Man Breaks Into a Safe From 1844 and Finds Spectacular Treasure

By: Ben Campbell | Last updated: Oct 31, 2023

A man recently acquired a rusty safe that dates back to 1844. Little did he know, he had just stumbled across a spectacular treasure.

After deciding to break into the safe without a locksmith, the man who has kept his identity a secret, discovered a rare cache of old coins and other valuable items.

What Could Lie Within?

When the man first stumbled across the safe, he noticed faded writing embossed on its front.

Large steel safe fitted with various combination locks

Source: Hatton Garden Properties Limited/Getty Images

It read, “Diebold Safe and Lock Co – Canton, Ohio, March 27, 1844.” After reading the writing, the man couldn’t help but question what could lie within.

The Safe’s Mysterious Origins

According to the man, the safe once sat in the offices of the Clearlake newspaper building in Clearlake, Minnesota.

Newspapers being printed on a line at a small factory

Source: Justin Sullivan/Getty Images

But what could a small newspaper own that’s of any value? Nonetheless, he decided to open the safe and see what was inside.

Jack of All Trades, Master of None

The man couldn’t wait and decided to run and buy a drill and specialized equipment that would allow him to cut right through the solid steel safe.

Heavy duty machine drill boring into steel

Source: Classic Stock/Getty Images

He began drilling into the safe’s center with a heavy-duty drill. As he drilled, it became apparent that he could be the first to see what’s inside in over a century.

Not an Easy Task

As the man continued to drill into the safe, which had two thick layers of steel wedged between 6 inches of concrete, he realized it would take some time.

A collection of coins found in a small jar

Source: Scott Gries/Getty Images

He stopped halfway through and fed a camera into the hole he had bored. What he saw was two old jars full of coins. At this point, he became even more excited and went straight back to drilling until he removed the safe’s door.

Reveal Your Secrets Safe

When he finally opened the safe door, lying within was a metal tray lined with red velvet. On top was a stack of dollar coins.

Bags of coins stored in a French warehouse

Source: Yves Forestier/Getty Images

After this, he pulled open a small drawer that held several bags of coins and a few rings. But this was just the beginning.


Mysterious Locked Box

Whoever had previously owned the safe did not trust its thick steel to protect the treasure contained within. So, they also placed a locked box within.

Blue metal box sealed with a padlock

Source: Joe Corrigan/Getty Images

The man removed the small locked box from the safe, and luckily, its keys also lay within.


A Box Within a Box

As the man opened the small empty box, he found yet another box inside. This one, however, was made of cardboard.

Collection of metal coins

Source: Classic Stock/Getty Images

Inside the cardboard box was a small piece of paper with the number 1882 written in faded ink. Under this note, he found several old coins.


Old Coins Stashed Within the Box

A cache of silver dollars and 50-cent pieces were stashed within the cardboard. As the man began removing all of the treasure from the safe, he realized it was a large hoard.

A large number of silver American coins

Source: H Armstrong Roberts Classic Stock/Getty Images

He had one jar of coins from nations around the world. Three jars full of old pennies. Two jars of quarters and nickels from 1964 and before, all of which were made from solid silver. In addition, he found Buffalo nickels, half dollars, bicentennial dollars, and Mercury dimes.


The Day Kennedy Was Killed

The coins weren’t the only items of interest, however. He also came across a collection of rare bills. One was printed in Dallas, Texas, the day President Kennedy was assassinated.

President Kennedy moments before he was assassinated in 1963

Source: Bettmann/Getty Images

The safe also contained blue seal one and red seal two dollar bills, both of which are considered rare and valuable.


Spanish Coins From 19th Century

As the man continued to look through the treasure, he discovered some foreign currency. Firstly, he came across an old Canadian two-dollar bill.

Silver Spanish coin from the 18th century

Source: Scott Gries/Getty Images

However, the best was saved for last. Hidden in the cache was an 1821 Spanish real. There were also old rings and cufflinks, all of which could be pretty valuable.


A Lifetime of Collecting

In total, the man had discovered a treasure collection that would have taken the original owner a lifetime to acquire.

A rare collection of precious metal coins

Source: Stefano Montesi Corbis/Getty Images

It’s safe to say that everyone has the chance to come across a find like this if they’re willing to forage through garage sales and old storage units from time to time.