A Weymouth man got a lot more than he expected from an auction when he discovered more than $125,000 in bonds hidden inside an old desk.
“First I said, ‘Oh, this can’t be real. This doesn’t happen,’” said 60-year-old Phillip LeClerc.“You hear about it, but it’s not too often that it happens.”
LeClerc bought the desk, known as a Governor Winthrop desk, at an auction run by Kelley Auctions on Nov. 19 for $40. It came from a home in Randolph, after a man taking care of his 94-year-old father decided to sell his father’s house. Kelley Auctions was hired to clear out and sell the furniture in the house.
LeClerc quickly called Marg-e Kelley, president of the auction company, to get the bonds back to the owner.
“I’ve been doing this for 10 years and every day the stories get stranger and better and [more] fabulous,” Kelley said. “The gentleman whose family the bonds belong to, he can’t even believe it. He said, ‘I’m over the moon.’”
The family that owns the bonds requested they not be contacted or named.
LeClerc was moving the desk, which has a slanted top that opens out to form the desktop, when a knob from a small, inner drawer fell off. As he looked for the knob, he noticed an envelope poking out from a small gap beneath the drawer.
“The first piece I saw was $500 and that was enough to shake me up,” LeClerc said. In total, he and his wife found a stack of bonds, including six worth $10,000, all of which matured in 1992 — and have since been collecting interest.
LeClerc estimated the bonds, in total, were worth at least $127,000.
“It was really a fluke that it was found. If I wasn’t looking for the knob … I never would have found it,” LeClerc said. “I think it’s probably going to make a big difference” for the family.
Kelley said the family had been searching for the bonds “for years.”
LeClerc planned to drop the bonds off with Kelley at an auction Wednesday evening. Kelley said she would then return the bonds to the family.
“It just feels good. We’ve done a couple of good things like that — we keep finding things for people that are unbelievable,” Kelley said.
“That for me is the magic in what we do.”
Kiera Blessing can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.