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Tin can tycoon

May 05 2010
Swedish scavenger leaves a fortune

A scavenger from Sweden who spent 40 years collecting tins to sell for pennies has died, shocking his relatives by leaving behind a stash of nearly £1 million.

Curt Degerman, 60, ate leftovers from bins and did not change his clothes regularly. Locals in his hometown of Skelleftea knew him as Tin-Can-Curt and assumed he was penniless, but Mr Degerman secretly learned how to use the financial markets to his favour and amassed a fortune.

By studying the financial pages in his local library every day, he learned the stock market and used the cash from his tin can sales to buy stocks and shares. His legacy included more than £731,000 worth of shares in a Swiss bank account, £250,000 worth of gold bars and around £275 of loose change found at his home.

Described as a 'very clever' child by relatives, he apparently dropped out of school after a personal crisis.

The news of Mr Degerman's wealth surfaced following a family dispute over who is entitled to the estate, which left everything to a cousin who had visited him in the months before his death. The will was contested by another cousin and his father, Mr Degerman's uncle. The parties settled out of court last month.