In The News

  • Million Dollar Mattress

    Million Dollar Mattress

    Thursday, June 11th, 2009

    An Israeli woman is searching through landfills after accidentally tossing her mother-in-law.s mattress that contained $1 million life savings!

    The woman, identified only as Anat in the press, decided on Monday to buy her mother-in-law a new mattress as a surprise present. For full effect, she removed the old mattress and threw it out without telling the older woman.

    When the woman informed her of what she had done, Anat immediately tried to retrieve the money, but trash collectors had already come and gone. Anat has since gone to three different landfills, with no luck.

    She is currently searching through a fourth one, and the dump manager has said his staff is doing everything they can to help her. But with 2,500 tons of garbage coming in every day, it is unlikely it will ever be found. The manager has increased security at the site to deter looters from attempting to steal the money.

  • $400,000 in 1930s-era bills found in derelict deli

    Brendan Fuss & currency expert Brian Grant Duff

    Brendan Fuss, left, found the initial stash of 70-year-old bills in a derelict Vancouver deli. Currency expert Brian Grant Duff, right, talks about the value of old banknotes.

    Updated Fri. Jul. 11 2008 11:29 AM ET News Staff

    Junk haulers in Vancouver got quite a surprise while clearing out the apartment above a derelict deli -- turning up close to $1,000 in bills dating back to the 1930s.

    The cash, found hidden under a rug, was only a small fraction of the treasure that was stashed in the building.

    Shortly afterwards, the caretaker for the building found a paper bag stuffed with $400,000 in dusty bills, also dating back 70 years. By today's standards, the Depression-era nest egg would be worth an estimated $50 million.

    Brendan Fuss, who was working on the 1-800-Got-Junk crew that found the initial $1,000, said the discovery was unexpected.

    The crew was cleaning out the apartment after the death of the former owner.

    "It was a little bit of a surprise for sure," Fuss told CTV's Canada AM on Friday.

    "You don't usually think that you're going to find anything much of value after everybody has sort of been through the building and you think you're just going to find carpeting and such. But yeah, all of a sudden a lot of money is showing up and it definitely sparks interest pretty fast."

    Though others might have been tempted to quietly slip the cash into a pocket for safekeeping, Duff said the thought never crossed his mind.

    "Not really, especially considering the age of the money. It wasn't just fifties, it was multiple hundreds of dollar bills from decades ago, more than 50 years ago, 60, 70 years ago. And just because of the uniqueness of the money it wasn't even really a thought to hang onto it. It was more just a thrill to even find it."

    The east Vancouver building, which housed a closed-down deli called the Lido, has now been sold, and the current owners know little about the previous owner, a woman named Margaret Rothweiler who died in February.

    She had lived in the building since the 1940s and ran the business with her husband for several years. However, the shop had not been opened in recent memory.

    Current co-owner of the building Jonathan Kerridge and his business partner have imagined all kinds of scenarios about where the money may have come from: bank robberies, bootlegging, Nazi war criminals.

    However, one of Rothweiler's relatives suggested the answer is probably much less sinister.

    "Margaret knew how to hold on to a buck,'' Jack Rothweiler, Margaret's nephew, told CTV British Columbia. "That's a family trait. I've got some squirreled away too."

    Currency expert Brian Grant Duff told Canada AM the value of the bills to coin collectors will depend on their condition, serial numbers and the signature on the notes.

  • Stash Of Money In Woman's Wall Spurs Bizarre Legal Case

    (CBS) Amanda Reece had planned on sinking money into her nearly 90-year-old house, not pulling money out.

    "It was more of a fixer-upper than I thought," Reece told CBS News correspondent Cynthia Bowers.

    So, imagine her surprise when her contractor, Bob Kitts, called to say he'd found a hidden treasure- inside the bathroom wall.

    "I open up one of the envelopes, tear open the corner and there's a $50 bill. I thought I was going to pass out," Kitts said.

    "It was one of the most unbelievable things that's ever happened in my life," Reece said.

    The total? One hundred and eighty-two thousand dollars, many of them rare bills dating from 1929, worth an estimated half-million dollars.

    Money apparently socked away by the man who built the home - and died without a will or heirs.

    In May of 2006, the two celebrated their incredible luck, but the party didn't last long.

    Reece says she offered Kitts a 10 percent finder's fee. He says she offered to split it and then backed out.

    Now the two speak only through their attorneys.

    Citing an arcane law more commonly associated with sunken treasure found on the high seas than buried treasure in a suburban neighborhood, Kitts is claiming "finders keepers," and saying he's entitled to a much larger chunk.

    "It is rarely used, but it must be on the books for a reason," Kitts said.

    Reece's attorney's likens the law to a weird bar exam question.

    "That may work in kindergarten, but it won't work now," said John Chambers, Reece's Attorney.

    Eighteen months later, the money is in a safe deposit box, her bathroom is still in a shambles, and Amanda Reece just wants it all to be over.

    "I honestly hope and I believe, that the law and common sense will comingle," Reece said.

    Just how this buried treasure is divvied up could well be up to a judge. In the meantime, the only people getting a share of the windfall now are the attorneys.

  • Another Brick In The Wall

    Submitted By JUSTIN BARFIELD ( Florida )

    Justin Barfield © 2008

    Brendan Fuss & currency expert Brian Grant Duff

    The family had located a considerable amount of caches after the man's demise but knew there was more and had exhausted all possibilities short of tearing out the walls and floors. A listing contract to sell the house and land was pending with a local Real Estate company and they wanted to be sure nothing of value was left on the table. The house was old, with wooden floors and wallpaper on some of the walls and a huge fireplace at each end of the house. Two sets of stairs went up to the second floor and the place also had a small attic and a shallow basement or cellar.

    I did do some poking around and one of the bricks was quite loose. It didn't take me but a little wiggle back and forth to remove it and another beside of it to reveal a small void with what looked like a silver coffee cup nestled neatly inside.

  • Walls Yield Treasure of old collectible coins

    Jeff Bidelman already was dragging a huge bag of old coins when he noticed a hole in the wall of a dilapidated Windber home.

    The woman said when she was a kid, there were always rumours that that's where they threw money, Bidelman said at his business, Rare Collectibles, in The Galleria in Richland Township.

    Within minutes, Bidelman and the former resident's daughter discovered that the rumours were true. Bidelman found himself literally wading in old, valuable coins.

    Brendan Fuss & currency expert Brian Grant Duff

    They think they are going to get (at least) $100,000, Bidelman said. I think they will probably get $200,000.

    The home had been unoccupied for almost 20 years, and the former family members who were living there have died, Bidelman explained. Their children asked Bidelman to look through the home for items of value.

    I was upstairs digging around, Bidelman said. I found a whole pile of coins.

    Scooping them into a plastic bag, he had to drag the heavy load and was starting downstairs when he noticed a hole in the wall.

    You don't just have a hole in the wall, he said.

    He asked the late owners daughter to explain the hole, and she recalled the family rumours from her youth.

    Bidelman quickly found the first-floor wall below the hole and began tapping near the floor. It sounded solid.

    When I got to about teeth level, I heard, chink, chink, he said.

    Bidelman opened the wall and the coins rushed out, ballooning under pressure.

    Coins that have been sorted so far date from 1826 through 1964 and include large cents and seated Liberty dimes.

    The coins have been removed from the old house and placed in secure locations.

    So far, Bidelman has sorted and cataloged coins with a face value of about $8,500. Value to collectors will be much more, Bidelman said, adding he is already putting some items on the popular Internet auction site eBay.

    There were several large cent coins, which were minted from 1793 to 1857. The face value is one cent, but Bidelman expects to get at least $20 each.

    The family asked Bidelman not to identify them or the location of the home, especially after reading recent news reports of a woman who allegedly tried to burglarize a Windber home while the family was attending a funeral.

  • Gold Mason

    Brendan Fuss & currency expert Brian Grant Duff

    About 600 royal coins gold and silver dating Louis XIII to Louis XV were discovered on Wednesday by a mason who worked in an ancient house of Montrichard (Loir-et-Cher, France), as it was learnt on Monday by the police. 215 golden coins and 374 silver coins, of a total weight of 5 kilos, very well preserved, are in the course of expertise. Some coins could reacheach several thousand of euros.

    While digging a trench in a classified house ancient memorial in the course of restoration the mason found a jar in stoneware containing coins. The building, which is in full city center, dates the second half of the XVth century. The mason, who believed at the beginning to have digged iron slices, decided to bring his discovery to the gendarmerie.

    The treasure will be shared, according to the law, between the mason and the owner of the house, an investor installed in Paris.
    (source : 7sur7)
    Nice – France

  • Painting By Rockwell Was hidden Inside A Wall…

    A Norman Rockwell painting found hidden in the wall of a home in Sandgate, Vermont, just east of Salem in Washington County, sold at auction at Sotheby's in New York for $15.4 million, a record price for a Rockwell work.

    The New York Times reported that the sale occurred in late November and that the painting had been discovered last spring in the residence of a cartoonist named Don Trachte, Jr., who drew the comic strip, "Henry" about a baldheaded boy.

    After Mr. Trachte died, said The Times, his sons, Dave and Don, Jr., were going through their father's house when one of them spied what The Times termed "a strange gap" in a paneled wall.

    The brothers "gave it a shove, and the wall suddenly slid open to reveal" the painting, said The Times.

    The painting "Breaking Home Times," done by Rockwell in 1954, depicts a plainly dressed man waiting with his son in suit who is leaving for college. A dog rests its chin on the boy's lap.

    The elder Mr. Trachte reportedly bought the painting for $900 in 1960.

    It served as a cover for the The Saturday Evening Post and was voted the second most popular cover in the magazine's history, after a Rockwell work called "Saying Grace,"

    The Times said.

    It had been thought that the original painting was on display at the Norman Rockwell Museum in the Stockbridge, Mass., said The Times- but it turns out that was only a copy.

    The assumption now is that Mr. Trachte painted the copy of "Breaking Home Ties" and hid the original.

    Why? The Times said Mr. Trachte and his wife were estranged, then divorced. Their sons guess their father wanted to assure that his ex-wife never got possession of the original.

    The sons sold the original at Sotheby's, which made a digital image of the painting available for publication in The Chronicle.

    The $15.4 million sale far exceeded Sotheby's projected price of $4 to $6 million.

    The previous record price paid for a Norman Rockwell painting was $9.2 million for a work called "Homecoming Marine," said The Times.

    The Sotheby's auction that sold "Breaking Home Ties" also sold for $26.8 million a 1955 Edward Hopper painting, "Hotel Window," that was owned by the comedian Steve Martin, said The Times.

    Sandgate, Vermont, is situated midway between Salem, NY and Manchester, VT, about six miles from each.

    From the Chronicle…

  • Men Find $80,000 Treasure In Home…

    Andy Van Veghel ran his hands through the dresser drawer and pull out some clothes.

    Some would end up in the dumpster outside. Some would go to goodwill.

    Then he noticed the envelope, in it were $20 bills and $10 bills, totaling almost $300. That's not an unusual occurrence for someone who's in the real estate and auction service business, and Van Veghel continued to go through the belongings of the Green Bay suburban home.

    But what happen minutes later was unusual. Tom Scharenbrach, who was cleaning out a bedroom across the hall, found an old pick n' Save grocery bag that contained more the $50,000. Behind a sofa were purses that held more cash. And In the garage was a metal box with $25,000 in cash.

    The home belonged to an elderly woman who died earlier this year. "Most of the money was still in the brown envelopes from the Department of the treasury" said Van Veghel, noting they were probably tax refunds. "But none of the bills were later then 1985."

    This isn't the first time that Van Veghel has found $125,000 in a home on Oneida street in Green Bay. That money was turned over to the estate of the deceased, just as this $80,000 plus will be.

    We can't tell you much about the woman who stashed the money, as the executers of her estate have asked that neither she nor the location of her home be identified for security reasons.

    But we know this. She grew up during the Great Depression of the 1930s. when banks didn't seem as safe as the space between the mattress and box spring. It was also a generation that valued saving over spending because there was usually precious little to save.

    We know this woman spent much of her final years sitting in a chair between the kitchen and living room, almost if she was guarding her riches. Her chair legs wore a hole through the carpet where she sat.

    But we also know that the woman was reluctant to turn up the heat in her house, apparently for fear that she couldn't afford it. "It's a self-esteem issue," said Dr. James Benton, associate dean of social sciences division at St. Norbert Collage.

    "It was very common trait for women who stayed home to have their own stash, money on the side. On the farm, they did it by raising turkeys or gathering eggs but it means they didn't have to ask their husbands for money. It was a form of security and power. Usually this money was semi-hidden. Others in the house knew were it was, but no one touched it.

    So what happens to the money? It becomes part of the deceased woman's estate. If her only heirs are on medical assistance, the money will probably go back to the government.

    But you have to wonder how many other stuffed mattresses are out there.

    The Press-Gazette.