Las Vegas Sun

July 24, 2014

Currently: 93° — Complete forecast | Log in | Create an account

No word from teacher in line for $10 million inheritance

A California woman who stands to inherit $7 million to $10 million in gold coins from a reclusive distant relative was not at a hearing today regarding the estate.

Arlene Magdanz, a substitute school teacher from San Rafael, has been identified as a first cousin of Walter Samasko Jr., who had stashed the coin collection in boxes in his garage and home.

Samasko, 69, had only $200 in his bank account when he was found dead in his home in June. The gold and some silver coins were discovered as his house was being cleared out so it could be sold, officials said.

Alan Glover, city clerk and public administrator, said Magdanz isn’t answering her telephone.

But he has been deluged with calls and e-mails from gold dealers. “Everyone is interested in selling these coins,” he said.

Dawn Ellerbrock, the attorney handling the estate, declined to say whether she has had any coversations with Magdanz. She cited attorney-client privilege.

District Court Judge Todd Russell today authorized Glover to hire a firm to make sure Magdanz is the rightful heir and an expert to value the estate.

Ellerbrock said and she believed the coins are worth between $7 million and $10 million. A 28-page inventory of the coins indicates some date to 1872.

Ellerbrock said she hopes the International Genealogical Society can complete its search within 30 days to determine if Magdanz is the rightful heir.

Howard Herz, a local expert in valuing estates, has been retained to determine the value of Samasko’s estate.

Samasko was a loner, and his body wasn’t discovered until neighbors complained of the smell coming from his home, which has been sold for $110,000.

Nobody had any idea Samasko had the coins, Glover said.

Once the value of the estate is determined, Ellerbrock said, a certified public accountant will be hired to determine the inheritance tax due. She said the rate is 35 to 38 percent on anything above $5.2 million.

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: 6 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. Good for her. With this kind of cash, and the media suddenly plastering her name and location everywhere, all sorts of scumbags and beggars are going to come out of the woodwork to harass this poor woman in order to scam her out of the money. If she's smart, she'll stay hidden and find somewhere to live comfortably and anonymously.

  2. Government will find a way to take most of this.

  3. Mr. Glover might want to check with the AG BEFORE DISTRIBUTING THE ESTATE. What happened to the NRS which takes all estates from the intestate?

  4. NRS 134.120 if no surviving spouse of "kindred", the estate goes to the state for "educational purposes." The definition of "kindred" seems, by related statutes, to be spouse, children, siblings, children of siblings NOT cousins....

  5. My question is where the hell did all the coins come from? Unless the guy was a very high income individual or inherited a substantial sum, a middle income worker would NOT be able to accumulate this king of wealth in 69 years. Almost nothing has come out about the guy.
    I sense some kind of foul play!!!

  6. If we assume $10m and no taxes before $5.2m, 38% would come to ~18% of the total. Seems rather low, and surely not "most of it," Mr. Coburn.