Richard Bailey, executive director of the Lake Merritt Institute, said the students from the St. Paul's Episcopal School in Oakland were pulling trash out of Lake Merritt Thursday when a girl discovered two bags that were too heavy for her pull out with her net, the San Francisco Chronicle reported Monday.
Bailey said he waded into the water and retrieved the 15-pound bags, which turned out to contain coins, rings, brooches, necklaces, bracelets, medallions, candlesticks and silverware.
Bailey said he believes the valuables may have been stolen, as one of the bags was labeled "Wells Fargo," and he has reported the find to police.
The sixth-graders, who have been working at the lake on a weekly basis, said the bags were the most exciting discovery they have made while cleaning.
"We find a lot of stuff, a lot of tennis balls and things, but no, never that," said sixth-grader Mara, whose parents asked for her last name to be withheld. "It was basically the best thing we ever found in there."