Hoarding gold is part of life for more than many think. Recently in our local news was an unassuming man who passed away with more than $7 million worth of gold coins in his house. In this case the gold was stored in ammo cans stashed in various places around the house, but over the years we have been involved in many strange deals like this one.
My first story came from a similarly small house near the Los Angeles airport. A friend was helping an older lady clear a small house after her husband had passed. The house had stack upon stack of old newspapers, magazines, and the like.
As the hired crew was hauling these stacks to a Dumpster, an envelope full of cash slipped out. My friend dug a little deeper and discovered more cash. The clean up crew was sent home and an eight-hour clean up turned into about two weeks. At the end of the search there was nearly a quarter of a million in cash, nearly that much in silver coinage, and several million in CDs and bank pass books. The widow had no idea that they had any money at all. During the past 30 years they had lived very frugally. Her husband had kept their wealth a secret from everyone including her. Needless to say she went on a nice cruise within a few weeks and has since been enjoying her new-found wealth.
Another hoarding story came from a rural town here in Nevada. The heirs of an estate were in the process of cleaning out an old barn when they made a surprising discovery. In stacks of magazines were old bills still in the envelopes they had been mailed in. Contained in each envelope was cash in the amount of the bill. As they investigated they realized that the bill had been paid and on top of that a matching amount of cash was then stashed away too. The stacks also contained books full of coins plus older and rarer types of collectible notes. Unfortunately the discovery was made only after several trips to the local dump!
A most unusual story came to me from a dealer friend in Idaho. My friend called me up and asked me if there was anything we could do with 100-ounce Engelhard bars that were painted red.
"What do you mean painted red?" I asked.
"Brick red," he responded.
Apparently a son who had inherited his deceased father's house was cleaning it out to get it ready for sale. As he was in the very nicely done wine cellar something was dropped. Instead of a thud when it hit the brick floor a "ping" was heard. On closer inspection the "bricks" on the floor were 100-ounce Engelhard silver bars painted red to resemble bricks, hundreds of them.
Hoarding is not uncommon and stories like these are seen regularly. Most are not as sensational as the $7 million recently found, but if you find yourself in a situation of cleaning out a hoarder's house, make sure you are not in such a rush as to miss any potential hidden treasures.
• Allen Rowe is the owner of Northern Nevada Coin in Carson City.