Bonds worth $114,000 found inside hope chest

Posted: 10/08/12 at 6:45 pm EDT      Last Updated: 10/08/12 at 7:01 pm EDT

MEDFORD, Mass. (WHDH) -- A Medford woman was cleaning out her house when she gave a piece of furniture to a junk removal company, but what she thought was trash -- turned out to be thousands of dollars worth of treasure.

It's been said that one man's trash is another man's treasure --but how about $114,000 worth? That's just the surprise a Medford woman got.

Leo Guarente owns a Saugus junk removal company and stopped by the woman's house last week.

"Her mom had passed away, and she wanted us to remove a bunch of items, including the hope chest,” said Guarente said.

And into the junk truck it all went -- on its way to the dump. But workers had to break everything down at the next stop because they ran out of room --and found something peculiar inside the chest.

"It was just a plain, white envelope. We opened it up, and it looked like thousand dollar bills but they were us savings bonds. They were 22,300 dollars worth of savings bonds," Guarente said.

That's $22,000 in 1972 currency. Their value today: $114,000.

Legally speaking, Durante says the bonds were his as soon as they reached this truck. But he decided to give it all back.

"I got all red and sweaty, and I was like, ‘oh, my God. What am I going to do?’ you know? I have to return these to this woman," Guarente said.

Guarente called the woman to tell her he found something -- but decided to keep exactly what it was a surprise until a meeting, caught on tape.

"Just to see the expression on her face when she almost passed out. It's like hitting the lottery. It can change your life,” Guarente said. "This is the craziest. We found confederate money, gold coins, some watches, and this tops it all.”

So at least in this case, it's garbage in, gold out.

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