Real Estate & Property Law

Stash of $10 million in buried gold coins offers lesson in property and tax law


A California couple who say they stumbled across $10 million in buried 19th-century gold coins while walking their dogs on their property last year didn’t immediately reveal their stunning find because they wanted to resolve any potential legal issues.

But the relevant law concerning the unidentified couple probably boils down to “finders keepers,” because they found the buried treasure on their own property, law professor John Orth of the University of North Carolina tells Time magazine.

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As a San Francisco Chronicle article points out, there is speculation that the coins could have been stolen in a 1900 heist from the San Francisco Mint. However, that is unlikely, because the coins don’t show bag marks and appear to have been buried over a period of decades, an expert tells NBC News.

Once the coins are auctioned, the couple likely will have to pay half of what they get to the Internal Revenue Service in taxes, the Telegraph notes.

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