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Florida silver coins found in house: Demolition crew jostles for stash in walls

Silver coins in the walls of house being demolished in Florida, found by workers.
Silver coins in the walls of house being demolished in Florida, found by workers.Wikimedia Commons

Long forgotten silver coins were found in a Florida house as a demolition crew was taking down the walls. Over 60 pounds of silver was stored in old pickle jars stuck inside the walls. The sound of the coins pouring out of the smashed jars in the walls first alerted workers to this treasure, according to the Orlando Sentinel on Aug. 8.

The condemned home is in a neighborhood near the shores of East Lake Tohopekaliga in an area that was once saturated with Civil War veterans. The house last belonged to a man who was a Walt Disney World employee and he purchased the home for $39,000 in 1991.

The house was abandoned last year after the owner was living there for months without water or electricity. The last owner, Lamarr LoMax Lowe, left owing the city $551,500 in code-enforcement liens as the daily fines were assessed for the last 10 years at $250 a day.

According to the New York Daily News today the house in St. Cloud was long overdue for a demolition job. The city said it was time for the house to come down and that is what the crew of workmen were doing when the sound of coins pouring out of the now broken jars interrupted their work. It sounded like coins falling out of a slot machine at a casino, said one of the workers.

It was like every man for themselves and everyone was going under the old adage of “finders keepers.” That wasn’t the case as it turns out, the money belonged to the city and that is where it went. The police held on to the loot to see if anyone would come forward to claim it, as it was probably in the wall before the last owner brought the house.

It is not clear where the money came from, but the coins were all silver, which included 861 half dollars, 1016 quarter, 202 dimes and three nickels. The dates on the coins ranged from 1917 to 1965. This is where it gets a bit confusing as Police Chief Peter Gauntlet surmised that these coins may have been put in the walls during the Great Depression when people didn’t trust banks.

That doesn’t seem to be possible since the coins dates reflect years up until 1965. The Depression was during the time of 1929 to 1931, which is long before those 1965 coins were minted. The bungalow home was built in 1915.

The police have the coins in their possession and they are having the coins assessed. They want to make sure there aren’t any expensive coins that a collector would be interested in among the bunch before turning the coins into paper cash at auction.

It is not known if they will get more than face value of the coins selling them by weight for the price of silver today, but either way the city keeps the loot once they auction off the coins. While the coins that were discovered went to the police department, Melissa Howes of city code enforcement believes there are more coins.

She said she seriously believes some of the coins already were shipped to the dump in the other walls that were taken down. Howes said “I’m not kidding.” This sounds like a recipe for a rush on the dump by locals who hear about the silver that may or may not be at the dump today!