Man is Shocked as Secret Treasure Is Found in Second-Hand $100 Dresser

The Special Estate Sale

Texas native Emil Knodell is a 67-year-old retired marketing director as well as a US veteran. On top of that, he is also a treasure hunter. When he has time available, he enjoys attending estate and yard sales seeing if he can find anything valuable.


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As luck would have it, he found himself in Missouri City, Texas at one of these estate sales. It was just an ordinary day but what he would find would be extraordinary. He was in for a great surprise. This surprise made his adventure a national sensation!

Estate Sales Around America

Estate sales are big business in America. An estate sale or estate liquidation is a sale or auction to get rid of a big portion of a previous owner who is now deceased or must get rid of their things due to a move.


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Estate sales are usually managed by professionals who get a percentage of the revenues. People can find real bargains at these sales and they are highly popular around America.

A Rare Find

Now it’s not always easy to find a really valuable antique at a very low price and Emil knew this. But, in this case, the estate sale wasn’t just a typical auction. He felt positive that day and found out that the company ‘Premier Estate Sales Network’ was running the event.


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The company had much experience in running these kinds of sales. They did their very best to make sure that everything sold at a fair price and absolutely no valuables were overlooked.

The Special Item That Emil Found

Finding Something Special

Out of all the items in the sale that day, one stood out from the rest for Emil. It was a beautiful antique wooden dresser. It was covered with a slate of marble and had three wooden drawers and it dated back to the 1890s.


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He took a look at the drawers and saw that all the drawers were empty. The dresser wasn’t anything overly ornate. Emil just had a feeling that he had to have it.

Furniture From the Late 1800s

The style of furniture of the 1800s varies widely. Politics influenced early to mid-19th-century furniture style as seen in two dominant styles, French and American Empire.

Finding Something Special

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The way the furniture of the 19th Century would have emblems and motifs carved into it. An image of a crown, bee, laurel leaves, torches, lions, trophies, mythological creatures or Egyptian themes indicates a strong confirmation that the piece is of the French Empire Style. Rose, shell, scroll and grape carvings indicate American Empire style.

What a Bargain

You see, at estate sales, you can always pick up a huge bargain, all you have to do is hunting. With enough experience, you will know which pieces to go for and which ones to leave behind.


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This is where Emil got lucky, you see he was a very experienced estate sales “hunter” who had been searching for “goodies” at estate sales for a long time. In this regard, he had a knack for what was a good bargain and what was a waste of his time, money and effort.

A real “steal”…

Such a Steal

The dresser had been placed in the estate sale for three days already and nobody wanted it. The company wanted to get rid of it as soon as possible so they really didn’t mind cutting down the price drastically.


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The antique dresser going for less that $100 was a brilliant bargain but what Emil didn’t know was that what he found in the drawers would get him back almost 150 times the price of the drawers.

What’s All That Noise?

Secret Treasure

It was only when Emil bought the dresser and actually attempted to get the drawers into his car that he suspected something was strange. The drawers just looked like an ordinary antique but so much more was to come!


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The thing was that the drawers were just too heavy for Emil to carry by himself. He asked for help loading it at the back of his truck. Soon the truth would reveal itself.

What’s All That Noise?

A Noisy Secret

It was when the men helped Emil that they realized something was strange. The dresser was just too heavy. When they put it on its side they then heard a bunch of noises coming from the drawers.


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The men had checked the dressers more than once and couldn’t find anything. People started getting curious now and started to gather around the drawers. People were now curious to know what in fact was making all the sound.

The Hidden Secret

Finding Something Extraordinary

Not able to find where the noises were coming from, the men lay the dresser on the back and found out that was what they were meant to do all along.


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Besides the three drawers, there was a plain board at the very bottom of the dresser. From the outside, it appeared to be an ordinary piece of wood, but when you turned it upside down, it was obvious that you could see a handle.

But what was inside?

Playing Hide & Seek

The amazing thing about these drawers was the fact that is that it had a secret drawer at the bottom that opens up. It was the perfect hiding place as you wouldn’t think to look there.



Just think, everyone who came before Emil didn’t even think to look properly in the drawers. Here they were now, these men and Emil, about to discover a hidden treasure that not even the seller’s own son had known about.

The Secret is Out

The Secret is Revealed

When Emil finally opened the hidden drawer, he expressed that he had a huge adrenalin rush. As the fourth drawer slowly opened, the crowd around the drawers delighted in the fact that a huge surprise was coming Emil’s way.


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As the fourth drawer opened it sparkled with gold and jewels. Everyone was in absolute shock as onlookers kicked themselves for not having purchased the item.

The secret is out

A Real Treasure Chest

Now Emil had been hunting for special antiques for a long time and his patience had finally paid off. The secret fourth draw contained not only jewels, but money from all over the world and old personal mementos. But that’s not all!



Some of the special items dated all the way back to the Civil War. These items were military medals and tog tags, even a lock of hair. Emil started to wonder how much his chest was actually worth.

So what was it worth?


Now, these items were not professionally appraised, but it was estimated that they were at least worth $15,000. So Emil not only had this, but got to keep the drawer as well which was a special antique.


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Even though the actual set of drawers dated back to 1890, it was thought that it could have dated back to the time of the Civil War.

What did Emil do?

Next On The Agenda

The big question now was what would Emil do with the antique wooden dresser and the massive treasure inside? Anyone could have just sold all of the jewels inside and kept all the money as profit. The question is – would that have been the correct thing to do?


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In Emil’s mind, he had only bought the dresser, not the secret jewels held within. The important thing that mattered to Emil was – to whom did this treasure belong?

So who kept the treasure?

Too Good To Be True

Looking at it, Emil had paid for the dresser, but not the contents within. Nevertheless, he could keep the items for himself and sell them and make a nice bunch of cash, or he could do the right thing and return it to the next of kin.



Now Emil was a good man and as a US veteran held very high morals. So, he did an amazing thing – he immediately returned all the items to the estate which was then returned the next of kin. Simply amazing!

Emil the real hero

In His Own Words

“I bought the chest [of] drawers. I didn’t buy those things,” he said. “If I kept them, I would never feel right about it. There would be a cloud over the whole thing. It’s a feeling more than anything else.


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This decision was an easy choice for Emil. He had an immensely strong sense of what was right and what was wrong and knew that giving it back was the right thing to do.

The Rightful Owner

The owner of the secret treasure was easy to find as he was the executor of the estate where the estate sale was taking place. He was exceptionally shocked to find out what was hidden in the drawer. It was right under his nose all the time.


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He said that he had seen the dresser in his grandparent’s house in Michigan in the past. He was very grateful to Emil. “I’m an old ex-Marine, and I try to do the right thing,” said Emil. Well fortunately, in this world, we have such amazing people like Emil who have such a righteous conscience. Not many people would have returned such a treasure!

Your turn to find something valuable

Now That Emil Found Something Valuable What About You?

Estate sales are great for finding really valuable things. You can pick up amazing objects that are no longer manufactured and with the right buyer you can make really good cash on the deal. But you have to be aware of what is out there.


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It’s important to know what to look for so that you don’t waste your time and you are able to find something special either to keep for yourself or to sell.

Art Prints and Paintings

Whether you like oil paintings or art prints, art offers tons of options at estate sales. With each sale, you visit comes a unique selection of art. This ranges from general favorites, like landscapes to art prints of well-known classics.


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Buying for yourself is easy but buying art to sell means purchasing to meet current demands. Stay abreast on themes most popular with collectors such as Pop Art and Mid-Century modern. Keep tabs on which painters attract the most cash.

Kitchen treasures


This field has many options. From kitchen tools you can never have enough of, like spatulas and serving spoons, to vintage saucepans, you can easily outfit an entire kitchen on a budget through estate sale shopping.


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Don’t forget the kitchen collectibles as well. Things like ice cream scoops and cookie cutters can be priced reasonably at sales. Bigger items like cast iron pans and cookie jars draw interest as well. Basically, if it belongs in a kitchen and it’s kitschy or has a nostalgic look it will probably sell.

Small Appliances

As an extension of the kitchenware category, most everyone has a stash of appliances such as gifts and impulse buys that seemed like a good idea at the time. By looking into estate sales you can find real gems and sell them off to those buyers who adore cooking.


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You might find a great small oven for baking bread or old Kenwood mixer that helps to make the most fantastic cakes. Even if they end up in your own stash of kitchen castoffs, you will save a massive amount of cash.

Literary goods to attract cash

Old Kitchen Appliances

Old Kitchen Appliances can be great too. All they need to be is in great working order and all the electricals intact. All handy small appliances from the past are valuable. But there are other things that will attract a lot of cash.


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Avid collectors of vintage electric mixers, toasters, and blenders are often on the lookout for rare models. If you can find an old kitchen appliance with an original box, it will add to the value, too, especially if it has appealing graphics from another era.


Old books can really hold a lot of value, especially first editions. Many estate sales feature huge bookcases filled with titles ranging from non-fiction coffee table books to classic novels. These can be a treasure trove for the avid reader.



You can also find a ton of children’s books which are classics. You can keep these or pass them on. A lot of coffee table books are also great and can sell for a lot as they capture the culture and trends of that time.

Want to be bedazzled?


Jewelry changes over decades and you may just find yourself something really beautiful that suits you. If not, you can always sell it and make good money off of it. Jewelry is very personal and there is always something for everyone.


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Certain pieces that you want to be on the lookout for are jewelry boxes, pearls, and costume jewelry. You may even come across diamonds and gold as well as silver. Look for special gemstones like rose quartz, amethyst, and aquamarines.

Conversation Pieces

You can have a load of fun at estate sales looking for pieces that people have collected over the years such as when they go traveling. From silver, elephant coasters picked up in Thailand to Feng Shui frogs picked up in China there are a lot of gorgeous pieces to decorate your home.


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Of course, there are many things you can sell as well such as African masks and paintings as well as sculptures. This category can be really diverse.

Finding vintage pieces

Clothes in Good Condition

Clothes are personal and often beautiful pieces like cats from the 70s are hard to find. This is where estate sales step in to offer the buyer a really good bargain. There are amazing things on offer at estate sales with regards to clothes.


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There are so many vintage pieces you can pick up from hippie dresses to specific pedal pusher pants and bellbottoms. You can really pick up something special.

Hats & Shoes

Hats are very unique and there are certain period pieces like that of the 20s and berets from France as well as bowling hats that are lovely. Headgear is a special piece you can add to any outfit to stand out from the crowd.

Hats & Shoes

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Shoes can cost a mint. That’s why you can find really unique pieces at estate sales such as Manolo Blahniks and Christian Louboutins (look for the red bottoms) that would otherwise cost you thousands of dollars.

What about the men?


There are really stunning bags that you can pick up at estate sales as well that come from different periods. Bags from the 20s and 50s will be beaded and bags from the 70s will have tassels.


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Special names that you should be on the lookout for are Burkin, Louis Vuitton, Michael Kors, Yves Saint Laurent, Chanel, Prada as well as Fendi. Not only will they be a great accessory to any outfit but they will sell for a grand price.


Now, we have been speaking so much about what attracts women, what about bargains at estate sales for men? Well, let’s look at the obvious – tools. Men love to be handy, right? There are things like power tools and more.


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There are vintage tools to be collected and well as collected and displayed. If deciding to sell these bargains have a power strip nearby so you can show people what they can do!

Heading out into the woods

Camping Gear

You can have a lot of fun searching for things to take into the wild. New gear is really pricey so if you can find that old hat with an attached headlight, you’re in for a treat. You just need to know what you’re looking for.


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If you have pictures of anything you are looking for, such as tents, bring it with (simply open up google on your mobile device) and show the people holding the estate sale.


Why decorate your home when you can find truly special pieces to make your home exhibit a lot of character. This is why estate sales are such a great place to find beautiful pieces of furniture just like Emil found.


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There are many different styles you will find from the Victorian age to Renaissance furniture as well as Art Deco and Baroque.

Looking for the right furniture

Different Kind of Furniture to Look Out For

There are many different pieces of furniture you should keep an eye out for such as chairs. With chairs, you get such a stunning variety such as wingbacks, Queen Anne chairs, Victorian-inspired chairs and more.

Different Kind of Furniture to Look Out For

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Other chairs you can keep a look out for are Chaise Longue, Corner chairs, Gondola chairs, Morris chairs, Hitchcock chairs and more.

Dining Sets

Dining sets are a really important feature in any home as they connect the family. It is the family center. Your dining set can tell a lot about the home. Sturdy, antique dining sets mirror a family of tradition that enjoys sitting down with the family to eat.


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Along with dining sets comes gorgeous silver cutlery, crystal and china that is often pulled out of the closet only for special occasions.

Finding a good night’s sleep


Good night sleep is what everybody needs to function well in the world. Saying that you can have great mattresses with gorgeous, ornate designed bases. It may even have pin cushioned designs at the back to rest against.

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The bed may also be decked out like a bed you would find Persian Palace, with pillars where you can place curtains. If you can find an antique consider yourself lucky.

Exercise Equipment

Ok, so we’ve all seen those machines on TV promising to burn up all of our fat but when we actually buy it we’re just not in the mood to use it. Well, that’s why estate sales come in so handy. There are hundreds, if not thousands, of people ready to buy anything to slim themselves down.


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Popular exercise equipment that people are often on the lookout for are treadmills, ellipticals, weights, special weight bands, yoga mats, and Pilates balls as well as basketballs.

Making serious cash from sports heroes

Sports Collectables

Some people really love sports. Well, some is actually an understatement. People are known to collect cards. Cards that were purchased in the 90’s say of basketball favorites “The Bulls” with Michael Jordan and Scottie Pippen will sell for a big amount.


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Also, any sports equipment that has signatures on them from actual sports stars – such as baseball bats and balls are serious treasures you want to hold on to for the right buyer.

How to Find the Best Estate Sales

There is a great website called “Estate Sales America” which really helps you find the best estate sales across America. They specialize in fine estates and come with 16 years’ experience in the business and are certified, appraisers.



Other options are to look on “craigslist” and other classified ads you would find online. A great way is by also searching “Google” and social media sites such as “Facebook” to see if there are any sales in your area.

Setting up your own estate sale

What if You Need an Estate Sale?

Now, on the other end, if you are the one needing the estate sale, you can easily turn to the National Estate Sales Association, “Nesa” for short. They have great services where they will help you look for a company to help you.



If you do not want a company and want to do it all by yourself, they give you a summary guide to the pros and cons of conducting your own estate sale.

Have Fun

Remember, don’t stress yourself out at estate sales. Sometimes it will be great to bring the whole family and see what other family members like. They may see gems you overlook.


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It’s also important to keep a budget in mind so that you don’t go over your limit. You may even want to save so that you can buy something very special. Remember to also get to estate sales early as you know the saying “the early bird catches the worm”.