Following the Clues: Finding Hidden Treasure in an Old Farmhouse

By: Lilli Keeve | Last updated: Feb 23, 2022

Eric, the principal character in this story, inherited his grandparents’ house. It had been nearly 20 years since his grandparents moved out, and between that time and the moment we’re picking up Eric’s story, the old farmhouse had sat alone and unoccupied.

Eric was a bit hesitant to visit the property at first because the house was bound to elicit a cloud of nostalgia that could quickly overwhelm him. However, after putting it off for weeks, Eric decided it was time to pay a visit and give the house a thorough cleaning. Little did he know that he was about to make a life-changing discovery.

On the Quiet

Eric checked out the house in general and made a quick mental calculation of how much work would be needed to restore it. This was an important step that had to be done before he could list the property for buyers in the Tennessee area.

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The cleaning process felt like flipping through an old photo album. Every nook and cranny brought on another rush of memories about time spent with his grandparents. Many were blurry and fragmentary, rickety from long-term disuse, just like the creaking farmhouse floors.

Painfully Abandoned

Eric wandered around the front and backyard to view the old farmhouse from multiple angles. He was trying to estimate the present value of the house and determine how much he could sell it for after making all the improvements.

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It was difficult to come up with a reasonable guess, though, because the house had been abandoned for over 20 years. His grandparents decided to leave in 1997, and the reason behind this move will be understandable to many elderly folks and their families.

Reason for Leaving

The farmhouse was an ideal place for his grandparents to live. They felt at ease in their quaint little home surrounded by open space. This all changed, however, when Eric’s grandfather was diagnosed with a life-threatening case of lung cancer.

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Out of concern for his safety, they decided to leave their farmhouse and move closer to the hospital he attended for treatment. When Eric’s grandfather finally succumbed to the illness, Eric’s father and grandmother slowly cut their emotional ties to the farmhouse.

More Deaths

Eric’s grandmother’s health slowly deteriorated following her husband’s passing. She followed him not so long after. It seemed like the grim reaper was following Eric’s family with morbid curiosity because shortly after his grandmother died, his father became sick. He died in 2009.

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Eric was now the legal heir to the Tennessee farmhouse that had sat idle for so long. Too many painful memories haunted the place, so Eric kept postponing his planned visits. Eventually, however, he decided it was time to go.

Moving On

The logical thing for him to do was to move on by selling the farm. Not only did the house require a lot of work to be done, but the maintenance costs would be too much for him to handle. This wasn’t something he felt he was equipped to do.

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Eric thought long and hard about what it would take to make the house ready for the real estate market. There was a lot of planning to do, so he knew he had to start as soon as possible.

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Taking the First Step

After coming to terms with what he had to do, Eric took the first concrete step towards his aim of selling the property: a thorough cleaning. He climbed up the ceiling and crawled under dark recesses to scrub off decades of accumulated dirt.

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He needed to restore the house to a certain standard, so it would be inviting to potential buyers. During the work, however, he was constantly reminded of his grandparent’s kind nature and of how much he missed them.

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Stevenson’s Treasure Island

While working on restoring the house, Eric began to reminisce about the times his grandfather read Robert Louis Stevenson’s “Treasure Island” to him. This memory provoked a sense of nostalgia for his childhood and a desire for the kind of adventures enjoyed by the characters in the book.

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It also reminded Eric that his grandfather used to be a sailor and had a love for treasure – which might have been the reason why he chose Stevenson’s book. All this inner chatter about pirates and buried treasures piqued Eric’s interest as he cleaned.

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Acting on a Hunch

Eric couldn’t figure out the source of it, but he felt a curious sense of excitement while cleaning his grandparents’ farmhouse. That curious feeling eventually grew into a hunch – his grandparents must have kept a secret in their home, he thought.

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Was he being silly? It did no harm for him to be a bit playful. If he was going to clean up an old home, he might as well make it enjoyable. He went on a mission to discover the secrets of the farmhouse, starting with the closets.

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Standing on It

As Eric searched through the closets, he found that they were just like the rest of the home – filled with dust, odd smells, and creaky floorboards. However, the last closet had an out-of-place section of carpet on the floor.

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Although the closet still smelled and was filled with dust, the floorboards didn’t squeak as he walked over them. For some reason, this floor was more solid than the rickety planks of wood that made up the rest of the house.

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Something Unusual

Eric’s heart pounded as he started to suspect something unusual was lurking beneath the floorboards. He told himself it was probably nothing, but he pulled up the carpet just to make sure. Like a child playing detective, he was following every lead – perhaps as a way to fight off the boredom of cleaning.

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Beneath the carpet, he found a concrete floor. Why would his grandparents only install concrete here and then deliberately hide it? It didn’t make sense to Eric at all.

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Solid Cover

The concrete, however, didn’t take up the entire floor. As you can see from the picture below, it took up less than half the closet – the rest was filled in by wooden floorboards. A bent-up piece of copper was laid on top. When Eric tried to move it with his hands, it wouldn’t budge an inch.

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Eric wondered if it was some kind of trapdoor meant to protect something important beneath. His inner child brimmed with excitement as he imagined the possible purposes of this strange door.

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More Detective Work

Eric wanted to wave away his thoughts as utter nonsense. Part of him considered that he might have been watching too many adventure movies. However, another part kept nagging – why would his grandparents go through all this effort to install a piece of concrete?

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The circle in the middle of the slab could be a means to open it. Eric thought of ways that he could destroy it, but what if this were a safe or a vault, and the only way to unlock the thing was through a secret code?

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Preplanned Concealment

The more he thought about the mysterious slab of concrete, the more interested he became in his grandparents and their lives. They were known to collect antiques and artifacts, so it wasn’t out of the question that they might hide some of them under their beloved farmhouse.

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Eric needed to get past the locked concrete first. Only then would he know what to do next. He wished his father were still alive so that he could shed light on the matter – but he wasn’t, so it was all up to Eric now.

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A Little Research

Eric thought about ways to learn more information about the past. Were there any old newspaper articles or town records that could give a clue as to what this buried box might be? His mind was racked with uncertainty.

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He decided to turn to his mother for advice. Upon calling her on the phone, she told Eric that his grandparents also had a vault in their house in Florida. That was a reassuring sign. Mom was able to give Eric a lot more information than he expected.

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Figuring Out the Code

This mysterious slab of concrete was starting to make more sense. Eric was certain it held some fascinating secrets. Was this a game intended for him to play, preplanned decades ago? His father had never mentioned anything about a vault when he was still around, but Eric’s mother believed that he could still provide a clue.

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She told Eric to key in his father’s birth date to open the safe. She thought of other possible combinations but believed this was probably their best shot.

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Trying to Open the Safe

Eric ran back to the cabinet and followed his mother’s instructions. The birth date of his father failed to open the safe, and so did his father’s social security number. When the third attempt came around, Eric was in for a surprise.

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He couldn’t even get the handle to move. He tried to force it, but it was unyielding. Nothing he did worked, so it was time to ask for help. His mind immediately went to calling in a professional locksmith. That would surely help.

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The Waiting Game

Eric didn’t have the skills to crack a safe, and it irked him that he was left helpless and alone in the old farmhouse. A locksmith from town was what he needed, but just as he was about to call, he had another realization – it was Sunday.

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He wouldn’t be able to get a professional to come to look at it for another day, at least. This was going to be a waiting game for Eric, and it nearly drove him nuts having to wait for Monday to make his next move.

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Undaunted by the Challenge

When Monday rolled around, Eric was in high spirits. He eagerly called the locksmith and anxiously waited for him to arrive at the farmhouse. Once there, Eric showed him to the closet with the concrete box and stepped aside – trusting the specialist’s skills.

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However, the sealed concrete and metal proved harder to crack than they had initially thought. This was going to be a long day for both of them, but they persevered. It was a test that they embraced and found themselves wholly committed to overcoming.

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A Tough Endeavor

Both men managed to stay positive and not be overwhelmed by the difficult situation at hand. At some point, the locksmith might have thought it impossible to break into, but he refused to be discouraged. They both took it one step at a time.

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Soon, they felt their chances of success gradually increasing. The concrete at the surface began to chip away and reveal something beneath. Their hands were hard at work, and the two men must have felt like farmers planting seeds in a rough landscape.

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Security Breach

A gap in the middle of the concrete was revealed to be the key to unlocking the safe. They frantically worked on it as if it were a magical revelation that was gently fading away, soon to be out of their reach.

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Eric keyed in the combination suggested by his mother, and it worked. He was in disbelief. He forgot about the task that had originally brought him there (cleaning up the house) and allowed himself to be consumed by this new mystery.

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The Contents

After the safe was unlocked, they opened the latch. Inside, it was like a black hole, and Eric’s mind raced to make sense out of the darkness. Was this indeed a treasure box that his grandparents had cleverly stashed away for posterity?

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All he could see at first were a bunch of square blue blocks. They looked like old books or medal boxes, but there was a chance that they contained his grandparents’ collectibles. It seemed unlikely that they would create an elaborate box just for some old magazines and knick-knacks.

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No Treasure Chest

He reached inside the safe to investigate the boxes. They were far from the glittering gemstones, sparkling diamonds, and gold bars that he had been imagining while they were working on the safe. Eric was disappointed when all he saw were old books and boxes.

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On top of that, some of the boxes were empty and brittle. He managed to find a few coins, but they were no longer legal tender. Regardless, he studied the articles to satisfy his curiosity.

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A Damaged Book

He sighed and picked up an item on top of the heap. It seemed to be some kind of book. The cover was discolored – a reminder of the flood that had ravaged the farmhouse a few years back – and the surface was partially damaged. Otherwise, it was in surprisingly good condition.

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What secrets did the book contain? Eric was about to break it open, but then the other items distracted him – there were so many mysteries to solve!

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Extraordinary Items

It took a moment for Eric to realize that he was now in possession of some extraordinary items. He allowed the book to fall open in his hands, and there, staring up at him, lay a collection of old coins. Heart racing, Eric knew he’d found something valuable – this was a genuine treasure trove!

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It wasn’t only inside the book that he found the coins – they were scattered throughout plenty of other boxes. As Eric opened more of them, he found banknotes as well. However, many had been damaged by the flood. 

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More Valuables Inside

Eric removed the soggy bills only to find more underneath. The safe seemed full of old money! He placed the banknotes close to the window in hopes that the sun’s rays would gradually dry them up, so he could salvage as much of it as possible.

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He was glad his grandparents had carefully secured the old money in the safe. As soon as the dampness was gone, Eric planned on slowly separating out the bills.

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Prized Possession

Eric was careful not to cause further damage to the damp dollar bills, so he took time in spreading them out to dry on the floor. To his surprise, there was so much more in the safe than he had expected. A small assemblage of rare coins was now growing into a larger pile.

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He ran some quick calculations in his head, estimating that the silver coins he gathered must be worth thousands of dollars – and there were still more valuables that needed to be unearthed. He felt like he’d stumbled upon a goldmine.

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The Mother Lode

From the dollar bills to the stack of rare coins, every discovery gave Eric the feeling of being inside a mine shaft and following its twists and turns to the mother lode. Could all these pieces be worth as much as he thought?

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Next, he came upon the silver bars pictured above. He’d never seen anything like that before and assumed (correctly) that the dates on the memorabilia were when the states were founded. These items had to be of great historical interest.

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Mint Condition

Eric couldn’t believe his hunch about hidden treasure had been so on point. Following that instinct led him to this cache of rare artifacts that his grandparents had secreted away. The excitement only grew as Eric dug deeper and uncovered more valuable artifacts.

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The large coin in the photo above was one of many, and nearly all of them were well-preserved inside special casings. They shone when Eric opened their boxes. It was as if they had just been polished by his grandfather earlier that day.

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Remarkable Discoveries

Examining all the various items kept in the safe gave Eric a chance to celebrate both his family’s history and their intellectual interests. Opening each box provided an enlightening experience for him that brightened his day.

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As he was digging through the safe, he found a strange toolbox-shaped case and brought it to the surface to get a closer look. Its surface had been oxidizing for years, and that resulted in rust. Luckily, he was able to pry it open.

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Jewelry Box

This had to be one of the ugliest boxes that Eric found inside the old house – it was rusty and filled with mold. However, its contents made Eric’s heart swell – this ugly, decaying case held his grandmother’s most precious jewels.

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If he had found nothing else inside the safe but these heirlooms, Eric would have been satisfied; his troubles would have been worth it, and his curiosity would have been satiated. He took a moment to view his discovery and imagine the necklace dangling from his grandma’s neck.

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Age-Old Furniture

Eric’s grandparents must have had the time of their lives in this farmhouse. They gave in to their whims like mischievous children and set about burying artifacts, jewels, and silver bars. He was thankful that the remnants of their treasure hunting were still around.

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What if more treasure was waiting to be found elsewhere in the house? Eric searched for clues in all corners of the building, keeping an eye out for trapdoors and hidden passageways. Eventually, he found a wooden table in the basement.

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Another Collection Discovered

Still bemused by his recent discovery, Eric decided to take a second look at the wooden table he’d found earlier. The first time around, he thought it was just a crate. However, on close examination, he realized there was far more to it. Eric was astounded at what he discovered when he pried it open.

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The table also had a secret safe inside it! These two successive discoveries were almost too much to handle. Could it be that his grandparents had more hidden treasures to share?

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A Box of Curios

Eric’s grandparents had lived an ostensibly simple life on the outskirts of town, yet for years they were stashing away rare artifacts and antiques of considerable historical value. What inspired them to accumulate so much stuff?

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After opening the second safe, Eric found that it contained similar items to the first one – old-looking boxes, books, and coins. Banknotes and coins were clearly of considerable importance to Eric’s grandparents.

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Striking It Lucky

Eric needed a professional assessment to determine the value of his findings – it was no use trying to do it on his own. The old coins were sure to fetch a high price, but the real prize was the rare bills found in the second safe.

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These bore the signature of John Barr, a man who only served for a month as the Secretary of the Treasury. Issued in 1968, any collector would be delighted to have these in their possession for a price far exceeding its face value.

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Breaking the News

Once Eric had uncovered all the valuable items his grandparents hid at their farmhouse, he set himself the task of figuring out precisely what it was all worth. The biggest question on his mind was what to do with all these precious things.

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He posted his experience on Reddit, attached relevant photographs, and sought out information from those in the know. He was still in utter disbelief about everything that had transpired since he arrived to clean the house.

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More Consultation

The story caught the attention of many Reddit users, but none of them were able to give Eric sufficient knowledge regarding his discoveries. At times, he was left with more questions than answers. He knew he had to do a little more digging to ascertain their monetary worth.

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Eric wanted to understand why these things meant so much to his grandparents. Somebody suggested that he pay a visit to the Bureau of Engraving and Printing to get more information about the old coins and notes.

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Appraisal Time

Eric became preoccupied with seeking out information about his family’s old treasures. His grandparents went through so much trouble to protect all these items, and he wanted to understand why. He hoped the answers would make him feel closer to them.

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The old coins were silver, which meant they would fetch a far higher price than their face value. Though they were worth a lot, they had a priceless history attached to them. He would be selling a piece of his family’s history if he parted with them.

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Financial Equivalent

A coin collector befriended Eric on social media. He explained that the coins Eric had found in the safe would have more value to collectors than coins that had not been protected with such a high degree of care.

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At this stage, the rare coins and notes still need to be studied in more detail. This will involve taking into account how they were produced as well as their historical significance. Eric continues to be delighted by the support he’s receiving. The mysterious treasures his grandparents left behind offered an experience he’ll never forget.

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