Secret $1 million gold stash discovered in French rafters

A French Champagne producer is spreading the wealth with his workers after they discovered nearly $1 million in gold coins stashed away in the building's rafters, according to Agence France Press (AFP).

"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, head of Alexandre Bonnet in Les Riceys France, told AFP.

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. 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.

In all, 497 gold coins were unearthed, with the majority literally raining down upon the workers who were busy renovating the building. Minted between 1851 and 1928, the coins have a face value marking of $20 each. However, together they are now worth an estimated $980,000, according to AFP.

Lange says he will keep half of the money for himself, while splitting half with the workers who made the discovery. No one knows for sure who placed the coins in the building, but AFP reports the building was previously owned by a wine producer 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. 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.

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