A recluse’s gold fortune will be auctioned off to pay for his taxes. The man, Walter Samaszko Jr., died in his home last June but was not discovered for several weeks.
Half of Samaszko’s fortune, which includes about 135 pounds of gold, will be sold at auction on Tuesday to satisfy about $800,000 in government estate taxes and fees.
Magdanz is a substitute teacher in San Rafael, California. She is Samaszko’s first cousin and his sole heir. All of the bidders in the auction are professional coin collectors, and all of the coins involved in Tuesday’s auction are from the man’s bullion coin collection.
Another auction will likely be held later for the larger half of the collection, which includes collector’s edition coins. Officials discovered the forgotten treasure wrapped and stored mostly in ammunition boxes. They found thousands of coins from places like Austria, Mexico, Britain, and the US.
Many Austrian coins dated to 1915, while US coins were dated as far back as 1880. The Philadelphia Inquirer notes that the coins were discovered with a meticulous record of when the reclusive man purchased them.
The records dated back to at least 1964. Authorities believe that Samaszko’s mother purchased most of the coins. She lived with her son until she died in 1992.
Despite the millions of dollars he stored in his garage, Walter Samaszko, Jr., didn’t appear to lead a luxurious life. He lived in the same quiet neighborhood for decades in a modest-sized home. He also had $1,200 in his checking account and about $165,000 in a money market and mutual fund account.
As for his heir, Magdanz has shunned publicity since finding out about her inheritance. She has not made any comments about the surprise fortune discovered in her cousin’s garage.
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