Leo Guarente, owner of the Junk Depot in Saugus, Massachusetts, and his crew were cleaning out Maria Velosa's late mother's Medford home when he came across an envelope filled with U.S savings bonds in a hope chest.
The 21 bonds were purchased for $1,000 each in 1972.
"All of a sudden, there was this envelope, and I looked in it, and it said thousand-dollar bonds on them," Guarente told WCVB. "Today's interest value, it's $113,954, almost $114,000 that we found for this lady that would've went to the dump if we didn't look and find it."
Guarente notified Velosa that he had found something of note in the hope chest, but waited until they could meet in person to reveal the small fortune.
"I was nervous. I knew I was going to change this woman's life for the better," Guarente told CBS Boston. "It warms my heart to know that I helped someone."
Velosa admits she was shocked and overwhelmed at the discovery of the bonds that belonged to her mother, Rose Maria, who passed away in August.
"This is a gift of heaven from Ma," Veloso said.
"Just to see the expression on her face when she almost passed out. It's like hitting the lottery. It can change your life," Guarente told WHDH. "This is the craziest. We found confederate money, gold coins, some watches, and this tops it all."
Guarente's find was lucky for him, too. He was filming the pilot for a show being pitched to A&E, titled "From Trash to Cash," on the day he found the savings bonds.