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Frenchman Finds Nearly $1M U.S. Gold Coins Hidden in Rafters

File this under: "Why, God? Why couldn't it be me?"

A French Champagne producer literally hit gold when workers renovating an old building on his property brought down a shower of U.S. coins hidden in the rafters.

"One of the workers (was) attacking the building's ceiling with a crowbar when gold coins started to rain down on him, followed by sacks of gold," Francois Lange, the head of Alexandre Bonnet, in Les Riceys, France, said.

He said the treasure consists of 497 gold coins - with a face value of $20 each - minted between 1851 and 1928 and worth today about $980,000.

“It's not unusual to hear about treasure hunters combing the ocean's depth for gold and other precious metals lost at sea, but finding $1 million in your office attic is quite a steal,” writes Eric Pfeiffer of Yahoo! News. “And a valuable one too, given that demand for gold has reached new heights recently. In 2011, just an ounce of gold was valued at $1,920.30.”

As any Blaze reader who follows the our daily Market Recap knows, gold has increased exponentially in value over the last few years due to the frightening volatility of the global economy. Needless to say, Lange is an extraordinarily lucky man.

Lange said that half of the find will go to the workers and he'll keep the other half for himself. The origin of the treasure is not known, but the building, a former grapedrying facility, used to belong to a wine producer who traded with Britain and the U.S. in the 1930s.

“That may seem like a minor detail for now but don't be surprised if this ‘buried’ treasure story still has another chapter to be told,” Pfeiffer writes. “After all, what are the odds that $1 million in gold coins will go unclaimed, even if the previous owners are no longer alive. Just look at the recent legal case being argued between Spain and a team of scavengers who in 2008 found more than $500 million worth of gold coins and other treasures in a wreck off the Florida coast.”

Now if you'll excuse us, we're going to tear apart our townhouse and hope for the best.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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