The Asbury Park Press published a story May 20, 2019 about a group of early gold certificates found in an old basement safe in Asbury Park,
NJ. They are now the subject of a lawsuit. -Editor
This is the front of a $500 gold certificate from 1882. A similar certificate was found in an Asbury Park home and is believed to have
been sold for $1.4 million. The certificate is a focus of a criminal trial and a civil lawsuit.
Elaine Palmer nestled away 13 Civil War-era gold certificates, knowing at some point the antique money would be a safety net for her family.
Use them to fix up the family's Asbury Park home, Palmer told her granddaughter, Lisa Linder. It was supposed to provide stability for Linder
and her adult daughter with special needs after Palmer died in 2004.
In reality, it wasn't that simple. The home, at 1602 Fourth Ave., was hoarded and had fallen into disrepair. By the time ownership transferred
to her in 2012 after her mother died, Linder decided her only option was to sell the two-story colonial.
She couldn't afford to fix it. She couldn't afford the taxes to hold onto it either. Plus, she planned to move to Florida where her
lifelong best friend is a doctor.
Linder sold the home to Burke Development in the spring of 2013. That deal, she said, also included all of the items cluttered inside.
Unbeknownst to anyone, however, was that the gold certificates were in a safe that Linder didn't know sat in the basement.
And no one realized those certificates - four of which were sold at auction for nearly $3.5 million - would spark a years-long battle in Monmouth
County criminal and civil courts that centers on one question.
Who owns the gold certificates found in an Asbury Park basement?
Jury selection is underway in the case of Keith Schaefer, who is accused of breaking into a safe and stealing the certificates, and Thomas Surina,
a rare currency dealer who is accused of buying and then selling the certificates, even though he knew they were stolen.
The notes were later sold through a Heritage auction. Would anyone know the lot number(s) of the disputed piece(s)? I'd like to see better
images - it's an interesting and important hoard.
Lawsuits are an unfortunate fact of life for dealers, who can rarely know the full provenance of items that flow through their hands. I'm sure
each has paperwork signed by the seller or consignor declaring that they are indeed the rightful owner, but the court will decide now who is at
To read the complete article, see:
Asbury Park secret safe had $3.5M in gold
certificates; now who gets them? (https://www.app.com/story/news/local/people/2019/05/20/gold-certificates-asbury-park/3311405002/)
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