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RuthD
01-09-2014, 04:25 AM
If someone found a treasure on their own property (gold coins intended as mustering-out pay for Confederate soldiers), who would get to keep it? Where would it be while ownership was being decided? Thanks for any thoughts on this!

alleycat
01-09-2014, 04:48 AM
How would anyone know what the money was intended for?

People find stuff all the time around here. They keep it. The only problem is usually certain items (such as Union cannons) that are still listed as federal property.

The Confederacy didn't mint very many coins. They mostly used paper money.

thothguard51
01-09-2014, 05:00 AM
I remember as a kid back in the 50's, some of our neighbors still had confederate bills from their grandparents time stuck away in scrap books...

As far as treasure, since there is no confederacy anymore to assert claim, I suspect you would get to keep any treasure you find on land you own.

King Neptune
01-09-2014, 05:03 AM
When someone finds something on their own property, it belongs to them, unless there are some strange conditions associated with it. Anything that was abandoned a hundred fifty years ago is thoroughly abandoned now. Whoever found it should hold on to it.

alleycat
01-09-2014, 05:04 AM
I have some CSA paper money, some with a picture of the Tennessee State Capitol.

King Neptune
01-09-2014, 05:05 AM
ANd if you have CSA paper money check the prices these days, or just give it to me, and I'll give you 90% of face value.

Kylabelle
01-09-2014, 05:06 AM
Also, I'm no historian, but I am under the impression that the Confederacy was dead broke by the end of the war and even some time before that. Not sure there would be any treasure to find.

Little Anonymous Me
01-09-2014, 05:20 AM
Also, I'm no historian, but I am under the impression that the Confederacy was dead broke by the end of the war and even some time before that. Not sure there would be any treasure to find.


Dead is an understatement. I'm pretty sure there were people 6 feet under with more money than half the Confederacy. ;) From what I can recall, the Confederacy had a very limited number of mints, and only the one in New Orleans made coins that were distinct from 'Yankee money' (they lacked proper casting equipment with the metal shortage). If it could be melted down, it was. That's why inflation went through the roof--printing fake paper money was easy.

MaryMumsy
01-09-2014, 05:44 AM
Maybe your character could have found silver flatware or candlesticks or something of that nature. Buried to keep the DamnYankees from taking it, and the only person who knew where it was died with the secret.

Things get found periodically in Britain, usually church objects buried when Henry 8 banned the Catholic church.

MM

melindamusil
01-09-2014, 07:56 AM
Ahh, the KGC...
The other posters are right in that the Confederacy was broke, and I'd be very surprised if they had any gold coins left to give as mustering-out pay. Gold was melted down, used, or sold. The only gold coins left in the confederacy were owned by private citizens.

BUT there is a fantastic conspiracy theory surrounding the Knights of the Golden Circle, a secret society that existed within the confederacy. Allegedly, at the end of the war, they buried caches of treasures (mostly gold or silver coins) in secret locations all over the south, to be used when the Confederacy rises again. It's great fodder for us writers.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Knights_of_the_Golden_Circle

As to who would own it? Most likely the property owner. If the cache was found on land that belonged to the federal/state government, then it's possible the gov't would take the finder to court for a stake in the ownership. IF an individual could prove that the item had belonged to their ancestor, they MIGHT be able claim ownership - but that is a pretty huge IF.

Russell Secord
01-10-2014, 04:02 AM
Going even further afield, does the gold have to have been Confederate? There's a theory that the surviving Knights Templar moved to North America in 1362--could it be part of their fabulous hoard?

To answer the original question, the law in my state (a former Confederacy member) places no restrictions on anything found on private property. State or federal property, that's a different story, but in your own back yard, it's finders keepers.

frimble3
01-10-2014, 07:21 AM
Does it need to be Confederate government treasure? Or just treasure of that era?
Or treasure with some sort of exciting past? If this is set along the coast, it might be even older, pirate gold.

MDSchafer
01-11-2014, 01:06 AM
This is just me, but it seems like there its an abundance of information available via internet search engines.

I found this after typing six words into Google, it appears to answer your questions in a plausible manor.
http://answers.yahoo.com/question/index?qid=20100406195614AAE57nJ

WeaselFire
01-12-2014, 08:10 AM
If someone found a treasure on their own property (gold coins intended as mustering-out pay for Confederate soldiers), who would get to keep it?
State laws determine these things. In general, found property on property you own is yours. But state archeology laws may interfere with you keeping historic relics.

Jeff

Alessandra Kelley
01-12-2014, 08:19 AM
First thing I thought when I saw this title was how dead broke the Confederacy was, but I see other posters have covered that pretty well.

Despite having a romantic, Musketeer-era chivalrous self-image (honest! It's where those corkscrew curls and giant satin dresses on the ladies came from and why so many Confederate officers looked like Buffalo Bill -- er, some long-haired thigh-booted RomantickallesqueTM cavalier on horseback), most people of the Confederacy, even the wealthier ones, were wearing close to rags by the end of the war.

They didn't have gold coins. They barely had brass buttons.

MythMonger
01-14-2014, 05:48 AM
I'd be skeptical of someone finding Confederate gold coins. That topics been pretty well covered by the posters above, though.

Maybe the treasure could be documents signed by historical figures, like Robert E. Lee and Jefferson Davis?

Although, if your story takes place outside of Virginia, I'd be pretty skeptical about these finds, too.

Belle_91
01-14-2014, 05:53 AM
I don't know if this is true, but I've heard stories of planters burying fine china, porcelain, nice candlesticks, ect...before Sherman came. Maybe your character could come across something of that nature.