Estate Sales Surprises – Don’t Throw Anything Away

Silver Coins Found In A Barn!

Don’t throw anything away:

About 3 years ago I got a call from a fiduciary in the Palo Alto area. She wanted to know if I could come out and look at the contents of an old barn. Yes there are a few old barns left in dot com ville Palo Alto. There was a small house and a barn on the property, both of which were to be demolished to make way for someone’s new dream home.

This particular fiduciary was smart; she had received marketing material from my company and had taken one of its central tenants to heart, namely “Don’t throw anything away”.

You see the barn had two rooms above it filled with boxes and boxes of “stuff”. So you are asking what kind of “stuff”? Well to the untrained eye it looked like trash; a lot of trash. So much trash that it would eventually fill a 30yrd debris box.

Here is what a normal realtor, attorney, fiduciary or heir would have done with the barns contents; throw it all away. They would think: “there’s nothing here”, “I don’t have time to sort through this mess”, “I am going to call a hauler and be done with this now”.

And who could really blame them. Upstairs in those two rooms covered in a thick layer of dust, littered with rodent feces, and cob-web streamers draping the walls and ceiling was a lot of junk. Or was it really junk? Did these two barn rooms contain any surprises?

That’s what this fiduciary wanted to know, and that is what she hired my company ( ) to find out.

So here is what happened:

My team and I started our sorting process at the entrance to these two rooms. We meticulously went through each box. The contents of the boxes revealed a lot of anecdotal history about their now deceased owners’ lives. They had been in the notions business. They liked to read. They were sentimental, and had kept many small mementos from their past. Also, one of them kept a large secret from the other. I am not sure if it was the husband or the wife that kept this secret.

The secret:

It took all day to find the secret in the last room of the two rooms above the barn. In the corner of this room overlooked until the very end, was a small 5gal galvanized garbage can with a lid on it. I went over to the corner and grabbed it thinking, here is something else to throw away. When I lifted the can from its handle, the first thing I noticed was that it was very heavy. I literally thought that it must be filled with stone. But it wasn’t stone I found when I lifted the garbage can’s lid. In the can were coins! Silver coins, which were worth a cool $10,000.00 (Value Update: The Value of This Group Of Coins In Today’s Dollars Is About $40,000.00 – $45,000.00)

It pays to hire a professional to protect your interest: the fiduciary was happy, the heirs were happy, and I was happy – after all who among us doesn’t like a surprise?

My name is Martin Codina and I am estate liquidator who likes his job.

Fine Estate Liquidation, Inc.


The Do it Yourself Estate Sales Guide

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