Las Vegas Sun

January 26, 2015

Currently: 57° — Complete forecast | Log in | Create an account

Gold worth $7 million found in house after Nevada man dies

Walter Samasko Jr., a recluse, died at home in May, but his body wasn’t discovered until June, when neighbors complained of the smell coming from his house.

There was only $200 in his bank account. But there was a $7 million surprise at home.

As the house was being cleaned for sale, officials discovered gold bars and gold coins stored in boxes in the garage and in the house.

The coins had been minted in such places as Mexico, England, Austria and South Africa. Some dated to 1872.

There were so many coins that Carson City Clerk Alan Glover used a wheelbarrow to haul the gold to his truck and deposit it for safekeeping.

Samasko had no will and no apparent close relatives. He was cremated and his ashes were flown to Chicago to be placed with his mother, who moved with Samasko from California to Carson City. She died in 1992.

Using a list of those who attended the mother’s funeral, Glover’s office tracked down Arlene Magdanz, a first cousin living in San Rafael, Calif.

Magdanz, a substitute teacher, could not be reached for comment. But a lawyer who talked to her said her first reaction was, “Oh, my God. Oh, my God.”

She had not talked to Samasko, who died of heart problems, for a year and has no plans for how to spend the unexpected inheritance.

Samasko hadn’t worked since 1968, but he had stock accounts of $140,000 and $25,000 and was living off his investments.

“Nobody had any clue he was hoarding the gold,” Glover said.

Join the Discussion:

Check this out for a full explanation of our conversion to the LiveFyre commenting system and instructions on how to sign up for an account.

Full comments policy

Previous Discussion: 7 comments so far…

Comments are moderated by Las Vegas Sun editors. Our goal is not to limit the discussion, but rather to elevate it. Comments should be relevant and contain no abusive language. Comments that are off-topic, vulgar, profane or include personal attacks will be removed. Full comments policy. Additionally, we now display comments from trusted commenters by default. Those wishing to become a trusted commenter need to verify their identity or sign in with Facebook Connect to tie their Facebook account to their Las Vegas Sun account. For more on this change, read our story about how it works and why we did it.

Only trusted comments are displayed on this page. Untrusted comments have expired from this story.

  1. They r not doing this right. This guy died without a will his estate is suppose to go in probate. The judge will determine who is the rightful owner of his money. He could have lots of first cousins.

  2. Terrie Ward,

    Are you now an attorney or you just playing one on the Internet? ;-)

  3. Ms. Arlene Magdanz was determinded to be a INTESTATE Heir.

    Just because the man died intestate doesn't mean that his estate wasn't probated.

  4. "They r not doing this right. This guy died without a will his estate is suppose to go in probate."

    "Just because the man died intestate doesn't mean that his estate wasn't probated."

    tward40 & casinokid -- dying intestate means dying without a valid will, so there was nothing to probate. In Nevada the estate -- the gold -- escheats to the schools. Thus giving new meaning to "cheat."

    "Why let it get to the point of where you make no provision for all this money? Set up a trust, give it to charity, give it to known relatives, friends, maybe a caretaker. You can't take it with you on your next journey."

    TomD -- for once I agree with you. Trusts are a time-tested but long-forgotte PRIVATE right we all still enjoy. They have half a millennium of solid legal history behind them, and I've Cicero mentioned them -- he was executed by the new Caesar in 43 B.C.E.

    "He was an American that prepared for a storm. He worked and saved always spending less than he earned. Never asked the government to help with his "student loans" or to provide him free medical care at the cost of others."

    LasVegas2009 -- you actually knew him?

    "Kind of looks to me that he took his apparent liberterianism take to the extreme."

    RobRBarron -- nothing extreme about creating actual, personal wealth

    "Are you now an attorney or you just playing one on the Internet?"

    vegaslee -- bench and bar are the problem, not the solution. Wake up! The law belongs to We the people, not to them.

    Probate is one of the slimiest, and therefore most profitable, law practices. When Marilyn Monroe died in 1962 her estate was worth about $1.6 million. When it finally emerged from probate in 1980 her heirs ended up with a mere $101,000. That's what was left when bench and bar finished with it. That's from

    "There is no more cruel tyranny than that which is exercised under cover of law, and with the colors of justice." -- baron de Montesquieu (1748) "The Spirit of the Laws"

  5. Too bad he never experienced that Hawaiian vacation, must have forgot how to live.

  6. This guy seemed to lead a simple life and saved for what who knows. But now that he is dead and this great amount of wealth was found everybody has their hand out trying to get a piece, lawyers, schools, the state, and who knows how many other countless people will step up. It should go to the heirs. If he was smart enough to accumulate this kind of wealth you would think he would have had a will.

  7. Oh my God, Daddy is dead ! What do i do now !