October 29, 1897
Ogden, Utah, U.S.
|Died||September 6, 1974|
Reno, Nevada, U.S.
|Occupation||Investor, businessman, land owner, numismatist, roulette player and philanthropist|
|Net worth||US$200 million (1974)|
Redfield was born in Ogden, Utah. His mother, Sarah Eleanor Browning, was an Ogden native, and her father was Jonathan Browning, a blacksmith and gunsmith whose family would found the famed Browning Arms Company in Utah in 1928. LaVere's father, William Sheldon Redfield, was born in Nauvoo, Hancock County, Illinois, in 1845. William Sheldon Redfield parents had been founding members of Joseph Smith's Mormon Church in New York; but shortly after William`s birth they, along with other dissenters, formed a splinter sect called the “Cutleries.” LaVere Redfield attended the public Ogden High School where he was a member of the Cadet Battalion, a kind of Reserve Officers' Training Corps (ROTC) organization for high school boys. In 1918 he moved to Idaho Falls and then Burley, Idaho. He worked as a potato farmer, clerk, and store manager.
Investment career[edit | edit source]
He moved with his wife to California, Los Angeles in 1929 and he started investing in stocks. At the depth of the Depression of the 1930s, he got a bank loan to buy stocks at rock bottom prices which made him a millionaire by 1932. Redfield made another fortune in Southern California, he bought real estate at tax sales and bought oil companies that were coming out of bankruptcy during the early 1930s. In 1935, the rumor of a California State Income Tax caused him to move to Reno, Nevada. In Reno, he continued buying large parcels of land at tax sales, many of which had been given up by the Southern Pacific Railroad high up Mt. Rose and near Lake Tahoe. Eventually he wound up owning over 55,000 acres of Washoe County land. He distrusted both banks and the U.S. government and throughout the 1940s and 50s he purchase bags of silver dollars and stashed them in the basement of his house. Upon his death in 1974, some 400 bags of dollars (approximately 400,000 pieces) were discovered behind a false wall in his basement. Roughly 85% of them were uncirculated, and in late January 1976, the entire lot was auctioned. The winning bid of $7.3 million was that of Steve Markoff, of A-Mark Corporation, narrowly eclipsing the underbidder, Bowers and Ruddy Galleries.
Personal life[edit | edit source]
When he was 24, Redfield married in Burley, Idaho, to Nell Rae Jones, a widow, who was born in 1894 at Malad City, Idaho. They had no children. LaVere Redfield was very close to his brother Frederick William Redfield (1881-1954), a businessman from Ogden as well, owner and president of the famous Superior Honey Company. LaVere Redfield great-grandfather was Jonathan Browning, the inventor of a repeating rifle. LaVere Redfield was a relative of William C. Redfield, the first United States Secretary of Commerce from 1913 to 1919; William Charles Redfield, the first president of the American Association for the Advancement of Science; Heman J. Redfield, an American politician from New York; John Moses Browning an American most famous firearms designer.
Wealth and philanthropy[edit | edit source]
In 1974, Redfield had an estimated net worth of $200 million dollars.
References[edit | edit source]
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