Recluse's Gold Auctioned Off in Carson City

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CARSON CITY, Nev.-- A mystery fortune, sold to the highest bidder. Tuesday, the remaining gold from a Carson City recluse was sold at auction. The final price was more than 3-million dollars for 2600 gold coins.

For the last year, Howard Herz has been appraising a valuable collection of coins.

"It was determined that both he and his mother had accumulated as a gold investment, these coins," said Herz.

Thousands of coins, mostly gold, were found inside the home of Walter Samaszko after he died. He was a recluse and didn't have a will, so the local court had to deal with his estate. Five bidders made grabs at the coins auctioned off Tuesday.

"They had to wire $20,000 into our account to even play the game," said Alan Glover, Carson City Clerk/Recorder.

They bid on 6 lots. The starting bid on the lowest lot was $12,000.

"The value of these coins is based on their silver content," said Herz pointing to a bag of silver quarters.

The highest starting bid was over one-million dollars.

"They were the liberty head style," said Herz.

In all, 143 pounds of gold was auctioned off.

"Your seeing some of the top escalon in the country here to bid on this," said Allen Rowe, gold buyer for Northern Nevada Coin and Bullion.

After the stock market closed for the day and the current price of gold announced, bidders had at it. The most valuable lot selling for $1,174,000.

At the end, it was not out of town bidders, but Northern Nevada bidders that won the majority of the lots. They likely saw a little bit of history is worth its weight in gold.

"You know there is always the mentality of there being treasure out there in the hills, and here we are right here in the hills of Carson City and here is treasure to be found again," said Rowe, who bought two of the lots for himself and a third for a company out of Illinois.

The remaining three lots were bought by Silver State Coin of Reno.

The 3-million dollars from the auction will eventually be transferred to Walter Samaszko's only heir, a substitute teacher living in California.

This was the second time an auction has been held for Samaszko's gold. In February, 11 lots of the collection were sold for about 3.5-million dollars.