Treasure Trove Law and Legal Definition

A treasure-trove is gold, silver, gems, money, jewelry, etc found hidden under ground or in cellar or attics, etc., where the owner of the treasure is not known. What qualifies as a treasure trove and legal rights to it varies considerably from country to country. The English common law from the 1760s until the 1880s held that a treasure trove went to the Crown.

In the U.S., the finder of a treasure trove has a superior claim to it against all others except the original owner. Cases involving finders of hidden property are seldom simple; there are usually numerous parties and interests involved.