Real-Life Treasure Hunt

by Laura Overdeck

You never know what’s buried right under your feet. Well, one California couple found real treasure in their backyard! When they saw a can sticking out of the ground, they dug and dug, and found eight cans filled with 1,427 gold coins! The mix of $5 coins, $10 coins and $20 coins was minted (made) between 1847 and 1894, back when Americans used coins for those amounts. If you add up all those $10s and $20s, the coins have a total face value of almost $28,000. But they’re worth far more than that, because the older a coin, the fewer of that coin we still have, and so the more people will pay to own that coin. One of the coins is worth over $1 million all by itself, and all together the collection could sell for about $10 million!

Wee ones: Which has a bigger number on it, a $5 coin or a $10 coin?

Little kids: If you found two $5 coins, how much money would you have? Bonus: If the coins are worth $10 million total and just 1 of them is worth $1 million, how much are the others worth all together?

Big kids: If you pulled out a $5 coin, then a $10, then a $20, then a $5 again to repeat the pattern…how much would the first 6 coins be worth together? Bonus: If the couple buried the 1,427 coins again in bags, with at most 100 coins in each, at least how many bags would they need?

The sky’s the limit: If there were equal numbers of $20s, $10s and $5s, how many of each would you need for the face value to add exactly to $28,000?











Wee ones: The $10 coin.

Little kids: $10. Bonus: $9 million.

Big kids: $70. Bonus: At least 15 bags, since 14 bags would hold only 1,400 coins.

The sky’s the limit: One trio of a $20 coin, a $10 and a $5 adds up to $35, so you just need to find out how many sets of $35 go into $28,000 — and you can guess it will go evenly, since both are divisible by 7! 8 sets of $35 are worth $280, and you need 100 times as much as that, so you need 800 of each coin.

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