Auction planned for recluse’s gold coins
January 30, 2013
An auction is scheduled Feb. 26 for about half the $7.4 million in gold coins found in the Mountain Street home of a Carson City recluse who was found dead in his home last June.A crew hired by Clerk-Recorder Alan Glover, acting as public administrator, to clean out the home of Walter Samaszko Jr., 69, found boxes and boxes of gold coins in the home. There were 2,695 coins, all wrapped in plastic and foil and carefully inventoried, with purchase dates and prices. Appraiser Howard Herz, who valued the collection at $7.4 million, said in his report that, far from simply being a “hoard of gold,” the collection was “in fact, a quite well-thought-out investment in gold.” It took a month-long genealogical search to identify Arlene Magdanz, a first cousin, as Samaszko’s only living relative. A substitute teacher from San Rafael, Magdanz has not appeared for any of the court proceedings.In a Tuesday morning hearing, District Judge James Wilson ordered a courtroom auction for about half the gold to raise money to pay expenses and the $800,000 owed the Internal Revenue Service in estate taxes. Glover said that payment is due by the end of March.“It’s going to be a real auction,” said Glover, adding that there have been six to eight inquiries by parties and dealers interested in bidding. To qualify, each must post a non-refundable bond of $20,000.The coins will be auctioned off in lots of 10 or so, and at not less than 98.5 percent of gold’s market price on the day of the auction. Winning bidders must pay what they owe within 24 hours after the auction. The coins are from South Africa, Mexico and Canada.He said it still hasn’t been decided if the bidders must have a Nevada retail license, which would require them to pay the state’s sales tax.Glover said the coins will be displayed in the courtroom and there will be armed guards. He added that the date for a second auction to sell off the rest of the collection hasn’t yet been set.After all the taxes and expenses are paid, Magdanz will be the sole heir to the estate. Those expenses include legal fees, storage of the gold and other property including a ’60s-vintage California Special Mustang, appraisal costs and 2 percent of the proceeds that, by law, go to the public administrator — Glover — for handling the case.Samaszko lived quietly since the 1960s in his Mountain Street home and no one apparently knew he was wealthy. Glover said according to the records, Samaszko withdrew just $500 a month from an account containing some $170,000 to pay his modest bills. When the body was discovered, everyone including Glover at first thought he was just another senior who died quietly.