A New Jersey man excavating rubble around his home stumbled upon a mystery Friday when he accidentally discovered $1,000 in bills, all dating back to the year 1934.
Rich Gilson had used a rented mini-excavator to clear the rubble after he and his wife, Suzanne, modernized their 1920s home in Wildwood with a new foundation and addition, he said. NJ Advance Media†
While he was working, Gilson said he saw two “little round things,” perhaps 2 inches in diameter and about 3.5 inches long.
“I thought it was weed,” Gilson told NJ Advance Media. “I picked them up and just tossed them aside and they went on the pile I used to fill.”
It rained the next day, and when Gilson resumed his digging on Sunday, he could see the two objects more clearly, realizing that they were tightly coiled wads of old $10 and $20 bills, totaling about $1,000.
“I had to look at the edge and it had a green tint to it and I said, ‘This is money,'” Gilson said. began to see what it was.”
Gilson said the money was buried under the porch in an area that would have been accessed through a crawl space.
“It was also quite shallow,” Gilson said. “Somebody had to crawl under there and dig a hole in that crawl space.”
After looking at the bills, he found that they were all mysteriously dated to 1934.
“Each bill is dated 1934, Serie A, which I thought was odd,” he said. “Now if you go in your pocket and look at your bills… they’re not all from the same year. It just doesn’t work that way.”
Gilson also noted that 1934 would have been in the midst of the Great Depression, with the money in 1934 totaling up to the equivalent of over $21,000 today.
The discovery led Gilson to question whether the money had been made through legitimate means, although it is not known where the money came from.
“My feeling is that something strange has happened,” he said. “Somehow someone got new bills, rolled them up like that and put them in a jar. Someone hid it, not just under their bed or in a wall for safekeeping.”
Gilson said he hoped to learn more about where the money came from from his neighbors. He said he was told the property was once home to a brothel.
He said he plans to keep the money rather than spend it.
“The story is too good for what it’s worth,” he said.