(MEDFORD, Mass.) — When Marie Veloso called the junk collectors to have her late mother’s old hope chest hauled away, she was certain it contained nothing of value.
“I just wanted them to take it away. I didn’t have the key, anyway,” said Veloso, 50, of Medford, Mass., whose mother died in August 2011.
Insisting that she at least take a look inside, the men from Junk Depot used a sledge hammer to break the lock and open the chest. But Veloso still wasn’t interested. She told the men just to haul the chest away.
“I didn’t look through it thoroughly. I was in a hurry,” Veloso told ABC News.
So Veloso was in for a huge surprise when the men returned on Oct. 6 with television cameras in tow.
It turned out that Junk Depot owner Leo Guarente and his crew had found more than $22,000 worth of bonds from 1972 and 1973. Today, those bonds are worth $113,954.
“We’ve found Confederate money, gold coins, a letter from President Truman. But never anything this substantial,” said Guarente.
Guarente hopes to spin his company’s rarer finds into a reality TV show called Trash to Cash, akin to another treasure-hunting show, A&E’s Storage Wars.
Veloso had no idea when or how her mother came to possess the bonds, but plans to split the money with her brother, who is currently planning a wedding. With her half, Veloso plans to renovate her home, including new tile and new wall paper for the kitchen.
Veloso also wants everyone to know that Leo Guarente and his employees at Junk Depot have integrity.
“They could have kept it, but they didn’t,” she said. “That is a very good company. An honest company. I’m on Cloud 9. Cloud 10!”
Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio
Doug Criss, CNN
Ralph Ellis, CNN
Heather Long, CNN