What if we told you that beneath your floorboards could lay an unimaginable fortune?
For this Reyes family, their wildest dreams came true.
John Reyes, a Southern Californian real estate agent, found himself on an unexpected treasure hunt when he stumbled upon a roll of pennies while cleaning out the basement of his late father-in-law’s house in Los Angeles.
The property had been passed down to Reyes’s wife and her siblings, and over the course of a year, they gradually cleared out the belongings accumulated over five decades. However, they had deliberately avoided the basement until Reyes decided to explore it last summer after his wife’s brother finally decided to move out.
What began with a single roll of pennies soon turned into a money trail, leading him to several boxes, banking bags, and even plastic milk cartons, filled to the brim with pennies. Although the exact count remains unknown, Reyes estimates there are slightly over 800,000.
What’s even crazier is that this unexpected discovery took place in a house that had been in Reyes’s wife’s family for nearly half a century. After all the time being there, they had no idea that a treasure like this was just beneath their feet. It was only when it became time to clean out the house and embark on future development plans did they make their discovery.
Amidst the cleaning process, Reyes said that a running joke had emerged among the family members about who would tackle the basement. Apparently, given the neglected state of the basement, nobody wanted to go down there.
Who knew what kind of creepy crawlies or angry spirits might be lurking down there?
Finally, the day came, and equipped with protective suits, Reyes and his wife’s cousin decided to venture down the rickety stairs. The pair uncovered a range of unique items in the house’s abyss, all while cleaning underneath the dirty floorboards and crawl spaces. However, it was the industrial-grade rolled-up carpet concealing the pennies that was the most shocking find.
The pennies, which up until that point had been preserved in bank bags, were made up of a mix of coins sourced from different times.
As for why they were stashed there, Reyes and his family said they suspected that Fritz intentionally hid the pennies beneath the house so that his children would stumble upon them later down the line.
But why pennies?
Well, they also suspect his reasonings date back to 1982 when the U.S. Mint modified the composition of pennies due to the rising cost of copper. The standard 95% copper and 5% zinc alloy were replaced with a thin layer of copper and mostly zinc.
When Fritz learned about the change, he made it his mission to hoard the original pennies, as he thought they might be more valuable.
Though the family was shocked at the discovery, they also noted that Fritz’s hints over the years about the secret beneath the house became apparent in hindsight. For many years, he urged his children to be patient until the time came to clean out the house.
When Reyes reached out to a nearby Wells Fargo Bank branch to deposit the pennies, they were unable to accommodate his haul. Luckily for the family, another branch expressed interest once they realized the extent of Reyes’s discovery.
However, people who were close to the family said they should analyze each of the pennies to find out if any were worth more than face value. With so many rare coin collectors out there, it was possible that in the mix was a million-dollar coin.
“We didn’t have any idea what we needed to look for to determine the value of each coin,” noted Reyes.
Of course, the family also realized the challenge of identifying rare and valuable coins among 800,000 or more distinct pieces, so instead, they decided to sell the pennies to collectors and experts.
The moment local news stations picked up the story, offers began flooding in. As of now, Reyes is in discussions with a potential buyer who has offered $25,000 for the entire collection, more than three times the face value.