The News Courier in Athens, Alabama

Lifestyle

February 27, 2013

Auction of recluse's gold nets $3.5 million

(Continued)

This auction was only for the bullion coins — items that are not necessarily rare, just expensive because they are made of gold. There will likely be a second auction for the larger portion of the collection which is comprised of the rare coins, said Alan Glover, the public administrator for Samaszko's estate.

"They're buying and bidding on an ounce of gold, pure gold by the weight," Glover said.

In total, about 150 pounds of gold was sold at Tuesday's auction. About $800,000 will pay various fees and estate taxes, and the rest of the profits go to a substitute teacher in San Rafael, Calif., who is the first cousin and sole heir to the trove of Walter Samaszko Jr.

Because of the other coins' rarity, that sale is expected to net higher profits.

James Mitchell of Reno's Silver State Coin and a California-based group named Spectrum Group International Inc. grabbed the two lots not purchased by Rowe or his partners.

Mitchell landed the lot of 4,600 Mexican dos pesos, the largest number of coins in a single lot. He said the story posed no additional value to him.

"It had the most potential for profit," Mitchell said of his purchase. "There was one lot I wanted more, but this one will have to do."

That lot, a collection of 620 Canadian Maple Leafs, was the largest in terms of weight and the coins were the purest gold available. It fetched $1.16 million from Rowe and the Rare Coin Company of America.

No one knows exactly when the collection began, or why Samaszko never sold it. Frankly, no one knew anything about him even though he lived in the same neighborhood for decades. Weeks passed before authorities even discovered he had died in his modest Carson City home. A coroner said he died of heart problems.

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