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Explore Historic California


The Hidden Treasure Story by John Church

John Church and his wife share one of the many hidden treasure stories from their personal archives.

Hidden Treasure Story
This hidden treasure story begins with an old letter that we came across in our collection of old papers and related items.  The letter was dated 1875 from an old employee of one of the first private owned mints in California.  It was sent to a relative in Arizona.  In this letter he related to one of his close relatives that he and a few others had taken a lot of minted coins from their employer, John Moffat, the owner of the mint.  They hid sacks of these now rare coins around the town of Mount Ophir, California, near the old mint.  The letter writer felt he was getting too old to return to the area and look for these sacks of coins, and he had forgotten the exact location.  However he wanted someone to know that there were enough coins hidden to make it worth while. 
The question is, did the relative receiving this letter take the advice and go to the old mint to find the sacks of gold coins?  Or could they still be out there ready to be discovered?  Who knows for sure?
I know if I was younger I would go check it out, but we thought we would pass this treasure story on to you younger whipper snappers. 
Mount Ophir is located in the county of Mariposa.  According to, this ghost town can be visited year round.  It has no residents, but is located on the old highway that parallels the famous Highway 49, just 5 miles north of Mount Bullion.  There are still some foundations and walls remaining. 
Well, did this inspire you ghost town buffs like it did us when we first came across this interesting story?  We hope it did!  This is one of many stories we enjoy sharing with all of you fellow ghosttowners. 
Thank you for giving us the opportunity to share our love for the old west and happy treasure hunting!
                                    Johnnie & family