Last Thursday in Lucerne, Switzerland, a man lost a wallet with 7,070 francs in it according to 20 Minuten. Fortunately, it was handed in and the owner was tracked down by the lost and found team at Lucerne’s police station, who returned the wallet containing a number of cards and the large sum of cash. The 20 year old man who found the wallet wasn’t left empty handed. He received 720 francs as a reward.
Swiss law requires anyone who finds something that is clearly worth more than 10 francs to report it to the police (article 720B of the Swiss civil code) and hand it in, either directly to the owner, to the relevant lost and found service, or to the police.
In addition, the law obliges owners of lost items to reward those who hand them in. The requirement to give a reward is set out in article 722 the Swiss civil code. It says the finder is entitled to just reward, and reimbursement of related expenses. The code does not specify the amount of the reward, although 10% of the item’s value is often used as a rule of thumb. A generous finder can decline to accept the reward.
According to 24 Heures, a man from Bern left a Stradivarius violin worth several million francs on a bus between Bern and Thun in 2012. This was the most valuable item ever left on Swiss public transport. According to the same article, the requirement to automatically pay a reward does not apply to items found on the Swiss Rail network. Fortunately for the absentminded musician who had borrowed the violin for a few days, this did not stop someone from handing it in. One would hope that it was returned, at the very least, for a song.