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Duluth cab company owner strikes gold

It might not be a bad idea to check underneath the seat cushions next time you ride in a cab. Custom Cab owner Dan O'Hearon was cleaning out a cab he was taking out of service last week when he found a pouch containing six gold coins underneath t...

Gold coins
Dan O'Hearon, owner of Custom Cab, struck it rich when he pulled out the back seat of a cab that was out of service and found a bag of old gold coins, one dating back to 1892. He's going to great lengths to try to find their owner and, failing that, will auction them off and donate the proceeds to charity. (Clint Austin / caustin@duluthnews.com)

It might not be a bad idea to check underneath the seat cushions next time you ride in a cab.

Custom Cab owner Dan O'Hearon was cleaning out a cab he was taking out of service last week when he found a pouch containing six gold coins underneath the back seat.

"There was more than $1,000 worth of coins there," he said.

He's not sure how the coins got beneath his back seat -- he said a police friend of his suspects they may have been stolen -- but now he wants to try to return them to their rightful owner.

O'Hearon put an ad in the paper with descriptions of five of the coins, while a description of the sixth one will remain under wraps.

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"No one else will know exactly what's on the coin except me," he said. "It's an oddball coin that the owner of the pouch would definitely know."

As for the five coins O'Hearon will talk about, one of them is a $5 piece minted in 1909, while another three are $2½ pieces minted in 1913.

There is also a tiny California Fractional Gold Coin with the date 1868 listed on it.

The $5 coin has about a quarter-ounce of gold and is worth about $400 to $500, while the $2½ pieces are worth $200 to $300, said Lake Superior Coin associate Pete Lilleberg, who examined the coins and believes they are authentic.

The California Gold coin could be worth about $100 to $200, Lilleberg said, but added it's possible it's a fake.

"There are a lot of fakes of that out there," he said. "I'd have to study that one more."

Though that particular coin has only a small amount of gold, it's highly collectible because it's scarce, Lilleberg said.

O'Hearon said if the true owner of the coins doesn't come forward in 30 days, he'll auction them and give the proceeds to the nonprofit "People with Disabilities for Change."

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He said he won't pocket them for himself.

"They aren't mine," he said. "It's as simple as that."

Shawn O'Hearon
Shawn O'Hearon of Duluth shows the cab where his brother Dan O'Hearon, owner of Custom Cab, struck it rich when he pulled out the back seat of a cab that was out of service and found a bag of old gold coins, one dating back to 1892. (Clint Austin / caustin@duluthnews.com)

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