Friday, June 1, 2012

Valuables Left Behind Walls

This bookcase has hidden shelves in which one must know the secret in order to access.  If you had this, would someone in your family know ?  (Photo:

       I have been meaning to mention this to all of your for some time.  A friend of ours used to work for a company which dismantles old homes and then sells the salvaged doors, stained glass windows, wood floors, etc.  A number of times, his crews have had to stop working because they have discovered valuables hidden in walls, sometimes from a very long time ago.  When this happens, our friend's company stops all work, and the owner must come down to remove the articles before they continue with the dismantling of the home. If this were rare, it might be amusing, but it happens far too often.

              Robert Spann was a man who lived in a Phoenix Arizona suburb and who died in 2001.  He apparently did not trust banks and he placed over $500,000 worth of gold, bonds, cash and other items in the walls of his home.  After he died, his daughters sold the home as is, and new owners discovered the cache.  The police seized these assets leaving the courts to decide who the rightful owner is. Judge Maurice Portley found this week that the assets were the property of Mr. Spann's heirs.   I know of other cases where the police did not step in, and the new owners enjoyed the objects found in the walls.
             This raises a very important question for you.  If you have hidden a safe or two, or had a secret room or hiding place constructed within your home, have you told anyone ?  If you and your wife pass, how would your children know about these areas.  How would you tell them, and how would you direct them to such a treasure ?   Don't forget that elderly people, and not-so-elderly people, often forget what they have hidden or what arrangements they made prior in terms asset management and estate decisions.

This is designed to hide long guns and other valuables.  (Photo:
   Their website:

         There are wonderful commercial concealment safes.  There are lower tech hiding places which even a moderately gifted carpenter may construct, but please be careful to leave a treasure map for your loved ones.  For many of us, the reason we strive hard to survive natural disasters is that we wish to care for our families and pass our family heirlooms and valuables on to them.  If they don't know about them, they may never receive them.   Please consider this part of your concealment plans for just a moment or two.

This is a hidden drawer below a bookcase   (Picture and item: