According to a July 6, 2011 Chinese newspaper article, hundreds of old Spanish silver dollars were recently found in an abandoned pile of dirt.
A villager walking down the street in Longhai Village in Fujian Province noticed something shiny in some dirt that had recently been dumped. Picking the object up he realized it was an old Spanish silver dollar.
News of the find spread quickly setting off a “digging frenzy”.
Soon a hundred villagers appeared with hoes, shovels and basins and began digging in two piles of dirt, measuring about 20 square meters, looking for more silver dollars.
Reportedly, several hundred silver dollars were found.
By the time the police and cultural relics personnel could arrive on scene, however, most of the lucky villagers had already scattered.
According to two experts with the Zhangzhou City Collections Society, the coins are Spanish silver dollars which came into the area as a result of foreign trade during the middle of the Qing Dynasty. These silver dollars are frequently found here and villagers refer to them as “funny face” coins.
One young man was fortunate enough to find more than 20 of the coins in the dirt pile.
Another villager informed the reporter that the oldest coin found that morning was dated 1775 with the most recent being 1802.
The dirt, which came from the digging of a foundation for a new house, had been dumped on the vacant lot four days earlier but no one had paid much attention until the villager happened to notice the shiny object.
The “owner” of the dirt, a Mr. Huang, said that his previous house had been more than 200 years old. Mr. Huang said that until he heard the news, he had no idea of the treasure that he had inadvertently thrown away.