The state Division of Criminal Investigation is launching a probe into the disappearance of more than two-dozen rare and valuable coins from the State Historical Building in Des Moines. Jeff Morgan, a museum spokesman, says it’s not known if the 27 coins were stolen or if they’ve just been misplaced.
Morgan says staff members have been instructed to "redouble their efforts" in tracking the coins down as the DCI tries to solve the mystery. The coins, dating from the 1860s, vanished from a storage area and are reportedly worth more than $150,000.
Morgan says the Historical Building’s storage facility is huge and packed with all sorts of one-of-a-kind items. He says: "Our permanent collection is held in a storage area beneath the state Historical Building. There are 110-thousand different artifacts down there that tell the story of Iowa. It’s a vast collection."
Morgan says: "The coins date back to 1867. They are trial die pieces that were used as copies by the U.S. Mint to determine what they were going to look like as to how well they were going to be reproduced for permanent currency." Morgan says the coins originally belonged to Iowa Congressman John Kasson, who later became an assistant postmaster general in 1861 under President Lincoln.