When a guy discovered a secret envelope under an antique desk he had purchased for $40, it was a once-in-a-lifetime treasure.
Finding that ideal piece of vintage furniture may be exhilarating. It might seem extra wonderful to win one at an auction, especially if you’re attempting to save money. But Phil LeClerc had no clue when he bought home a Governor Winthrop secretary desk from an auction shop in 2014 that it would change someone else’s life.
A surprising revelation
LeClerc was a regular visitor to the Massachusetts auction house Holbrook. So he didn’t hesitate to bid $40 on an old desk, which he eventually won. He decided to take a closer look at the piece of furniture after he got it home.
There were a few flaws, but LeClerc saw one that stood out: a missing knob. So he started rummaging inside the desk and tapping it to see what would fall out. Governor Winthrop desks are typical auction house items, and they’re known for having a lot of hidden compartments, so the guy assumed the knob had dropped into one of them. He didn’t locate the knob at first, but what he found instead was incredible.
According to WTKR, LeClerc began to find mature bonds in large quantities. He told the magazine, “We discovered 50s, then we found 100s, 200s, 500s, and finally we found a stack of six $10,000 bonds.” When the desk was properly investigated, he was found to be in possession of $127,000 in bonds that had just been tucked away. For a $40 investment, that’s a very good return.
“I can’t believe. This is not happening.” He then told The Boston Globe.
A family on the lookout
LeClerc was clearly ecstatic with the find, but after some thought, he realized that the money wasn’t his to keep. Knowing this prompted him to call the auction house so that the former owners might be notified. As it turned out, a guy (who requested anonymity) had auctioned off the desk and other objects at his 94-year-old father’s home as he prepared to sell it.
The guy was attempting to fund his father’s medical expenditures as well as the cost of an assisted care home, according to Marg-E Kelley, the auction house owner. The links were known to the family, but they had been unable to find them.
Antiques have immense power.
Although finding over $130,000 hidden within a $40 desk may be an unusual occurrence, it appears that pleasant encounters that bring families together or bring back memories occur frequently at auction houses.
The owner emphasized this point in an interview with the Globe. “I’ve been doing this for ten years, and the tales become stranger, better, and more fantastic every day,” she remarked. “He can’t believe it,” says the gentleman whose family owns the bonds. “I’m over the moon,” he remarked.
Pay attention to your gut feelings.
LeClerc had the option of keeping the bonds for himself or his family, but he opted to do the right thing and search out the true owners. In the end, LeClerc’s honesty not only aided a family dealing with a sick father, but it also made him feel good about himself for doing the right thing.
He told WTKR, “It was a fantastic find.” “After hearing the family’s tale, it was much better.”
The tale serves as a reminder that there are still decent individuals in the world, but it also demonstrates that doing the right thing isn’t always simple. LeClerc might have utilized the money, but it took time to trace down the owners and guarantee the bonds were returned to the correct people.
Few of us would ever find ourselves in that scenario, but perhaps the next time you locate a lost wallet, an article of clothing, or another piece of property, you could do a little more to track out the owner. To assist reconnect a piece of clothing with its owner, look for a name, post about it in a local social media group, or even hang it in a public area.
After all, you never know how important your find will be to someone else.