Newly discovered treasure of gold coins from a prominent French champagnery to highlight June auction at Bonhams

Los Angeles - Bonhams is pleased to announce to sale of The Champagne Lanson Bonnet Vineyard Collection of $20 Gold Coins during its June 2013 auction of Rare Coins and Medals in Los Angeles. The well publicized discovery occurred in France last February by chance when, according to the vineyard, several of the coins rained down on a worker remodeling a former grape-drying facility.

The Collection features 497 gold US coins minted between 1851 and 1928 with an approximate appraise of $1 million. The coins have been untouched for nearly a century and range in condition from Very Fine to Choice Mint State. It is unknown how the coins found their way to the attic in the eastern village of Les Riceys, France, but the building was owned by a wine producer who traded with the US and England in the 1930s.

Paul Song, Director of the Rare Coins and Banknotes Department at Bonhams, said of the auction, "Bonhams is extremely pleased to be working with The Lanson-BCC Group on this auction. With many coin collections typically found in bank vaults, we are excited to bring this new, uniquely discovered treasure to auction. Our Bonhams Paris Office was instrumental in working closely with the consignor, Lanson-BCC Group, parent company to Alexandre Bonnet Champagne among others, to ensure that the Collection will be presented and sold at auction in the US as a newly discovered treasure. As well, we are delighted that the auction of the coins will not only promote the name of the Lanson Group Champagne brands in the US but that half of the proceeds from the auction will go to the individual who discovered the coins in the house. The vineyard has described him as a modest employee of the Lanson firm, who brought the Collection to the attention of the company not knowing that he would be entitled to half of the proceeds under French law. According to the vineyard, this anonymous individual will now be able to buy or build a house for his family with the auction proceeds."

Previews of The Champagne Lanson Bonnet Vineyard Collection will begin approximately one year from their initial discovery with an unveiling scheduled for January 29 at the Style et Elegance au Grand Palais hosted by Bonhams each year in Paris.

Additional locations on the spring 2013 highlight tour include Bonahms offices in New York, San Francisco and Los Angeles.


NOTES FOR EDITORS

Bonhams, founded in 1793, is one of the world's largest auctioneers of fine art and antiques. The present company was formed by the merger in November 2001 of Bonhams & Brooks and Phillips Son & Neale. In August 2002, the company acquired Butterfields, the principal firm of auctioneers on the West Coast of America. Today, Bonhams offers more sales than any of its rivals, through two major salerooms in London: New Bond Street and Knightsbridge; and a further three in the UK regions and Scotland. Sales are also held in San Francisco, Los Angeles, Carmel, New York and Connecticut in the USA; and Germany, France, Monaco, Hong Kong and Australia. Bonhams has a worldwide network of offices and regional representatives in 25 countries offering sales advice and appraisal services in 60 specialist areas. For a full listing of upcoming sales, plus details of Bonhams specialist departments go to www.bonhams.com