Imagine buying an old desk for $40 at an auction house, then taking it home to discover its contents were worth a lot more than that. That’s exactly what happened to one guy. But what makes this story special is that he went out of his way to track down the original owner and return what was rightfully theirs.
An old secretary desk, as it’s called, was for sale at Kelley Auctions in Holbrook, and it looked like any other. Nothing stood out any differently, just it needed a few repairs, and so it fetched a humble price.
The old piece of furniture was bought for $40 by Phil LeClair, who brought it home. It had a broken foot, and the finial was missing, but Phil had found it tucked away in one of the drawers.
Something LeClair is aware of is that these old secretaries are known for having numerous drawers, compartments, and narrow spaces for storing things … or even hiding things.
“This desk is notorious for hidden compartments,” LeClair told WCVB Channel 5 Boston.
At first, LeClair didn’t find anything by looking. It was only when he was repairing it, he gave the old piece of furniture a shake, and out dropped an envelope from a small space that he hadn’t checked.
One may think the envelope would just contain an interesting handwritten letter from an earlier time. But, inside the envelope was no letter, but money—lots of it.
“We found $50s, then we found $100s, $200s, $500s, and then we found a stack of six $10,000 bonds,” said LeClair, who had uncovered $127,000 of mature savings bonds.
LeClair returned to the auction house to track down the original owner of the desk, as he wanted to return the money to its rightful owner.
With the help of staff at Kelley Auctions, they were able to track down the original owner, who was actually in desperate need for money at that particular time, to help his ailing 94-year-old father.
“This man was getting his dad’s house ready for sale, so he could pay for his care,” said a staff member at Kelley Auctions. “It’s a lot of money. It’s going to change their lives.”
The $127,000 was found and returned at a time it was most needed. No information is available on whether the original owner of the old secretary changed his mind on selling his dad’s house, but at least his savings were returned to him.
That would for sure make his life a lot easier. Who knows, he could’ve been worried sick about losing such a large sum of savings.
At the time this story took place, it was just before Thanksgiving in 2014. LeClair’s honest act of returning the money to the rightful owner was sure to make for a happy Thanksgiving.
Watch the report here:
Photo Credit: YouTube Screenshot | WCVB Channel 5 Boston.