treasure found ethical question

Discussion in 'The Lounge' started by London calling, Feb 18, 2009.

  1. I split my free time between fishing and metal detecting. I was talking to a metal detecting buddy a while ago and he told me his tale of woe. He got permission to hunt an old homestead and found a large jar full of silver mercury dimes. They go for @ 1-2 bucks each depends. Anyway his estimate was ther had to be at LEAST 300-400 or so dimes in the lareg mason jar . So he gets done hunting the property owner comes up and says so what did you find he shows her everything including the jar of dimes. She oh I'll take that jar you can have the other stuff (a few bucks in older coins worth maybe $8.00 on a very good day) He got none of the dimes not one :mad: My question to you is would you have showed her the jar or not?????:confused:
  2. Yep...would've showed her the jar. For all I know, that jar could've taken someone a childhood of digging through Dad's change drawer after work to accumulate, but then dumb 'ole Billy Johnson convinced his friend that they needed to take 'em out into the woods to play with 'em...and then the dog got hit on the road, it snowed 10"...and it was never seen again.

  3. That is a messed up story. One one hand the Lady owns the property and everything on it. On the other hand she may never have found or even known about the dimes had your buddy not found them. I find it hard to beleive she would let someone go hunting around on her property had she known that they were there. Your buddy in the very least proformed a service for her that should be paid for. I think this goes to show that if you are going to treasure hunt on someone elses property there needs to be an agreement made on the ownership of found property before anything is found.
  4. I agree with jyb - should've been an agreement before hand. In this case, dude did the work and the lady got the payday. It's her land. If I were the land owner, I would've at least offered a split of the money.
  5. Yes.

    Based on the info you gave, all I can picture is some old widow being taken advantage of,...sorry.
  6. turkeymikey

    turkeymikey turkeymikey

    I am really sorry but if you have to ask what is the right thing to do. It really doesn't matter. You should already know the answer!
  7. Just wanted to get other peoples opinions on this. My answer would have been to show her everything, but I would have given the guy some of the dimes.
    Last edited: Feb 19, 2009
  8. Couple of goofy comments.

    The owners probably knew there were some unknown family items there, so they would not have given permission in the first place if the searcher would have indicated that he would keep things.

    The searcher certainly did not lose anything. And has no legal right to anything if no prior agreement was reached. So he should be content to have just found something.

    Think of how happy the owners were at this find. And when they tell the story they are going to get the reply "You mean you did not even give them any of the coins ?" So the guilt part of this saga is not over.

    I know a friend who lost a class ring years and years earlier and a metal detector guy read an inscription and tracked down the owner. That alone was a great reward for both.

    If it were me I hope I would do the right thing and give everything to the owner and be happy with that.

    Happy fishing and detecting. Not sure which is harder ?
  9. A buddy of mine got a call from a family in Germany, they were out treasure hunting on the old battlefields and found my friend's grandfathers dog tags. My buddy and his family went over there and met the finders and retrieved the tags. The next summer the Germans came here.
  10. I like to do some metal detecting myself but since I sold the detector to buy a trolling motor for my boat I have to wait until I can get another detector. I have found things on private property ( with permission ) and not mentioned them to the property owner and kept them. The thing is,...anytime you find something of value the property owner is gonna think they are entitled to it even if they never would have known the item existed had you not done the legwork for them. Some might not agree with me but as someone who has dealt with this issue before, ... if the agreement to treasure hunt the owners property specifically stated that all items found will be revealed or shared with the property owner then the ethical and right thing to do is to tell the owner and hand over the items , but if there is no agreement to do so specifically then it is not unethical or wrong in any way to NOT mention your find or hand it over. Remember that permission was given whether you found anything or not and was not based on personal gain. ( unless stated that it was )...and the property owner is not above taking advantage of you if given the chance. If the little old lady didnt mention the jar full of dimes or that she expected to share in your finds , then she most likely dosent even know such a thing exists and will never miss it. Treasure hunting is enjoyable but is also a lot of work....done with the expectation of finding something worth keeping.
  11. ErieAngler

    ErieAngler Still Deadly w/ The Net

    There's a moral to that story! Thanks for sharing.
  12. But let me also add that it would depend on the situation. If the owner really needed the item or you could tell it may be special to them for some reason then I personally would give it to the property owner because my concience would bother me if I didnt. And if you made a good friend by doing that then you found an even better treasure.
  13. Fishpro

    Fishpro Northcoast Madman

    I'm kinda on the fence on this one. If I'm ready this right, he has permission to keep what he finds...then the landowner finds out there was really treasure where she thought there was only trash, because I'm sure if she knew about something like that, permission wouldn't have been given. Then he does the hard work and uncovers something nice, and she keeps the booty....Hmmm...I probably would have told her about the HALF full jar of dimes I found.;)
  14. The original post didn't say he had permission to keep what he only said he had permission to hunt for treasure on her property.

    I think most folks would agree that having someone knock on your door asking for permission to hunt for buried treasure is not as common as asking to hunt deer or to fish a farm pond. I might've made the same mistake without really thinking it through. Until now ;).
  15. I guess my question would have to be then why let him keep everything else?
  16. I don't see a dramatic difference between metal detecting and deer hunting or fishing someones private property or pond. If permission is given, it is understood that if you shoot a trophy buck or catch a record bluegill it belongs to the hunter or fisherman.
    Imagine, the land owner telling you, "Boy that buck is going to look great on my wall." or "That bluegill will make a real nice sandwich."
    No different than spending time treasure hunting and finding an item of value.
    In my opinion only, this amounts to the land owners greed after the fact!
  17. rolland

    rolland Fishing Noob

    I would have showed her the bottle of dimes but I would not have given them to her just because she said so. She gave him permission to hunt her land, he hunted and as a result came back with a bottle of dimes IMO there his dimes. Now if she would have said, "oh my god my grandpa always told us he burried a bottle of change and never found it" or somthing making it a family thing I would have happily given her the bottle. But from the sounds of it she said ok hunt if you want, oh you found somthing good give it to me. Thats just wrong.

    Lession in this is when using someone elses land for somthing like this a simple, "If i find anything of value we can sell it and split it" might save a lot of problems and also let more land owners give you permission if there is somthing possible in it for them.
  18. I would think that the use of a metal detector would imply "I'm not looking for trash, I'm lookin' for good stuff" A little different than scavenging a dilipidated farm house for old signs or tools with a pair of gloves.

    I'da told her "I found some dimes" end of. She wouldn't got the chance to see them or take them. Depending on how everything shook out, I may have thrown her a pork chop after I cashed. I'm cynical like that.

    Some of these replies are baffling to me. I appreciate the moral "high road" , but c'mon. If you "found" a rare antique at a yard sale would you tell the owner? "Sir/Ma'am, that things worth tens of thousands of dollars and you're askin' a buck for it...are you sure?" I know I wouldn't. Color it "taking advantage of", color it what you will, but Mr./Mrs. yard sale will be rid of it, and I'll be gettin' paid.
  19. I guess the moral of this is get everything in writting before you metal detect,hunt or fish someplace. I learned from my buddy's experince and drew up a contract for all land owners to sign before I detect anyplace. To be perfectly honest I probably would have grabbed some dimes out of the jar depending on the vibe I got from the land owner. A finders fee if you will. Just seems like she took what looked like something of obvious value and let him have the other stuff. Thanks for everybody's views I leave this topic a wiser man:)

    Tony V "London Calling"
  20. What I think may be bad is that she may not know the value of the find. She may think that she has an extra $30 or so not the $400 or more that they are worth. An extra $30 to someone on a fixed income is alot of money.