Eccentric Swede turned empty cans into gold

David Landes
David Landes - [email protected]
Eccentric Swede turned empty cans into gold

The relatives of a man who spent the last three decades collecting empty cans on the streets of a town in northern Sweden were surprised to learn he was worth millions when he died.


At the time of his death last autumn, 60-year-old Curt Degerman, known to the residents of Skellefteå as “Burk-Curt” (‘Tin-Can Curt’), had amassed a fortune worth more than 12 million kronor ($1.4 million), the Expressen newspaper reports.

Relatives attribute Tin-Can Curt’s previously-unknown riches to a mix of frugality and a penchant for playing the stock market.

He was always seen cycling around the streets of Skellefteå in the same worn blue jacket and ragged pants, but punctuated his rounds of the city’s rubbish bins with visits to the local public library.

“He went to the library every day because he didn’t buy newspapers. There he read [Swedish business daily] Dagens Industri,” a cousin told Expressen.

“He knew stocks inside and out.”

And Tin-Can Curt used that investing know-how to turn the modest deposits he collected from returning empty cans into mutual funds worth more than 8 million kronor.

In addition, he had purchased 124 gold bars currently valued at 2.6 million kronor and had nearly 47,000 kronor in the bank.

Tin-Can Curt also owned his own home, which was found to have 3,000 kronor in loose change, bringing the total value of his estate to 12,005,877 kronor.

The closet millionaire died of a heart attack in his sleep last autumn and left his estate to his cousin, who visited him several times a week up until he died.

“Curt didn’t begrudge anything to anyone and never bought anything. But he had a really good head on his shoulders and was smarter than most,” said the cousin.


Join the conversation in our comments section below. Share your own views and experience and if you have a question or suggestion for our journalists then email us at [email protected].
Please keep comments civil, constructive and on topic – and make sure to read our terms of use before getting involved.

Please log in to leave a comment.

See Also