The hidden treasure buried in one New Jersey lawn has revealed a home’s dark past.
A Garden State couple unearthed about $1,000 in cash while excavating the backyard of their 1920s cottage this past weekend.
Suzanne and Richard Gilson have been renovating their home since they bought the Wildwood property around four years ago, elevating the house, adding a new foundation and an addition.
Richard was using a mini excavator Saturday, working to remove rocks from the yard, when he came across two cylindrical objects, each measuring about 2-inches wide and 3.5-inches long.
Initially thinking they were weeds, he threw the clumps to the side and continued to work, forgetting about them until he returned to excavating the next day.
Upon closer inspection, Gilson realized the “weeds” were actually tightly wound wads of old $10 and $20 bills, which came to about $1,000 — the equivalent of burying around $20,000 today.
“I got to look at the edge and it had a green tint to it and I said, ‘This is money,’ ” Gilson told NJ Advance Media, comparing them to “little mini-cigars all bound up together.”
“As I broke it apart, I started to see what it was,” recalled the homeowner, who later realized that the cash had been buried in an area only accessible via crawlspace during that time, and inside of large jars, which he’d crushed during excavation.
Gilson noted that every bill was printed in 1934 — something he flagged as suspicious.
“If you go in your pocket right now and look at your bills … they’re not all the same year. It just doesn’t happen that way,” he said.
“Somehow, somebody got new bills, rolled them up like that, put them in a jar,” he added. “Somebody was hiding it, not just under their bed or in a wall for safe keeping.”
After asking his neighbors who had lived nearby for generations, he was told some have speculated that the property was a brothel many years ago.
Richard told the New Jersey outlet that he plans on keeping the money intact because of the history and story it represents.
“Generally, you find stuff [when renovating], but nothing quite like this,” he said.