The Curious Life of Nevada’s
LaVere Redfield:

The Silver Dollar King


(From Chapter 12: Death of a Legend)
The following day, September 10, Clel Georgetta made his first excursion down to the fabled Redfield basement. Like all Renoites, he had followed the 1952 Redfield burglary and the later IRS trial in the newspapers, so he knew about the fabulous silver cache that had been discovered by the FBI behind a false concrete wall. Despite that, he was not prepared for what he found this day, or on two subsequent trips into the basement:

    I was just amazed at what I saw. There is barely room to squeeze along the center between stacks of crates and boxes clear to the ceiling. There are hundreds of cases of canned foods, now old and so spoiled the cans are puffed. There must be 2,000 or 4,000 cases of a game once put out by Shell Oil Company, a cardboard map of the U. S. with a round hole in each state, and 48 circular pieces of copper with a state name on each.

    There are boxes and boxes and boxes of empty bottles of every kind, shape and size. Stacks and stacks and stacks of old newspapers and old magazines. God know[s] what. Everything imaginable. I have heard people say Redfield was crazy. Now I am beginning to believe it.

    I recall seeing six big architect’s drawing boards and dozen and dozens of airplane wheel blocks. Old camp stoves. [More] cases and cases of canned goods.

    At the rear end of the house there is a stone stairway that leads from the backyard down to a door into the basement. The entire stair well had been filled with wooden boxes, tin cans, bottles and other junk, so no one could possibly go down it without cleaning it out.

There was no doubt in the mind of any of the people who subsequently entered the basement that LaVere Redfield had been a real, honest-to-goodness hoarder. In his diary, Georgetta repeated the story of Redfield’s 1948 mugging where he was hit on the head more than a dozen times with a brick. Then he added: “Today Mrs. Redfield told me that before that event, the basement was clean. After that, he started going to auctions and buying about everything in sight.”