A man discovered a veritable hidden treasure after purchasing a chest of drawers at an estate sale. Emil Knodell acquired the marble topped walnut three-drawer dresser for only $100 after it had remained unsold for several days, intending to use the upper part in his dining room. When he loaded the piece into his truck, he discovered a secret compartment.

As reported by ABC News, Knodell, a resident of Bellville, Texas, purchases collectibles and antiques as a hobby. He went to the estate sale of a man from Missouri City, Texas, who had passed away and decided to purchase the three-drawer chest after the price had been marked down.

Knodell, 67, said, “Because it has a nice marble top, I hope to use it in my dining room.”

As Knodell and Jeff Allen, a staff member from Premiere Estate Sales Networks, went to load the chest onto his truck, the pair tipped the furniture piece on its side. As the chest was shifted, they heard the sound of metal moving.

Allen said, “As soon as we laid it down, it started making all this racket on the inside. Obviously, we were very intrigued with what was happening with the dresser.”

The furniture piece actually had a fourth drawer that was designed to resemble standard “molding on the base.” When Knodell and Allen opened it, the found the hidden treasure.

“There were rings, diamonds, gold, and all kinds of stuff,” said Allen. “It was a real adrenaline rush. Both of us were in shock for a second.”

Other discovered items included currency, a lock of hair, Civil War memorabilia, and military dog tags.

According to Allen, the chest dates back to near 1890.

Knodell stated he never intended to keep the items once the discovery was made. “I bought the chest drawers,” said Knodell. “I didn’t buy those things. 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.”

Knodell, a former Marine, and Allen immediately decided to contact the son of the deceased man, who was also the executor of the estate, to return the items.

According to Allen, the son did recall the dresser but he “had no idea there was a hidden compartment.”