The “finders keepers meaning” is a complexed one. As kids we used the term loosely. Whenever we found something of interest and wanted to keep it we would say “finders keepers losers weepers.”
The phrase can actually be attributed all the way back to the Roman days. A Roman playwright named Plautus used the term around the time of 200 B.C. However, the true meaning of the term today is one fraught with confusing meaning.
For the purposes of this article I will be examining
the finders keepers rule regarding items found on land. There is an entirely
different explanation for finders keepers when a treasure, or a shipwreck is
found beneath the water. That article is for another time.
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The finders keepers meaning is not that different from the treasure trove law.
Like the treasure trove law, abandoned property, misplaced property, or lost and forgotten items come under the finders keepers meaning and rule.
The following characteristics are important to whether or not a treasure falls within the finders keepers ruling.
Treasures can be hidden. Meaning, there is no known owner at the time a treasure is found; and the treasure was found by chance.
Basically, a “treasure belongs to the finder if he finds it on his own land; if it is found on the land of another, 1/2 belongs to the owner of the land and 1/2 to the finder, unless the finder was acting for the owner.”
Lost or Forgotten Items
The finder must try and locate the owner and identify the owner. The finder must also report the found item to the police in the area the item was found.
If the finder does not follow through on the above, he
or she will not acquire ownership.
If you metal detect, or treasure hunt, the best advice I can give you is to stay off State and Federal Lands.
The Federal laws regarding removing items from State and Federal lands is pretty clear. You cannot remove any item that is more than one hundred years old. If you do, and you are caught, you will be prosecuted.
Forget about the finders keepers meaning helping you if you locate a treasure on State or Federal Lands. The antiquity laws will most always supersede any State treasure trove or finders keepers law.
The Laws Change from State to State
If you are a treasure hunter, or you are someone that
enjoys the hobby of metal detecting and you are concerned about breaking any of
the above laws, or if you want to know what your rights are if you find a
valuable item, understand that laws change. My information regarding all of the
above information is current. However, I cannot be held responsible for any
information regarding any of the above laws if they change.
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