Facts: P believed they were in possession of a valuable stamp collection. Later they saw
an advertisement for the sale of their stamps by Ganter. D stated he found the stamps in a
dresser he had purchased for thirty dollars in a used furniture store. D refused to return
the stamps to P and they filed suit in replevin. Trial court found for P.
Holding: Affirmed. The adage “finder’s keepers, loser’s weepers” is not a sufficient
legal argument.
– Isaack and Armory have well-established that a finder has property rights over all but
the rightful owner. Generally, it may be said that the finder of lost property holds it as a
bailee for the lost owner.
To allow a “finders keepers’ regime would:
– force property owners to horde their property, taking away many of the freedoms
we enjoy in an organized society
– cause people otherwise considered thieves to take control over other people’s
– undermine the very idea of a “social contract” that men living in the state of
nature sought to avoid by developing laws and property rights in the first place