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Marin County teacher sole heir to $7.4 million gold coin fortune

  • More than $7.4 million worth of gold coins, bars and bullion was left behind in the garage of Walter Samaszko Jr.'s home in Carson City, Nev. after his death in June. The home in a modest neighborhood a couple miles north of the state capital was sold at auction for $112,000 earlier this year and was sitting vacant in this photograph taken Monday, Dec. 17, 2012. (AP Photo/Scott Sonner)

CARSON CITY, Nev. — Walter Samaszko Jr. was a loner whose death went largely unnoticed. That all changed when a crew sent to clean out his house found a fortune stashed away in the garage of his modest ranch-style home.

There were ammunition boxes stuffed with thousands of gold coins, from Austria, Mexico and the United States. There was enough gold to fill up two wheelbarrows — more than $7.4 million worth.

"There was every kind of coin you could think of," said Alan Glover, the Carson City clerk and the public administrator of the estate who borrowed a neighbor's wheelbarrow to haul the treasure out.

City officials searched through records to find an heir: a substitute teacher in the San Francisco Bay Area who a judge declared Tuesday was Samaszko's lone surviving first cousin.

The decision means Arlene Magdanz of San Rafael, Calif., is a millionaire. She didn't attend the hearing and, so far, has not said anything publicly about her newfound fortune.


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