METHUEN, Mass. – It's the stuff of fantasies, and Tim Crebase (search) found it buried under two feet of earth in his own backyard.
There, he and friend Barry Billcliff (search) found a box stuffed with cash and gold and silver certificates, some more than a century old. The buried treasure is worth up to $75,000, according to a coin shop owner.
"I was thinking, 'I've never seen anything like this in my life,"' Domenic Mangano, owner of Village Coin Shop in Plaistow, N.H.
Crebase said the find came three weeks ago when he and Billcliff were trying to dig up a small tree. Crebase, 23, heard a thud and saw that he'd hit a piece of wood. Another look, and he saw the wood was part of a two-foot-wide box.
He ripped the top off and found nine rusted cans that he and Billcliff, 27, cracked open to find about 1,800 bills, including more than 900 $1 bills, 200 $2 bills, and 300 $20 bills dated from 1899 to 1929. There were also piles of gold and silver certificates and scores of notes from local banks in Methuen, Haverhill, Amesbury, Newburyport and beyond.
They took the stash to Mangano's shop later that day.
"I'm a pessimist; I was waiting until I got a professional review before I jumped to any conclusions," Billcliff said. "Tim, however, was singing and dancing. He was ranting like a rabid monkey."