Massachusetts man finds and returns long-lost $127K

Massachusetts Man Finds $100,000 Hidden in Old Desk Bought at Auction
Massachusetts Man Finds $100,000 Hidden in Old Desk Bought at Auction

HOLBROOK, Mass. -- When Phil LeClerc, of Weymouth, found an envelope filled with a long-lost portion of one family's savings, he was originally searching for something else: a missing knob.

The knob belonged to LeClerc's latest purchase, a $40 Governor Winthrop secretary desk. The piece of furniture is fairly common, Marg-E Kelley said, adding that the desks pass through the doors of Kelley Auctions "all the time."

This particular desk had come to the Holbrook auction house when Kelley Auctions was hired to clean out and sell the furniture from a local home, according to The Enterprise.

The man who hired the company had been taking care of his 94-year-old father, and decided to sell his father's home to help pay for the assisted-living facility the elderly man was moving into.

Although they are a common item, Governor Winthrop desks have developed a reputation over the years for hiding long-forgotten items in the secret drawers and compartments that fill the desks.

However, when LeClerc found an envelope containing over $127,000 in matured bonds he wasn't looking for hidden items. Instead, he was searching for a missing knob that had fallen into a space between desktop and the drawers.

"I banged the desk forward and when the knob came out the envelope dropped," LeClerc said. "The first thing I saw was a $500 bond."

Upon realizing the value of his discovery, LeClerc, who has been visiting Kelley Auctions since the business opened in 2004, contacted the auction house to try to return them to the original family.

"The family had been looking for them for years," Kelley said.

The family that owns the bonds requested that their name not be used.

"He was so happy. It could not have happened to a nicer guy," Kelley said, about the man who had hired the auction company.

"We love stories like this. It's why we do what we do," she added.

LeClerc said that he was happy the bonds could be returned to their rightful owner.

"It was a great find," he said. "It was even better after hearing the story of the family."

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