Half of Nevada Recluse's Gold Fortune to Be Auctioned for Taxes

Gold found in man's homeBy MATT WOOLBRIGHT

CARSON CITY, Nev. (AP) - Even though he lived in the same quiet neighborhood for decades, no one seemed to know Walter Samaszko Jr. He was so unknown that weeks passed before authorities discovered he had died in his modest Carson City home.

When cleanup crews arrived, they made another startling discovery: The 69-year-old man who had lived so simply had a vast collection of thousands of gold coins worth millions of dollars stashed in old ammunition boxes in his garage.

About half of the collection's value will be auctioned off Tuesday in a Carson City courtroom to satisfy some $800,000 in government estate taxes and fees.

Walter Samaszko Jr.The profits beyond that amount will go to a substitute teacher in San Rafael, Calif., who is Samaszko's first cousin and sole heir. It took an exhaustive search to locate Arlene Magdanz.

The auction will include only the bullion coin collection, not the collector's edition coins, said Alan Glover, Carson City's clerk recorder who will oversee the auction.

"They're buying and bidding on an ounce of gold, pure gold by the weight," Glover said.

The bidders are all professional coin collectors who regularly make purchases ranging from $3 million to $10 million, he added.

Coins have been grouped into 11 sets based on type, and the sets have been weighed by the ounce. The collections range from 24.1 troy ounces to 602 troy ounces.

In total, about 135 pounds of gold is to be sold at auction, which Glover said is expected to net about $3 million. Another auction for the larger half of the collection is likely later, he said.

Officials discovered the trove neatly wrapped and stored mostly in ammunition boxes stacked on top of each other. There were more than 2,900 Austrian coins, many from 1915; more than 5,000 from Mexico; at least 500 from Britain; 300 U.S. gold pieces, some dating to 1880; and more than 100 U.S. gold pieces as old as the 1890s.

Among the coins were meticulous records of the purchases dating back to at least 1964, when gold averaged about $35 per ounce. The precious metal currently sells for nearly $1,600 an ounce.

Authorities believe that his mother, who lived with Samaszko until her death in 1992, purchased most of the coins.

Despite the millions of dollars in his garage, Samaszko didn't appear to lead a luxurious life. Records show he only withdrew about $500 a month to pay modest bills. He died with $1,200 in a checking account and just a bit more than $165,000 in a money market and mutual fund account.

Since learning of her inheritance, Magdanz has shunned publicity and not made any comments about the fortune.

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Mr Muff Diver

Poor guy. Filthy rich but died alone.

February 27 2013 at 3:29 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Uncle Walter?

February 26 2013 at 5:54 PM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply
Mom and Dad

What are the chances some lawmaker is going to see the fraud involved in estate and inheritance taxes and introduce a bill to change it? Time for our older parents to pass on the wealth before they die.

February 26 2013 at 5:32 PM Report abuse +4 rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to Mom and Dad's comment

they tax it when you make it,they tax it when you spend it,they tax it when you save it.and if you manage in your lifetime to save enuff to give to your kids,well then they want a piece of that too.and say you win the lotto for 100mil and want to take your money outside the u.s.a well then they will hit you one last time,even if you have paid all tax's on your money to get it out of the u.s legally will run you another 20%.pack of no good thieves

February 26 2013 at 10:08 PM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply

Estate and Inheritance taxes are a throwback to English common law, from which our system was built. I have always thought that it was unfair to tax again what was already taxed during the person's lifetime. Why does governemnt get a second shot at the apple just because there is a transfer of wealth?

February 26 2013 at 4:29 PM Report abuse +6 rate up rate down Reply
2 replies to cogentidea76's comment

why if I get paid a dollar from you do I have to pay tax on it after you already did? the heirs were never taxed on that money. The estate tax exists in part to prevent all of the nations wealth from being concentrated in a few hands generation after generation. My question is did the old guy even pay the taxes on those millions in the first place?

February 26 2013 at 7:49 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

hear! hear!

February 26 2013 at 8:28 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Estate taxes and fees - yea right. Call it what it is: a big fat money grab.

February 26 2013 at 3:17 PM Report abuse +4 rate up rate down Reply