUBLE EAGLE masterpiece.

Edited by GoldFinger1969
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1 hour ago, GoldFinger1969 said:

When you said "graded by our host" -- you mean Littleton's ?  For that money, it should be at least MS-66 or maybe an MS-65 CAC.

A WF Hoard Saint is on my to-buy list.

Sorry Goldfinger, Graded by NGC. MS64. Littletoncoin.com 

20210401_150401.jpg

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2 minutes ago, GoldFinger1969 said:

The price is way high for an MS-64.  Caveat Emptor !!  xD

But it has a Littleton Select label! lol Thanks for saving me $787.50 per month.😂 i checked the label with my loupe and the NGC cert# number is 3912825-001.

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4 minutes ago, Modwriter said:

But it has a Littleton Select label! lol Thanks for saving me $787.50 per month.😂 i checked the label with my loupe and the NGC cert# number is 3912825-001.

I'd say $2,300 or so, give or take, is fair value for a 1908 MS64 No Motto.

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