Findings #1: Hidden Treasures

What tops finding buried treasure in your backyard? The story about buried treasure. For one thing, in the telling the treasure is often more valuable. Helen and Robert Haddad had heard rumors when they bought their 18th-century house in Wendell, Massachusetts: $5,000 was hidden on the property, said workmen who came to fix up the place. "They used to poke around during lunch and bring me 'clues,'" says Helen.

A few years later, the Haddads' daughter walked in with a jar that she'd found under a stone wall, not 50 feet from the house. Inside was a lace handkerchief wrapped around four $100 bills and two $2 bills. Was this the bruited $5,000, inflated through gossip? Maybe. It hardly matters, though, for nothing is better than getting to say that your little girl found treasure in her own backyard.

Except maybe finding diamonds in your attic. Rosemary Henderson was cleaning out her Tampa, Florida, house when a bag of the stones fell out of an old ironing board. "I could tell they were ¬≠real," Henderson says. The house's previous owner had hidden them years before and forgotten all about them. She was "shocked" to get them back, says Henderson. "Shocked—and grateful."

Not everyone who comes upon treasure goes in search of the story—some finds belong to the house. During one couple's renovation of their 1890 Queen Anne in Cambridge, Massachusetts, a truck knocked down an old clothesline, dragging its base and tearing a gash in the earth. Later, the husband saw a waxed paper bag lying in the dirt and opened it out of curiosity. Inside were bunches of neatly folded bills, tens and twenties totaling $800. No bill was dated later than 1952.

"That was worth a lot of money back then," says the wife. The couple looked up the currency and found it wasn't worth more than face value. "But it just proves that people really do bury money in their yard," the wife says. "And, no, we didn't dig up the rest of the yard. People always ask us that. We rototilled it and planted grass."
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