New Here, But man I have a neat story!


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CeilingCat
November 17, 2010, 02:07 AM
So basically I found this forum upon research based on my new acquisition. I found tons of useful information and i'm sure I will be digging for more as time goes on.

So the story...

I recently bought a house here in WA. One owner built in the 70's. Owners passed away and I bought it from the estate. The downstairs has a drop ceiling and last week I was poking around to see where I could fish some cables. I noticed an odd shape so I grabbed a flashlight. To my surprise it was (and you could guess based on the forum content) guns!! :what: So i grabbed a stool and started pulling the new found treasure down from its hiding place. The first down was an M1 Carbine that was sitting directly on a ceiling tile. I continue to pull down two more M1 Carbine's, a Winchester 1897 12ga. shotgun, Winchester model 94 30-30 lever action, NIB Winchester 9422 .22cal, NIB model 1200 12ga. shotgun. And my favorite of all... a Springfield model 1903 30-06! The rest were tucked up in the joists in a custom shelf. The previous owner actually built the house so I believe they may have been there since 1976.

So I spent a while looking for information on all of them. Also took most of them to a local gun shop that deals with older guns to get some more information. Unfortunately there were no killer rare super valuable models. All the military M1's and the Springfield have been reworked. The 1897 was cut down to the barrel length of a riot gun but is stamped "full". The serial dates to about 1899 and it does show its age. But still a cool piece. The model 94 is mint! Not sure if its ever been fired. And it is a pre-64. The Springfield looks almost new. The bore is perfect, the wood is great and the action is very smooth.

I've sold the Underwood and Plainfield M1's already. And I might be looking to unload a few more at a later date. But to answer the next question... NO! the m1903 is not for sale. :p Because the first thing everyone asks is if I will part with it. I bought a few boxes of 30-06 and plan on spending some time at the range.

Anyways, I am glad I found another great forum spend way too much time at. And I will try to get more pictures up soon. I think I'm too tired tonight.

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Gord
November 17, 2010, 02:11 AM
Lucky sonova!
Welcome to THR; may your time here be long and informative!

PS: One Dell might have been an honest mistake, but three? ;)

shotgunjoel
November 17, 2010, 02:27 AM
Nice, your profile name is very fitting. Did you own guns before your discovery?

Mr. Bojangles
November 17, 2010, 03:12 AM
:DWay too cool! I'm happy for you!

luigi
November 17, 2010, 04:34 AM
Did you own guns before your discovery?

I have to ask the same question don't those guns belong to the previous owner's heirs?

bannockburn
November 17, 2010, 06:09 AM
luigi

I'm not sure (not a lawyer but have bought a few houses), but if not specifically mentioned in the sales contract (things like all window treatments remain, appliances remain, etc.), then I believe everything on the property (and under the property as well-i.e. mineral rights, etc.), goes to the new owner. What if they didn't belong to the previous owner? What if he was keeping them for a friend? How do you prove ownership? The OP mentioned the owner passed away; maybe there are no heirs, or maybe he never mentioned these guns to anyone.

Bhamrichard
November 17, 2010, 06:28 AM
I would have at least made an effort to find out. Even if the ownership rights did transfer with the sale of the house (questionable depending on several factors), if the man had a family, they may have wanted to purchase them back themselves.

kaferhaus
November 17, 2010, 07:27 AM
I seem to remember a case where a couple bought a old house (really old house) from a estate with the plan to totally update and remodel the home. Maybe six months later they found several hundred thousand dollars cash in one of the walls and made the mistake of telling people... it got into the press and eventually into court as the heirs sued them for the money.

In the end the new owners were awarded the money but had spent most of it on legal fees...

So.... I wouldn't go blabbing to the neighbors about it.

Kudos on your good luck. Too bad the Carbines were repro's!

ultradoc
November 17, 2010, 08:19 AM
nice find. i have something 'hid' and have shown two people that i trust where it is.

dogsoldier0513
November 17, 2010, 08:59 AM
What's the old saying: 'Two people can keep a secret if......."

luigi
November 17, 2010, 10:15 AM
Bannock Burn
I'm not so much asking about the legalities as I am asking about what's right. I would have at least asked the owner's heirs the guns may have had extraordinary sentimental value to them.

chevyman097
November 17, 2010, 10:24 AM
Its not really our place to judge, or decide what is right...is it :uhoh:


Cool story! and find. I have never sold a gun. Dont believe in it! lol Dont think I could part with any.

mcdonl
November 17, 2010, 10:30 AM
I would have at least asked the owner's heirs the guns may have had extraordinary sentimental value to them.

I doubt it because A) the owner would have probably had them in the will, or in a safe, cabinet or something... and b) the heirs would have KNOWN about them.

I think he was just hiding them, and no one knew or cared. Good find.

jcwit
November 17, 2010, 10:36 AM
Note: The Underwood was not a repro, but mfg. for the U.S. Gov. Total production 545,616 pcs. The Plainfield was assembled from surplus parts accquired from the goverment and sold to police agencies and the cilivian market. However as time went on more and more parts were mfg. by Plainfielf till their demise.

luigi
November 17, 2010, 10:39 AM
Its not really our place to judge, or decide what is right...is it

Yes it is

kaferhaus
November 17, 2010, 10:42 AM
Note: The Underwood was not a repro,

Yeah I "saw" universal.... LOL you are obviously correct, I own a Underwood....

stan rose
November 17, 2010, 11:01 AM
Hold tight to that 9422, they are great guns as well, alot of fun.

chevyman097
November 17, 2010, 11:09 AM
Quote:
Its not really our place to judge, or decide what is right...is it

Yes it is

why?

Mags
November 17, 2010, 11:11 AM
Leave it to the downers on THR to derail a pretty cool story by a new member,that we all wish would happen to us.

SharpsDressedMan
November 17, 2010, 11:25 AM
If there had been any sentimentality attached to those guns by any heirs (i.e., they used to go shooting with them with "grandpa", etc), then they would have looked for them a lot harder before selling the house, I expect. So, in lieu of claims of rights of ownership to the contrary, enjoy!

jcwit
November 17, 2010, 11:53 AM
Personnally I would have contacted the family and felt out the family's knowledge or lack of any firearms and went from there. But thats just me. I believe its all up to the current owner and how he feels about it. He bought the house and it belongs to him. The End.

cleardiddion
November 17, 2010, 11:54 AM
If only I was so lucky!
Congrats on the find CeilingCat!

NavyLCDR
November 17, 2010, 12:02 PM
Quote:
Its not really our place to judge, or decide what is right...is it

Yes it is

In matters of morality - only for ourselves.

RimfireChris
November 17, 2010, 12:12 PM
Amen NavyLT. That said, I'd maybe see if the owner had any heirs, or at least check with a lawyer, just to be sure where I stood.

Zundfolge
November 17, 2010, 12:25 PM
I'm sorry but this is dumb.

He bought the house he's under no moral, ethical nor legal duty to tell the sellers family about the guns.

He's just as likely to find the former owner's family is a bunch of antis that will turn them over to the police for destruction or nere-do-wells that will just sell/trade the guns for meth.
So if I buy a real old house and find something of value in it I should hunt down the ancestors of everyone else that has owned the house and see if they want it first? So if you decide to remodel the house should you try to find the previous owners heirs so they can take the old cabinetry or flooring? Bovine Scat.



Anyone here ever watch the show "If Walls Could Talk"? When you buy a property you own it and anything in it.

Congratulations to CeilingCat on his discovery! And Welcome to THR.

SwampWolf
November 17, 2010, 12:27 PM
Does the house have a basement? :evil:

NavyLCDR
November 17, 2010, 12:33 PM
Does the house have a basement?

I'm saying buy a metal dectector and find out what else is on the property!

My vote, BTW, is CeilingCat only has the moral obligation to enjoy his find to the fullest extent possible. If I was in heaven looking down and someone found a gun of mine, I would want most that it make the finder happy and brings joy into their life.

DCR
November 17, 2010, 12:44 PM
Great finds - both in the ceiling and in this forum.

Not a WA attorney (FWIW, our states have reciprocity), but in my experience, unless there were specifics in the sale contract to the contrary, and if there was a formal inventory of the estate already filed, the sale contract and personal representative/executor's deed for all real and personal property dictates that what came with the house is yours.

Enjoy the fruits of your discovery, and welcome.

Unistat
November 17, 2010, 12:52 PM
In the course of my job I have been through many homes sold by the estate of a deceased person. The home is sold to the new owners as is and whatever is in there at the time of the sale belongs to the new owner unless specifically stated in the contract.
The heirs have ample opportunity to go through the home and remove what ever they want.

I have been in homes that have been stripped clean, including fireplace mantles, and homes that literally not a single thing has been touched from the time of death. Most common is that the heirs will remove what they want to personally keep, then have an estate sale where the public is invited to come into the home and purchase what remains.

In my opinion, the OP has every moral right to keep the firearms he found. If we were talking about golf clubs or old magazines, this wouldn't even be a discussion. We are all very attatched to our firearms (I am sure) and it probably makes us feel bad that the heirs have overlooked these guns, but really, the responsibilty was on them to search the home.

luigi
November 17, 2010, 01:36 PM
I've sold the Underwood and Plainfield M1's already. And I might be looking to unload a few more at a later date

Since I really donít want to hijack this thread this is going to be my last comment on it.
Itís clear that the OP has no attachment to the firearms as heís selling most of them off and for all I know he may well have called the heirs and asked them if they were interested before calling the gun shop.

In a situation like this where thereís only ever been one other person living in the house I wouldnít think it would be a huge strain for someone to pick up a phone, call the heirs and say ďHey I found these guns do you know anything about them?Ē If the heirs expressed that they were really dismayed that they hadnít found the guns dear old dad taught them to shoot on or otherwise expressed some strong attachment to the firearms I really canít imagine being so greedy that Iíd refuse to give them back. Itís not like the OP hit the mother load and heís going to retire on the proceeds of the sale anyway is it?

Finally, the reason I feel so strongly about this is because something similar happened to me. My father died while I was overseas and of all his possessions the only thing I really wanted was his gun. It was a cheap, no name .22 SAA pistol but it was my dadís and I wanted to pass it on. Unfortunately, by the time I made it home it had vanished into a pawnshop in Tampa and I never saw it again.

So thatís where Iím at w/ it enjoy your thread and your Karma

Blown6L
November 17, 2010, 01:42 PM
Gawd I want that 1903!

Congrats on the nice finds!

Tim the student
November 17, 2010, 01:48 PM
Cool find, congrats.

writerinmo
November 17, 2010, 02:04 PM
If there were heirs, and I say 'IF', then my opinion is that the original owners didn't seem to want them to end up with the firearms, or they would have put it in the will or at the very least told them about it at some point. I would take them and enjoy them with an easy conscience, myself. If Grandson hasn't come looking for Grampa's guns, then there either isn't a Grandson or the two weren't on very friendly terms.

Not your obligation to find out either way, they came with the house.

millertyme
November 17, 2010, 02:19 PM
It looks like it falls under the mislaid property rules, meaning that if the rightful owners can be discovered it belongs to them. Now the issue is who is the "true owner". Since you've already sold a couple rifles, if the TO is determined to be someone else you'll be facing a civil suit, most likely for conversion, for which you'll have to pay fair market value for the rifles you sold. You could actually be the true owner, depending on how your state would interpret the definition of mislaid property. If it's yours then congratulations! If only everyone could be so lucky.

Whatever the case, good luck with it.

SpentCasing
November 17, 2010, 02:27 PM
Finders keepers, i say! :)
Great luck on the score, so many of those are on my bucket list. Sooo jealous^^

Jolly Rogers
November 17, 2010, 02:32 PM
Don't see how stashing guns in the ceiling on a shelf specifically added to hold rifles can be construed as "mislaid"...
Joe

welldoya
November 17, 2010, 03:14 PM
I agree with some of you that said if the heirs were into guns, don't you think they would be asking "What happened to Dad's guns ?".
Now, what do you think they are going to say if the OP contacts them and says "Hey, I found these guns. Do they mean anything to you. Would you like them back ?"
I would think if anybody were close to the old man, they would know about the hidden gun stash.
For all we know, it all went to a bunch of greedy nieces and nephews who never visited him anyway.
I say enjoy and congrats on the great find.
Now, just for informations sake, you might want to look into the estate's background and see who inherited it all.

kaferhaus
November 17, 2010, 03:25 PM
I would think if anybody were close to the old man, they would know about the hidden gun stash.
For all we know, it all went to a bunch of greedy nieces and nephews who never visited him anyway.

A likely scenario in my opinion.

If you asked, they'd certainly have instant and total recall.... I wouldn't want to open that can of worms...

jogar80
November 17, 2010, 03:42 PM
AWESOME!!!! SIMPLY AWESOME!!!

And anyone who says otherwise is either jealous or just a grump.

DinosaurJones
November 17, 2010, 03:49 PM
That rocks man... now if you all will excuse me... i must go pull up all my floorboards & ceiling panels.

I can see both sides of the argument about ethics. I think I'd keep them personally. :evil:

Zombiphobia
November 17, 2010, 03:58 PM
If I bought a new house and found things such as family photo albums hidden away.. or jewelry.. I'd try to find out if the family(assuming there IS family) wanted them back.
I think it's selfish and unethical to keep or sell things that MAY hold sentimental value. Just because they are there does NOT mean that nobody looked for them.

A very cool find, though, but I think it's wrong to keep or sell them.

Baba Louie
November 17, 2010, 04:24 PM
CC,
SCORE!

Welcome to THR with a hella great first post. Treasure hunt and ethical moral dilema we all wish we found ourselves in... "what to do what to do"

I personally would've kept the Underwood but money talks.

Like others here, I too would have wrestled with the devil within to see if the heirs... well, I'd like to think I would... well, I'd sure be likin' that '03 and cut down '97 (get a bead put on it if it's missing one).

Join the CMP and buy some greek M2 ammo for your '03, and I think they have some Aguila .30carb relatively cheap.
http://www.thecmp.org/ammosales.htm

Range reports (lots of range reports) and more photos, (up close and personal) please.

skoro
November 17, 2010, 04:30 PM
That IS neat!

Shadow 7D
November 17, 2010, 05:22 PM
The guns were in the house, the house was sold by the heirs, and when a house is sold, usually there is a nice line, that goes either the previous owner gives over (confers) ownership of everything on the proper, or quit-claims everything on the property. it depends on the laws of the state, once you close, you own every thing property, only way those guns go back to the people who SOLD THEM is if you are a really nice guy who likes to return stuff he bought.

Dude, those guns are yours, just like the toilet, and the dust in the corner and the old rake left in the shed, and the gravel on the driveway. If they were sentimental, I'd sell them back at market price, just like you bought their house....

CeilingCat
November 17, 2010, 06:40 PM
Wow, this is quite an active forum! And thank you to all who greeted me.

First off I would like to state that if any of you lost a wallet stuffed with cash I would return it without a dime missing. (and I have) However in this case, the purchase paperwork states clearly that the house was sold as-is and any remaining items all become my property upon closing. That goes for appliances, 70's shag carpet and random items stashed around the house. I found a box of shotgun shells in the garage in the open. So it does not seem like they were really all that interested in looking for any guns if they left the ammunition.

So please, enough of the moral debate. We lost my grandfathers Luger in a yard sale years back, it was just an honest mistake and someone probably got it in a box for $5. Good find for them...

Lets see if I can fill in all of the questions....

As for the Dell's. There is far more than 3 in that pile... and yes I am ashamed a little bit.. :o

As for owning guns prior. I have always been around them because of being a Boy Scout and my dad has many. But myself have never owned guns before.

I may not have gotten top dollar for the two I have sold so far. But the money is going back into the house in the form of a heat pump. And I too tend to get attached to things, so if I didn't sell them right away I may have gotten too attached. I did make sure they went to a good home.

I do plan on keeping at least a few and using them. I have far too many hobbies, many get neglected because of new ones that pop up. Like riding motorcycles. I dropped my Triumph this morning in the rain. I commute on that nearly every day, so it does take precedence when it comes to cash-flow.

I will try to get better pictures of each and provide reports in the respective forums about how they shoot. Because I plan on using each one. I believe in using things for their intended purpose. Thats why I drive the wheels off my cars/bikes.

AKElroy
November 17, 2010, 06:50 PM
I think you should ask the heirs if they want the guns. In fact, I found a winning lottery ticket next to my mailbox today worth $20,000,000.00.

Does it belong to one of you guys?

daorhgih
November 17, 2010, 07:01 PM
One might want to NICS the guns to validate that they are clean.

clutch
November 17, 2010, 07:09 PM
CeilingCat,

You bought the property. Next week if you learn the original owner had a drum of tri-cloroethane in a shed that leaked into the ground water, you own that problem also.

If the heirs had concerns about 'hidden treasure' they would have torn the place apart or put a clause in the sales agreement.

My wild arsed guess is the former owner wasn't close to those that inherited his property.

My opinion is the arms are yours with a clear conscious.

Clutch

NavyLCDR
November 17, 2010, 07:21 PM
One might want to NICS the guns to validate that they are clean.

NICS is only for FFLs to verify purchasers are not prohibited persons. NICS cannot be used by non-FFLs and NICS has absolutely nothing to do with the gun's history, only the buyer's history.

DC3-CVN-72
November 18, 2010, 12:17 PM
I agree with clutch. I think your only problem would be if the man who died was keeping some or all of the guns for a friend who is on a trip and may not know his friend has died. either way that person knows where the house is, and if he showed up and could prove that the guns were his, I would give them back to him plus the money I got for the ones I had sold. :)

hboy35
November 18, 2010, 01:41 PM
your find is what my dreams are made of.....I am a huge Winchester fan--or any gun for that matter.

I too bought an old house this year, and have been in most of the crawl spaces--but not all of them. You have inspired me to go a'huntin'.

Welcome to THR. Hope you feel welcome here. I have enjoyed and benefitted from the community here for the past 8 years.

saenzrich
November 18, 2010, 01:52 PM
good find neat story but its really unfortunate about all the DEBBIE DOWNERS that responded if you have nothing positive to say than shhhhhhh

shiftyer1
November 18, 2010, 02:27 PM
I was always told that after my dad's uncle died his family went thru the house looking for hidey holes as he was rumored to have cash stashed in the walls. Nothing was ever found but it makes you wonder what may be stashed in walls, floorboards or ceiling tiles in some of these old houses.

I wish I had your luck :)

Sebastian the Ibis
November 18, 2010, 06:18 PM
If you were to pawn the guns and buy them back the next day, you might lose $50.00, but you would have a 4473 filled out with your name on it, recording you as the owner. :rolleyes:

NavyLCDR
November 18, 2010, 10:22 PM
If you were to pawn the guns and buy them back the next day, you might lose $50.00, but you would have a 4473 filled out with your name on it, recording you as the owner.

He could sell the guns to his best friend for $50, buy them back for $51, have a bill of sale that only cost him $1 that would list him as owner and be just as official. :scrutiny:

Why did this even come up?

Buckeye
November 18, 2010, 10:38 PM
Check the S/Ns of the 03, if it is a Springfield, don't fire it if it is below 800,000 or 285,507 if it is a Rock Island. They had questionable heat treat and could break at the reciever, especially with comercial ammo. It would be bad karma, a find could be a bad thing.

Cards81fan
November 18, 2010, 10:38 PM
NICS is only for FFLs to verify purchasers are not prohibited persons. NICS cannot be used by non-FFLs and NICS has absolutely nothing to do with the gun's history, only the buyer's history.
I suspect he meant NCIC, but typed NICS.

Baba Louie
November 18, 2010, 11:07 PM
Check the S/Ns of the 03, if it is a Springfield, don't fire it if it is below 800,000 or 285,507...An 03-A3 made during WWII won't have this issue, but it's good advice to heed for the original '03 models.

NavyLCDR
November 19, 2010, 12:13 AM
I suspect he meant NCIC, but typed NICS.

Or maybe NCIS?!? :p

CeilingCat
November 19, 2010, 04:21 PM
The 1903 is a 1391xxx range serial#. I checked and it is not one of the suspect bolts. I'm going to try to get to the range this weekend so I'll let you know if I'm missing any body parts.

I did put up one for consignment then changed my mine. So I had to fill out the 4473. At least now I know that there are no outstanding warrants or problems that I was unaware of!

grisy11
November 19, 2010, 05:55 PM
what if the guns are stolen?I think if they where mine i would like to have my guns back.

1KPerDay
November 19, 2010, 06:15 PM
Lucky dog. Congrats.

leadcounsel
November 19, 2010, 06:47 PM
That is an amazing find, and several thousand dollars in value. Unbelievable luck!!!!

I think you have the legal right to them based on common property sales contracts.

While it would be hard to part with the guns, You *might* consider the approach of asking the heirs if there was anything "missing" from the estate that they had expected but couldn't find.

If they specifically identified the guns, you may *may* offer to sell them. The risk is a lawsuit and as someone identified you may spend a lot on the lawsuit.

If they say no then you've got a 100% clean conscience. I would agree that it's likely they didn't know or care about the guns or they would have looked harder for them. So I would guess this is the answer you'll get. Or maybe they'll mention something else you can look for!

Just food for thought.

But what an amazing find.

I'd rent a metal detector and go over the walls and floors! If he liked to hide guns, I bet he hid ammo or money or something!

wrs840
November 19, 2010, 07:08 PM
You bought the property. Next week if you learn the original owner had a drum of tri-cloroethane in a shed that leaked into the ground water, you own that problem also.

That's a fact.

Leave it to the downers on THR...

No lack of truth there either. The credo to "do the right thing" turns some into reflexive and interminable nags.


Great find CeilingCat! It's a way better outcome than one we had locally where the Volunteer Fire Dept burned a house down for training before they found all the charred remnants of the guns that the dear-departed had hidden!

Les

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