An ancient coin collection worth $72 million is headed to auction after 100 years of secrecy

One of the most valuable privately-owned coin collections is headed to auction later this year after spending more than a century shrouded in secrecy.

The collection once belonged to Danish businessman and butter tycoon Lars Emil Bruun, who spent decades compiling the nearly 20,000 coins, bank notes, and medals that comprise the set.

For over a century, the collection has been kept out of the public eye due to a stipulation in Bruun's will that forbade the coins from being sold until a century after his death in 1923 at 71.

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The collection in total is estimated to be worth up to $72 million, making it the most valuable coin collection ever to go to sale, according to Stack's Bowers,

The proceeds from the sales will go to Bruun's heirs. At least one of Bruun's descendants was involved in an effort to negotiate a sale of the coins to a museum in Denmark before the required century of waiting was up

Bruun began collecting coins as a boy in the 1850s and 1860s, long before he made millions exporting butter to England and other countries, according to The Associated Press

Since 2011, however, the collection has lived in a secret location of which even coin enthusiasts are in the dark.

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