Anyone who has done a home renovation knows that sometimes objects and belongings turn up that no one was expecting to find. But one couple in Ohio got an astonishing surprise during what was supposed to be a simple basement remodel. Right there, beneath their feet, had been a hidden treasure, untouched for over half a century.
Starting Another Routine Remodeling Job
Reddit user Branik12, who will be referred to as Paul for this story, was a 35-year-old who described himself as a “do-it-yourself home remodeler.” He and his wife had bought a house in the Greater Cleveland Area dating back to the late 1940s , and while they were excited, they were the first to admit that their new home needed a ton of work.
Together, Paul and his wife had already completely remodeled just about everything on the first and second floors of their home, and they decided that it was time to move on to their basement. They thought it would be just another job, but they were about to find out that this remodel would be anything but routine.
Remodeling The Dreary Basement
The basement of the couple’s home could have been best described as downright creepy. The gigantic room was dark, with only a few small windows giving the place any light, and the floors were made of thick, cold concrete. But for Paul, this basement was a blank canvas compared to his other remodeling jobs.
On the walls, Paul’s home was covered in plaster that was aging and peeling away, revealing some of the cinder block stone behind it. He decided to get the project started by tearing down the walls. But once he did, he quickly made the first of many strange discoveries that he would find in his basement.
The Writing Was On The Wall
One the first day of his home renovation, Paul began slowly chipping away at the cold walls of his basement, revealing more and more of the stone underneath. And as he did, he slowly began to notice that something was preserved behind the plaster.
“We peeled back the walls and revealed some random writing and drawings,” Paul wrote on Reddit, attaching pictures of what he found. The etchings were a mix of doodles and names, but something felt off. Nonetheless, Paul decided that he had to continue on with the renovation, despite an unsettling feeling he had at the pit of his stomach.
Moving On Up To The Ceiling
With the walls completely removed, Paul found himself nearly surrounded by the peculiar drawings scrawled all over the otherwise bare walls. Now that this stage of the home renovations was finished, it was time to start gutting the ceiling. He was hoping that this part would pass by quickly. But things did not go as planned.
“There [is] a good quarter inch of dust on the ceiling,” Paul explained. “We put up plastic to keep the dust out of the rest of the house and exposed then patched the air returns first.” Paul thought he knew what to expect, a difficult and messy stage of renovations. He had no idea what was coming.
Noticing Something Out Of The Ordinary
So far, Paul thought that this project was just another standard renovation of his home. In fact, getting this house into shape had been easier than previous remodels. Unlike the other, more heavily-trafficked floors of their home, the fact that the basement was empty meant that there was not as much to move.
Inch by inch, he began to take apart the ceiling of the basement, which exposed the wooden beams and metal piping above. Everything was going as planned. But then, suddenly, he noticed there was something tucked in between the pipes. What he saw stopped him dead in his tracks.
A Suitcase Tucked Away In The Ceiling
Paul wondered to himself what on Earth that object could be. He quickly grabbed a flashlight and scaled back up the ladder to get another look, and suddenly he saw the same flash of green that he thought he had seen before. His eyes were not deceiving him; there was a small, metallic box tucked between the beams and plaster of his ceiling.
“Cool! A treasure,” he thought to himself sarcastically. He took a few pictures, joking that he could be like one of the people he’d seen on the Internet who stumbled onto some long-lost treasure. He had no idea what could be inside, but he needed to find out.
Taking The Suitcase Outside
Paul carefully removed the dust-covered box from the ceiling. The dark basement was no place to unlock something like this, so he told his wife to come outside with him, trying to get a better view. As soon as he picked up the box, he could feel that there was definitely something outside.
Whatever was inside, he knew that it was not coins, nor bars of gold or anything of that sort. The box did not rattle as though it were filled with metal, but it was still pretty heavy. Paul set everything up to document the moment, taking pictures along the way, and the excited couple began to open up the mysterious box.
What Could Be Inside?
Paul was a huge fan of Reddit, and he had seen plenty of stories online all the time of people running into unexpected treasures. He could not believe that he might be one of those people, and so naturally, he was having fun with it.
Before opening the box, he and his wife playfully tried to guess what could possibly be inside. Paul had supposed that it could be a collection of old baseball cards formerly owned by a previous tenant. His wife guessed that it might be some old family recipes from a long-gone grandmother. Yet what they saw was even better than what either of them had guessed.
Opening Up Their Treasure
Paul had seen a ton of these hidden treasure unboxings online, and decided to grab a helpful banana for scale. There were no bananas in his home, so he settled on a banana-shaped toothbrush that he randomly happened to have at home. Odd as that was, the box’s contents were stranger tenfold.
Once the couple pried open the green box, they found that there were three separately-wrapped packages inside, each wrapped up in old wax paper. Surrounding the packages was a piece of old newspaper, a copy of the Cleveland Plain Dealer. It was dated Sunday, March 25, 1951. Whatever was inside of these three packages probably had been there since at least the 1950s, and had not been touched since.
Inside The First Package
With the excitement steadily mounting, Paul finally unwrapped the first of the three packages. Right in front of his widening eyes, he found a giant stack of bills. And these bills were not just paltry one or five dollar denominations. It was official: he had indeed found a hidden treasure in his home.
“These are all twenties!” Paul exclaimed over Reddit. The couple guessed that there could be as many as a couple of thousand dollars within just one of the packages. “We are freaking out at this point,” Paul wrote. As his adrenaline was rushing, he and his wife moved on to open the second package. And this one’s contents were about to be even more startling.
Inside The Second Package
Paul and his wife thought they already had a few thousand dollars on their hands, and yet they were just one-third of their way into their personal treasure. The couple unwrapped the wax paper from the second package, and sure enough, they revealed yet another stack of money.
“The second package did not have any twenties,” Paul wrote on Reddit. Instead, every single bill found in the second package was a fifty, and the stack was just as high as the first package. There were at least a few more thousand dollars laying in front of the couple, and they could barely believe it. Without wasting any more time, Paul moved on to the third package.
The Third and (Final?) Package
Paul and his wife were expecting the third package to be filled with even more bills, but they were not prepared for just how much would actually be in it. The entire stack in this package was made of 100 dollar bills. “This is out of control!” Paul wrote on Reddit.
Paul felt like he was being pranked on a TV show. He gathered all of the money that he had collected and stared at this almost-fictional fortune, a hidden treasure he had been unknowingly standing on top of. The box was now empty, and Paul thought that he had unwrapped the third and final package. But there would be even more he did not know about yet.
Assessing The Treasure
Flipping through his new riches, Paul noticed that what he had in front of him was probably just the half of it. Some of these bills were rare, and could be worth much more than they appeared. Paul wrote online that he noticed “some brown notes, a gold certificate and some star notes nearly uncirculated” were among his new windfall.
Every bill had been printed between 1928 and 1934. While he had read about other people finding hidden treasure, he had no idea what people did after they made their discoveries. “What do we do now?” he asked. “Is it ours? What is it worth?” He tried to find out.
Solving The Mystery
For now, the home renovation was put on pause. Instead, the couple spent hours online looking up rare bills and searching for an appraiser for the bills they’d discovered. Paul called a friend who was an estate lawyer, who confirmed for him that the money now legally belonged to the couple. With that information, he was off to an appraiser.
It turned out that 20 of the bills were now above their face value, and 10 of them were now worth four times as much as they originally had been. In total, the couple found what was worth $23,000 today, stuffed away in their basement’s ceiling. And somehow, the story soon got even more unbelievable. Their house was not yet done revealing its secrets.
Another Suitcase In The Ceiling
“After about a week, the high wore off,” Paul explained in a follow-up post about his hidden treasure. The couple still had a completely unfinished basement to take care of and it was a mess down there, so Paul got back to work on his home renovations.
Paul picked back up right where he had left off, and began to tear away more of the ceiling of the basement. He pried apart a bit of the plaster and, as the pieces came crumbling down, he saw a familiar shade of green in the ceiling. Could it actually be possible? Was there yet another one of these boxes?
What Else Was Up There?
This time, there was no second-guessing what Paul had seen. His expectations were high, and he quickly removed the second box from the ceiling and brought it upstairs. But he could not keep playing this guessing game, he had to know what else was up there in that crevice.
Paul spent the rest of the day tearing apart the rest of the ceiling. If there were more boxes, Paul wanted to find them all at one time. With each falling debris, he held his breath hoping to see another hidden treasure. Once the ceiling was exposed, and there were no more boxes, he anxiously made his way upstairs to see what was inside of his second discovery.
Unveiling The Second Treasure Chest
The second box was heavier than the first had been. In fact, Paul had guessed that this second discovery was twice as heavy as the first. Paul was hopeful that he would find an even larger bounty inside, maybe twice as large as the first. He waited for what seemed like hours for his wife to get home from work before opening the box.
Together, they cracked this box open and stepped back. Once again, the contents were wrapped in another fragment of old newspaper from 1951. But underneath the newspaper there was something even more unbelievable than what the couple had found inside of the first box.
Yet Another Windfall
As they peeled away the old newspaper, the couple found yet another a huge collection of old bills. Unlike the first package, these bills were not separated into stacks. Instead, Paul and his wife began flipping through the small metal box.
This second box was stuffed almost entirely with twenty-dollar bills, with a few $50 and $100 bills mixed within the collection. The couple counted $10,000 in $20 bills, and even more once they added the other bills found inside. Once again, some of the bills were clearly extremely rare. The couple could not believe their luck, and once again went to see how much this hidden treasure was worth.
Back To The Appraiser
Just like they had the week before, the couple found themselves Googling some of the rare bills they found, and once again, they packed them all up and visited an appraiser. Paul sold off the rare bills for as much as four times their face value. In total, after counting both packages, the couple had found over $45,000 buried in their ceiling.
Paul deposited all of it right into his bank account. “I seriously had to make an appointment and sit there and watch them count it all out,” he wrote. “It was great fun!” So what did they do with their new riches?
Putting The Treasure To Use
A simple home renovation had quickly turned into one of the most exciting things to have ever happened to this couple. They could not believe that all this time walking on their first-level, about $45,000 was stored right underneath their feet.
In a follow-up post on Reddit, Paul answered some users’ questions. One asked what the couple planned to do with the money. “It is in the bank and will be paid toward our mortgages,” Paul explained. With the extra funds, the couple predicted that they could pay off their mortgage quickly and be able to move to the countryside. Here’s to hoping they decide to do some more renovations once they move — after all, who knows what they might find?
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