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Make 2021 your best financial year yet!

Buyer finds $20,600 treasure in new home – but returns it

Anastasia Santoreneos
·2-min read
Open treasure chest filled with gold coins.
Buyer finds $20,600 treasure in new home – but returns it. Source: Getty

When you purchase a home, you usually don’t expect to find anything inside it – let alone a treasure worth thousands of dollars.

But just days after they bought their dream home, South Columbia couple James and Clarrisa Munford stumbled upon a treasure trove of gold and silver coins, valued at a whopping US$15,000 (AU$20,606).

Given the coins were found after the sale of the property, the Munfords were legally allowed to keep the coins, or sell them and cash in.

However, the new owners chose instead to get in touch with the sellers and return the coins.

“There is an old saying: ‘You reap what you sow,’” the seller said.

“My wife and I spent a great deal of time and effort to ensure that we left our home in excellent condition for the Munfords, and one good deed was certainly returned by another.

“Now is a good time to pause and reflect about how we treat each other. If there were more people like the Munfords, this world would be a much better place.”

Can I keep property I find?

In Australia, the old saying, ‘finders keepers’ isn’t necessarily true. According to NSW law, when you find an item of value, the law expects you to attempt to find the owner of the property, or hand it to the police.

However, if the owner can’t be tracked down, then you may be able to claim back the property.

Earlier this year, a legal stoush erupted after $476,600 worth of old bank notes was found on a Queensland construction site by two tradies.

Tradies Warren Bruggy and Daniel Boyd claimed they should be able to keep the notes under ‘finders keepers’ laws, but this was contested by the construction site owner, Scott Morrison, who argued he was the rightful owner of the banknotes given they were found on property he was developing.

Later, a third party joined the dispute, restaurant owner Raymond Ma, who claimed his late father buried the cash to avoid paying tax.

Eventually, the parties reached a confidential agreement to split the money.

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