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Teacher inherits $7 million in gold coins from reclusive cousin

Teacher inherits $7 million: Actually, it was $7.4 million stash. A San Rafael teacher inherited two wheel barrows worth of 2,900 Austrian coins, 4,500 from Mexico, 500 from Britain, and 400 U.S. gold pieces.

More than $7.4 million worth of gold coins, bars and bullion was left behind in the garage of Walter Samaszko Jr.'s $112,000 home in Carson City, Nev. after his death. His cousin, a teacher, just learned that she will inherit the gold.

(AP Photo/Scott Sonner)

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Walter Samaszko Jr. was a loner whose death went largely unnoticed. That all changed when a crew sent to clean out his house found a fortune stashed away in the garage of his modest ranch-style home.

There were ammunition boxes stuffed with thousands of gold coins, from Austria, Mexico and the United States. There was enough gold to fill up two wheelbarrows — more than $7.4 million worth.

"There was every kind of coin you could think of," said Alan Glover, the Carson City clerk and the public administrator of the estate who borrowed a neighbor's wheelbarrow to haul the treasure out.

City officials searched through records to find an heir: a substitute teacher in the San Francisco Bay Area who a judge declared Tuesday was Samaszko's lone surviving first cousin.

The decision means Arlene Magdanz of San Rafael, Calif., is a millionaire. She didn't attend the hearing and, so far, has not said anything publicly about her newfound fortune.

Officials were able to track her down using a funeral bulletin at Samaszko's home that led to his father's service in Chicago in the early 1960s, and then newspaper clippings that listed survivors.


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