The last thing demolition workers thought they’d come across while digging through an abandoned house was treasure. But that’s exactly what they found. A team of city workers in St. Cloud, Florida, made the discovery of a lifetime when they found 30 pounds of silver coins inside the home of an apparent hoarder.
The small bungalow had been abandoned and severely neglected to the point of being a safety hazard. As a result, the homeowner was fined extensively, and the government eventually seized the house. The homeowner owed more than $500,000 for trash removal and other fines. After seizing the home, St. Cloud officials decided it was worth less than it would cost to fix, and so they scheduled the home for demolition. St. Cloud Police chief Pete Gauntlett spoke about the condition of the house.
“Not only was it unsafe, but it was also abandoned with numerous code violations, including vehicle abandonment, high grass, lack of property maintenance, unsafe trees, pests and loose metal that posed a danger, especially during stormy days,” Gauntlett explained.
It took hours of sorting before the coins were uncovered because the house was stuffed to the gills with debris. As more and more Ball jars filled with coins were discovered, workers couldn’t help but get excited. St. Cloud city employee Melissa Howes spoke about the find.
“It was like a treasure hunt … the more you dug, the more you found,” Howes stated.
The house was actually demolished back in April. But the city decided to wait until now to divulge the details of the find to the public. Since going public, the story has become a nationwide sensation. But now that the coins have been discovered, who gets them? The owner who abandoned the property, Lamarr LoMax Lowe, recently showed up to ask about the coins. He was informed that he still owed far more to the city than the property auctioned for.
After receiving some flak for their seizure of the coins, the city announced that all of the money obtained from selling the coins would go to charity! The entire hoard consists of 2,082 silver coins with dates ranging from 1917 to 1964—meaning they have a high silver content. City officials say they’ll have the coins appraised and sold for their weight in silver or as collectibles, depending on which method would realize the most money. The spokesperson for the city, Sandra Ramirez, promises that the coins will “benefit the community as a whole.”
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