treasure-trove, in English law, buried or concealed money or precious metals without any ascertainable owner. Such property belongs to the crown. The present practice in Great Britain is for the crown to pay the finder for the treasure-trove if it is of historic or artistic value. In the United States the government does not assert a claim to apparently ownerless property but allows the finder to keep it.
The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2012, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.