A working staff at the Hope Chest Thrift Store in Brunswick County in the US is on an investigation to return a 150-year-old marriage certificate the store found to its rightful owner, or rather kin of the certificate owners. It all started when a Thrift store employee Pan Phelps was cleaning an old antique print where she discovered a certificate hidden inside the frame.
According to the sources, the frame includes an 1889 print that features a little girl putting flowers in a black dog’s collar, but beneath the frame she found a hidden file folder contains a marriage certificate.
The marriage certificate was issued to a New Jersey couple – William and Katey in Bordentown, NJ. The date of the vows mentioned as April 11, 1875,
After knowing this, Karmen Smith, who is the executive director of Hope Harbor Home, a charity that runs the thrift shop, said that it is difficult to trace the last name on the faded certificate, however, the thrift store employees are hoping to find the living relatives of the certificate. Smith later shared this news on her social media page requesting everyone to search for the family so that it can be returned to whom it belongs.
Karmen on her Facebook post calling this a true treasure’ and felt that the ‘the story of the stowaway marriage certificate got lost in the generations that followed it’. She said she hopes to bring back the style of storytelling through this age-old finding.
In a somewhat similar incident, a 250 year old ring containing human hair was shown on the British TV show Antiques Roadshow. The mourning ring was taken out for valuation by the Antiques Roadshow team. According to the engraving on the ring, it belonged to someone named Anne Gratton in 1787. It was brought to the show because the current owner no longer felt comfortable keeping it in their possession and wanted the ring to be returned to the rightful owners.
Yet another incident of lost treasure traced was reported when a New York resident Mary Jo Orzech, tracked down the owner of a high school graduation ring from 1955. Orzech found the ring in her father’s dresser at her parent’s house in Pennsylvania after they had passed away. When she came across the ring that belonged to someone from the class of 1955 of Lackawanna High School, she decided to find the owner and return it to them.