Treasure in the Cellar: A Tale of Gold in Depression-Era Baltimore

Overview

Coin collectors and enthusiasts have long been familiar with the story of two boys who unearthed a fortune in gold coins while playing in a Baltimore basement in 1934. But the rest of the story trailed off to a few odd details. One of the boys died young, the other ran into trouble with the law. No one seemed to know more.

A lifelong coin collector, Leonard Augsburger was determined to uncover the rest of the story. What happened to the kids? ...

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Overview

Coin collectors and enthusiasts have long been familiar with the story of two boys who unearthed a fortune in gold coins while playing in a Baltimore basement in 1934. But the rest of the story trailed off to a few odd details. One of the boys died young, the other ran into trouble with the law. No one seemed to know more.

A lifelong coin collector, Leonard Augsburger was determined to uncover the rest of the story. What happened to the kids? The gold? Who buried it in the first place?

Meticulously researched, Treasure in the Cellar delves into the lives of the boys and their families, recreates the hours at the police station after the boys reported what they found, and describes months of courtroom drama as descendents of several former property owners came forward, each claiming the fortune for themselves.

The Maryland Historical Society

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Editorial Reviews

Baltimore Sun
Using historical context, concrete details and quotes, Augsburger offers a riveting tale of poverty, greed, legal red tape, and the way they exacerbate each other.

— Diane Scharper

Numimaster.com
An interesting read.

— Mike Thomas

Baltimore Sun - Diane Scharper
Using historical context, concrete details and quotes, Augsburger offers a riveting tale of poverty, greed, legal red tape, and the way they exacerbate each other.
Numimaster.com - Mike Thomas
An interesting read.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780938420972
  • Publisher: The Maryland Historical Society
  • Publication date: 4/28/2008
  • Pages: 208
  • Sales rank: 1,445,582
  • Product dimensions: 5.90 (w) x 9.20 (h) x 0.50 (d)

Meet the Author

Leonard Augsburger is an engineering manager in the telecommunications industry. He has written numerous articles for numismatic hobby periodicals and is a frequent speaker at numismatic events. He is a member of the Maryland Historical Society, the American Numismatic Association, and the American Numismatic Society.

The Maryland Historical Society

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Table of Contents

Pt. 1 The Discovery

Ch. 1 The House at 132 South Eden Street 3

Ch. 2 Bessie Sines and Theodore Jones 10

Ch. 3 Henry Grob 17

Ch. 4 Treasure in the Cellar 22

Pt. 2 Whose Gold?

Ch. 5 Laying Claim 27

Ch. 6 The Baltimore Gold Rush 32

Ch. 7 A Weekend of Labor 37

Ch. 8 Andrew Saulsbury 45

Pt. 3 The Trial Begins

Ch. 9 Theodore's Testimony 55

Ch. 10 The Saulsbury and Chenven Claims 59

Ch. 11 The Copper Pot 63

Ch. 12 Judge O'Dunne and the Saulsbury Claim 69

Ch. 13 The Findlay-French Claim 74

Pt. 4 The Auction

Ch. 14 Perry Fuller, Stamp and Coin Dealer 83

Ch. 15 The Findlay-French Appeal 90

Ch. 16 Trespassers or Discoverers? 93

Pt. 5 A Mysterious Theft

Ch. 17 A New Turn of Events 101

Ch. 18 The Families Celebrate 108

Ch. 19 The Merrill Brothers 112

Ch. 20 No Pot to be Found 117

Pt. 6 Secrets and the Secret Service

Ch. 21 Agent Benjamin Bratton 125

Ch. 22 Strategy in the Appellate Court 128

Ch. 23 The Court Decides 137

Pt. 7 Scattered to the Wind

Ch. 24 Treasure Trove Law 143

Ch. 25 The Coins are Dispersed 146

Epilogue: 132 S. Eden Street Today 151

App. 1 A Select Cast of Characters 157

App. 2 Settlement of the Henry H. Grob Estate 161

App. 3 Fuller Inventory of Part One of the Hoard 164

App. 4 Merrill Inventory of Part Two of the Hoard 167

Notes 169

Index 203

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