Texas man discovers hidden treasure in estate sale chest

(Premier Estate Sales)



Estimated read time: 2-3 minutes

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MISSOURI CITY, Texas — Blackbeard would be jealous.

When a Texas man purchased a chest — on clearance — at an estate sale, he thought he’d simply scored a great piece of furniture for his dining room. Before he could even load it into his truck, he discovered the chest had a valuable secret buried in its drawers.

Emil Knodell — a retired marketing director — has made a hobby out of treasure hunting at antique and estate sales, according to Click2Houston.

“I always come to a sale with an open mind because you never know,” Knodell told Click2Houston. “It’s always good to come at the half-price time because then the big fun starts.”

He spotted the 1890 marble-topped dresser — which had been marked down to $100 — and knew it would be right for his home.

When he and an estate sale assistant went to lift the heavy chest into his truck, they both noticed the sound of metal clanking around in the bottom drawer.

“It sounded like a metallic waterfall,” Knodell said.

Upon further inspection, the chest’s secret was revealed.


There were rings, diamonds, gold and all kinds of stuff. It was a real adrenaline rush. Both of us were in shock for a second.

–Jeff Allen, Premiere Estate Sales


“When you look at the front of it, it looks like it has three obvious drawers with molding on the base,” Knodell told ABC News. “But the bottom has a secret drawer that opens up.”

When the men opened the drawer, they found — quite literally — buried treasure.

“There were rings, diamonds, gold and all kinds of stuff,” Jeff Allen, with Premiere Estate Sales, told ABC News. “It was a real adrenaline rush. Both of us were in shock for a second.”

Also in the drawer: silver coins, rubies, emeralds, a lock of hair, and Civil War memorabilia.

Knodell is not of pirate stock, however. He immediately set out to track down the chest’s original owner.

“There was never a question of anyone keeping it,” he said. “I bought the chest drawers. I didn’t buy those things. If I kept them, I would never feel right about it.”

The estate’s executor turned out to be the son of the man who owned the chest, according to ABC News.

“He remembers that dresser in a house in Michigan when he was a little child,” said Allen. “He had no idea there was a hidden compartment.”

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Jessica Ivins

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