Hidden Treasure in the Backyard

For 11-year-old Joshua Nardone of Hood River, a casual dig behind his house turns up a lucrative lesson in history

Joshua Nardone might look into some books on archaeology with his new Kindle.

While digging in the dirt in back of his house one day in September, Joshua, 11, made a cool discovery: a jar with clippings of 1970s magazine ads — and $300 in bills and coins.

He writes about it below — a condition given by his dad, Joe Nardone, if Joshua was to keep his trove.

Joshua doubled the value of at least one of his newfound bills. He purchased a Kindle and had funds left over for saving but he also invested in a book on vintage currency values, and found that a “Star” series 20-dollar bill in the jar is worth double that.

(Also inside, a page from a 1972 Reader’s Digest, on the topic of “impact aid.” )

Joe Nardone said the cut-out furniture ad suggests someone was saving up for a sofa — $269.95 for a “Cozy Colonial” — but how the jar came to buried in a couple of feet of dirt in their backyard is a mystery, as their West Ridge house was built nearly 30 years later.

Joshua said he had dug around in the area about 25 times, but this time he excavated in a new spot. After about five minutes’ digging, he hit something he could tell was not a rock

“In a way I think it was left for someone to find, but I’m not sure they would do that. Three-hundred dollars was worth a lot of money then.”

— Kirby Neumann-Rea


I found something really amazing. After lunch early today, I told my dad, “I’m going to go outside.”

I went to my usual spot that I go to when I am bored, “The Cave.” I was breaking rocks to make the cave bigger. Then I thought, why am I making this cave bigger? I should look for another spot to dig. I was digging in a spot where there were really loose rocks.

I started pulling them out because they were so loose. I saw something in the rocks so I pulled it out and it was a jar with another smaller jar inside it.

I ran up to the house and almost fell on the way up. I told my uncle and aunt, who were visiting, and my dad and mom. They all said to go outside and open it. Inside were newspaper clippings, pictures of furniture from magazines and . . . MONEY!? I went into the house and shouted “I found money!” My uncle said “How much?” I said “A lot.” My dad went over to the jar and found more money. There was a total of $300. My dad found a date that was written on one of the clippings it was from 1976. I think I will go back and see what else I might find.

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