James Munford was checking out the built-in drawers in his closet last month, when he found two cases holding 46 gold Liberty $ 5 coins and 18 Morgan silver dollars that were made in the 1800s.
“They looked real old, like they were really worth a lot of money,” Munford said.
Munford and his wife, Clarrisa, are both retired from the Army and closed on the Columbia home in mid-October.
He texted pictures of the coins to the home’s former owner and made arrangements to return them.
“I was just thinking, you know, they’re not mine. They’re probably a family heirloom, so I’m gonna go ahead and make sure he gets them back,” Munford said.
“We really didn’t know anything about the value of the coins. We really didn’t care, to be honest with you, we knew they were his,” said Clarrisa Munford, who runs a catering business.
The home’s previous owner, who asked not to be named, estimated that the coins were worth about $ 25,000.
He said he’d put the containers in the back of his sock drawer a few months ago for safe keeping and didn’t see it in his rush to get packed up and moved out of the house. The rest of his coin collection was in his safe.
He didn’t realize the coins were missing until the Munfords contacted him and said he never would have known if they had decided to sell the coins and keep the money for themselves.
“He just thanked me because he said there’s not too many honest people out there” who would have done that, said James Munford.
The Munfords are still unpacking and their furniture just arrived last week, so they haven’t had a chance to see if there are any other surprises.
“When he came to pick it up and we were talking, he said there’s ‘no telling what else you might find in the house,'” James Munford said.