(CARSON CITY, Nev.) — A California woman may have a multi-million-dollar fortune headed her way after authorities found an estimated $7 million worth of gold coins in her recluse cousin’s home.
Walter Samasko Jr., 69, died in May due to heart problems and was not discovered until June, when neighbors complained of a bad smell coming from his house.
Samasko lived in Carson City, Nev., a city about 30 miles south of Reno.
When authorities went to clean out his home, they found boxes of gold coins in his home and garage.
“He was quite a hoarder. He had boxes and boxes and boxes of things,” Carson City Clerk Alan Grover told ABC News. Grover said there were many containers of food and cans.
Grover said the coins were in boxes marked “books.” There were also coins wrapped in aluminum foil and stored in ammunition boxes. There were Mexican, British and Austrian coins dating as far back as the 1870s.
There was so much gold that Grover used a wheelbarrow to carry the fortune to his truck. The coins were first moved to a bank vault and now they have been moved to armored vehicles.
Grover’s office estimated the worth of the coins at $7 million based on the amount of gold.
“We have to get it all appraised and come out with a real true figure,” he said. He added that the final figure could potentially be even larger because some of the coins might be worth more than their face value.
Samasko had no will and no immediate relatives. He was cremated and the remains were flown to Chicago to join his mother, who died in 1992.
Using the funeral attendance list from Samasko’s mother’s funeral, Grover tracked down Arlene Magdanz, Samasko’s first cousin in San Rafael, Calif., who will most likely inherit the fortune.
Magdanz’s daughter Leslie Magdanz declined to comment.
“I don’t have any comment on this matter,” she told ABC News. When asked if her mother had any comment, Leslie Magdanz said, “She does not.”
Grover said it could take several months for the fortune to be turned over to Magdanz.
Samasko had only $200 in the bank at the time of his death, according to the Las Vegas Sun, but had stock accounts totaling in $165,000 and had been living off of his investments.
Grover said one of his first thoughts upon seeing the thousands of coins was, “What was a guy like this doing with his kind of money in just a regular house?”
He described the house as a small, 1970′s three-bedroom home of about 1,200 square feet with orange shag carpeting.
“There were no antiques, no crystal or family jewelry or anything like that,” Grover said. “You would never have suspected the guy would have that much … he certainly didn’t live that way.”
Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio
Ahiza Garcia, CNN
Jethro Mullen Ivana Kottasova and Patrick Gillespie, CNN
Sarah Anderson, Deseret News