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Thread: Bullion as Coinage?

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  1. #1

    Sep 2007
    3
    1 times

    Bullion as Coinage?

    Hi all,
    Say I find a Wells Fargo 125 lb gold bar from 1894 on BLM land and it is not part of a site. It's just sitting by itself on the surface.
    How does this fit in the ARPA law below? I see really no reference to something like this. Would it fit under 'coin'? I assume not.
    Thanks in advance.
    ~Nathan



    Sec. 7.3 Definitions.

    As used for purposes of this part:
    (a) Archaeological resource means any material remains of human life
    or activities which are at least 100 years of age, and which are of
    archaeological interest.
    (1) Of archaeological interest means capable of providing scientific
    or humanistic understandings of past human behavior, cultural
    adaptation, and related topics through the application of scientific or
    scholarly techniques such as controlled observation, contextual
    measurement, controlled collection, analysis, interpretation and
    explanation.
    (2) Material remains means physical evidence of human habitation,
    occupation, use, or activity, including the site, location, or context
    in which such evidence is situated.
    (3) The followiing classes of material remains (and illustrative
    examples), if they are at least 100 years of age, are of archaeological
    interest and shall be considered archaeological resources unless
    determined otherwise pursuant to paragraph (a)(4) or (a)(5) of this
    section:
    (i) Surface or subsurface structures, shelters, facilities, or
    features (including, but not limited to, domestic structures, storage
    structures, cooking structures, ceremonial structures, artificial
    mounds, earthworks, fortifications, canals, reservoirs, horticultural/
    agricultural gardens or fields, bedrock mortars or grinding surfaces,
    rock alignments, cairns, trails, borrow pits, cooking pits, refuse pits,
    burial pits or graves, hearths, kilns, post molds, wall trenches,
    middens);
    (ii) Surface or subsurface artifact concentrations or scatters;
    (iii) Whole or fragmentary tools, implements, containers, weapons
    and weapon projectiles, clothing, and ornaments (including, but not
    limited to, pottery and other ceramics, cordage, basketry and other
    weaving, bottles and other glassware, bone, ivory, shell, metal, wood,
    hide, feathers, pigments, and flaked, ground, or pecked stone);
    (iv) By-products, waste products, or debris resulting from
    manufacture or use of human-made or natural materials;
    (v) Organic waste (including, but not limited to, vegetal and animal
    remains, coprolites);
    (vi) Human remains (including, but not limited to, bone, teeth,
    mummified flesh, burials, cremations);
    (vii) Rock carvings, rock paintings, intaglios and other works of
    artistic or symbolic representation;
    (viii) Rockshelters and caves or portions thereof containing any of
    the above material remains;
    (ix) All portions of shipwrecks (including, but not limited to,
    armaments, apparel, tackle, cargo);
    (x) Any portion or piece of any of the foregoing.
    (4) The following material remains shall not be considered of
    archaeological interest, and shall not be considered to be
    archaeological resources for purposes of the Act and this part, unless
    found in a direct physical relationship with archaeological resources as
    defined in this section:
    (i) Paleontological remains;
    (ii) Coins, bullets, and unworked minerals and rocks.
    (5) The Federal land manager may determine that certain material
    remains, in specified areas under the Federal land manager's
    jurisdiction, and under specified circumstances, are not or are no
    longer of archaeological interest and are not to be considered
    archaeological resources under this part. Any determination made
    pursuant to this subparagraph shall be documented. Such determination
    shall in no way affect the Federal land manager's obligations under
    other applicable laws or regulations.
    (6) For the disposition following lawful removal or excavations of
    Native American human remains and ``cultural items'', as defined by the
    Native

    [[Page 171]]

    American Graves Protection and Repatriation Act (NAGPRA; Pub. L. 101-
    601; 104 Stat. 3050; 25 U.S.C. 3001-13), the Federal land manager is
    referred to NAGPRA and its implementing regulations.
    (b) Arrowhead means any projectile point which appears to have been
    designed for use with an arrow.
    Honest Samuel likes this.

  2. #2
    clv
    clv is offline
    us
    Dec 2012
    santee, ca
    Current Detectors; Minelab Safari, Minelab Eureka gold, Tesoro Compadre, and TRX Pin Pointer Have owned; White's MX5, GMT, MXT Pro, fisher cz7a pro, go fine 20, fisher 1235x, Garret Master Hunter V
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    Say nothing tell no one. Melt the gold and poor small 1/2 ounce or less into water it will make it look nuggets, then sell it discreetly. If they starting asking questions about your nuggets, don't sell to them.
    Diggin-N-Dumps and Oddjob like this.
    Don' ask, Don't tell, just DIG!

  3. #3
    us
    Sir

    Sep 2015
    Connecticut
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    Leave it there because it is too big to fit into a pant pocket.
    Oddjob likes this.

  4. #4
    us
    Oct 2009
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    Gold? What gold? I never saw any gold on federal land. What are you talking about?


    seriously, you shouldnt even be asking the question

  5. #5
    us
    Aug 2017
    Central Oregon.
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    Hmm, Greedy Dotgovs, or say nothing, I'd sew my mouth shut or slit my throat before I would give up a find to ANY USG YaYhoo.
    clv likes this.

  6. #6
    us
    Jun 2013
    Anywhere but here!!
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    Finders Keepers, just keep it out of sight of Uncle Sam's Peepers! Besides, it doesn't appear that a Gold Bar that was likely stolen or taken during a robbery and hidden away or lost, doesn't fall under the ARPA Act.


    Frank
    Last edited by huntsman53; Oct 22, 2017 at 10:58 AM.

  7. #7
    Charter Member
    us
    Sep 2015
    Illinois
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    I think I would have 125 lbs. of gold shavings on the floor in my garage.
    "See your doctor if your detector has a detection for more then four hours!"

  8. #8

    Mar 2007
    Salinas, CA
    Explorer II, Compass 77b, Tesoro shadow X2
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    nathanJ, let's just skip all the individual components of your exact scenario. Ie.: skip that the entity in question is BLM. Skip that the object was "on top" (versus having to dig to get it). Skip the age of the object. Skip whether it was or wasn't in-context with a historical site (not in connection with an obviously protected ghost town or monument).

    Skip all of that and just look at the BROADER question of whether you found 125 silver bar on ANY public land ANYWHERE, of ANY entity. If it's laws you are worried about, then I have no doubt that you can waltz in to whatever entity that is (city, county, state or federal) and say "Hi. I just found this on *your* land. Can I keep it ?" And I bet you can find some lawyer or archie or city desk clerk to say "no".

    And if you really want to worry yourself silly, why stop there ? What about lost & found laws ? They are born out of wandering cattle laws of the 1800's. Technically you have to turn in all items over $100 to $200-ish value (depending on the state) to the police. And after 30 days, if you pay the public postings cost, and the storage fees, you can get it back. Yet ... as you can see from the beach -hunter forums, there's no shortage of md'rs show-&-telling their latest blings. Right ? Ok, how many of them were rushing to the police ?

    There has been many debates on one aspect of ARPA. The wording does seem to indicate that it's for "archaeological sites". So is ALL federal land an "archaeological site" ? Or just those SO DEEMED , that got granted an archaeological Smithsonian trinomial # ? But it's all going to be a moot point if someone goes to try to start "clarifying" it. If you start down that road of "trying to please every last archie and bureaucrat", is the minute you should probably stick to sandboxes and clad.
    Metal detecting is my one worldy vice!

  9. #9
    us
    Nov 2015
    Western USA
    Garrett AT Gold, AT Max, AT Pro, Ace 350, GTI-2500, ATX Deepseeker, Sea Hunter MKII, Infinium LS, Scorpion Gold Stinger, Pro-Pointer, Pro-Pointer AT, Fisher F75 SE (LTD2), Gold Bug 2, Whites TM-808
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    The ARPA is vaguely written, so if you want the best legal opinion, I would suggest talking to at least three high-end lawyers who specialize in archeological finds, etc, if there are any. And if you get all three to agree, then you have a pretty good answer, although be aware all it takes is one other lawyer, and a judge who agrees with him/her to make a case for the contrary.

    Right off the bat, "Archaeological resource means any material remains of human life or activities which are at least 100 years of age, and which are of archaeological interest." -- 1894 = over 100 years old, and it could be argued that the gold bar was/is of archaeological interest.

    "(ii) Surface or subsurface artifact concentrations or scatters;" -- To me, that shows it doesn't matter if it is on the surface or buried.

    "(iii) Whole or fragmentary tools, implements, containers, weapons and weapon projectiles, clothing, and ornaments (including, but not limited to, pottery and other ceramics, cordage, basketry and other weaving, bottles and other glassware, bone, ivory, shell, metal, wood, hide, feathers, pigments, and flaked, ground, or pecked stone);" -- gold is a metal

    And "4 (ii) Coins, bullets, and unworked minerals and rocks." -- the gold bar isn't a coin, and it has been worked. In that wording it appears that even gold ore would not be exempt, if it had been extracted from where it originated by someone.

    Whenever a large quantity of anything valuable is found, people who believe (right or wrong) they have a claim to it will come out of the woodwork, with lawyers by their side. Everyone wants a piece of the pie. And the gold would then be tied up in court potentially for years to come.

    In the scenario you described, I do not see how bullion would be considered a coin, and especially so if it was not produced by the U.S. Mint. Also in your scenario you state that it is a Wells Fargo bar, so I’m certain that Wells Fargo would lay claim to it, as would any insurance company that may have paid out on the loss of it. So I would say you wouldn’t stand a chance of being able to legally keep it.

    As far as what I would do? Here you go:




    .
    Clay Diggins likes this.
    Money may not grow on trees, but it's often found under them!

  10. #10

    Mar 2007
    Salinas, CA
    Explorer II, Compass 77b, Tesoro shadow X2
    11,203
    7194 times
    Banner Finds (4)
    Quote Originally Posted by cactusman View Post
    ... I would suggest talking to at least three high-end lawyers who specialize in archeological finds, etc, if there are any. And if you get all three to agree,...
    Huh ? It all depends on how you cast the question, and the mind-frame of those 3 you are asking. You can ask the question in such a way as to get a "yes" or a "no" . And this is a loaded statement from the git-go. Because any "lawyers" who "specialize" in "archaeological finds" are bound to be lawyers who are ......... doh ..... archie-purist-minded. Who will most likely BRISTLE at the thought of a little child picking up a seashell off the beach. Ok, ...... and you're going to ask THEM ??
    clv likes this.
    Metal detecting is my one worldy vice!

  11. #11
    Charter Member
    us
    Nov 2010
    The Great Southwest
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    There is no such thing as a Wells Fargo gold bar so I guess your question will have to remain hypothetical?

    To answer your question - bullion and coinage are entirely different things in law.
    Bullion is a specific quantity of marked precious metal. Coinage is a government created and approved circulating token.
    Bullion is always composed of precious metals and coins often are made of whatever was cheap that year.
    Bullion has value for it's precious metal content and coins have value if you can find someone else to agree to accept them as money.

    The exception for coins in ARPA could not in any reasonable way be considered to apply to bullion no matter how many expensive lawyers you ask.

    See there - I just saved you a bundle of money on hypothetical expensive lawyers!

    This difference between coin and bullion wasn't always the case. Coins minted before the ARPA 100 year cutoff were both bullion and circulating coin. Coins were made of gold and silver in specific quantities and fineness set by law and offered into circulation. The value of those coins were established by the value of the metal they were made of.

    Coins made since 1964 are cheap metal tokens offered for circulation and trade. Their value is set by law. They have no intrinsic value.

    Here's another hypothetical question - if I found a valuable ring while I was detecting your yard who would it belong to?
    Last edited by Clay Diggins; Dec 06, 2017 at 02:11 AM.

  12. #12
    Charter Member
    us
    Mar 2011
    San Diego
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    Honorable Mentions (3)
    Coins made since 1964 are cheap metal tokens offered for circulation and trade. Their value is set by law. They have no intrinsic value.

    Here's another hypothetical question - if I found a valuable ring while I was detecting your yard who would it belong to? [/QUOTE]

    All our coins have some intrinsic value........just not as much as gold or silver.
    As for your ring question. IMO It would belong to whoever lost it, if that person can be found and a positive identification made. If that person cannot be found or identified (or the heir(s) to that person's estate) it would belong to the property owner or finder depending on the agreement made beforehand.
    Tom_in_CA and Clay Diggins like this.
    "jus cuz it's wrote down, don't make it so"

  13. #13

    Mar 2007
    Salinas, CA
    Explorer II, Compass 77b, Tesoro shadow X2
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    Quote Originally Posted by cudamark View Post
    ....
    As for your ring question. IMO It would belong to whoever lost it, if that person can be found and a positive identification made......
    And you do realize that ........ legally . ... it is not up to YOU to attempt the repatriation to find the owner. Eg.: pin a "found" flyer to a light-pole, or run a CL "found" ad, etc..... To be in compliance with the law, you need to take those rings to the police station. And let THEM do the repatriation attempt. If no one comes in to claim the item in 30 days, THEN you can go back and get it. You might get charged storage fees. You might be charged their cost of having run a "found" ad in the local paper, etc....

    The law does not give latitude for us md'rs to make our own attempts (thinking that would ful-fill lost & found laws). Becuase, otherwise, let's be honest: What's to stop me from thinking I've fulfilled the law by simply scotch taping a paper to a telephone pole. Or putting a note into the hole where I just dug it from that says : "If you lost this ring, call me".

    So the law is clear that the police are to go through their procedures. And I've often wondered if rings we turned in would simply "disappear". Because the police are under no obligation to tell you who claimed it (privacy laws). And you turned it in knowing FULL WELL it might be claimed. And .... after all, how have YOU been harmed? It was never yours in the first place. You only found it.

    I've often been tempted to turn in my own wedding ring as "found", then going back 30 days later to see if I really get it back from them.
    Metal detecting is my one worldy vice!

  14. #14
    Charter Member
    SITE BRAVO DETAINEE

    Dec 2012
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    it's ok take it and have fun ( or hide it and tell me where it is)
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    I DON'T MAKE WEBSITES, I MAKE WEBSITES BETTER

  15. #15
    Charter Member
    us
    Nov 2010
    The Great Southwest
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    Quote Originally Posted by cudamark View Post
    All our coins have some intrinsic value........just not as much as gold or silver.
    No currently issued legal tender coins have an intrinsic value. The reason being it would be illegal to melt or otherwise destroy them. If you can't legally (or practically) sell a coin for it's substance it has no intrinsic value.

    18 U.S. Code § 331


    Whoever fraudulently alters, defaces, mutilates, impairs, diminishes, falsifies, scales, or lightens any of the coins coined at the mints of the United States, or any foreign coins which are by law made current or are in actual use or circulation as money within the United States; or

    Whoever fraudulently possesses, passes, utters, publishes, or sells, or attempts to pass, utter, publish, or sell, or brings into the United States, any such coin, knowing the same to be altered, defaced, mutilated, impaired, diminished, falsified, scaled, or lightened—

    Shall be fined under this title or imprisoned not more than five years, or both.
    If you think you could sell U.S. coins for their metal value I encourage you to educate yourself by attempting to sell those coins to a metal buyer. If you ignore the first metal buyer's refusal and persist with others in the industry I'm sure the Secret Service will give you all the information you need during your "interview".
    Oddjob likes this.

 

 
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