Steinbach man finds $11,000.00 in a $5 auction junk box!

The Mennonite Enquirer story of a Manitoba man who found $11,000.00 of cash, in a box that he purchased for $5.00 at an auction sale.

May 24, 2022

“This is the stuff that you just dream about”, says Jacob Driedger. “My mumtji always wonders what I want with all the stuff that I bring home from auctions. What can I say? I’m a collector and I like stuff. Last year I found an H.W. Reimer waffle iron in a box of old horseshoes. The waffle iron turned out to be worth $75 bucks!

Driedger eventually decided to go through the box of odds and ends that he’d bought at auction.“Right on the very bottom was a 1981 Sears catalog and under that were four envelopes with, what I thought were receipts”, says Driedger. “I thought I’d come across someone’s old income tax files. Then I opened the envelopes. I thought I was going to pass out! I called my mumtji to come and have a look. Suddenly, all my previous frivolous auction purchases were forgiven” he laughs. “The total came to $11,000 dollars in one hundred dollar bills!

The obvious question is, who put $11,000 dollars in this box? The Mennonite Enquirer has learned through sources that it could be “bootleg money” from running beer between Altona and  Winkler during the prohibition years. Others speculate that it came from the proceeds of illegal cottage cheese revenue when the federal government outlawed the sale of unpasteurized farm milk.

Whatever the reason, it appears that the law sides with Driedger as to the money being lawfully his to keep. Apparently all auction sales are final and the owner of this “Mennonite Treasury” is the purchaser who bought this box for a mere $5 dollars!

Asked what he would do with the cash, Driedger replied, “You’d think I’d do something responsible, like pay off some debt or build a four season patio onto the deck of our house. But we’re not going to do that. No! My mumtji and me are going to take the honeymoon we never had. We’re going to Winkler and check into the finest hotel room available with ensuite jacuzzi and a fully stocked bar fridge and shoot the works! Finally my $5.00 auction boxes have paid off”, says Driedger.

So this advice from the Mennonite Enquirer; maybe the next auction holds your “Mennonite Treasury” of forgotten perogie money!? You just never know!

Update: This amazing event happened in August of 1985. Did the Driedgers’ have a frolicking good time with the $11,000 booty? Or did they cut back and decide to build a four-season patio instead. Our efforts to find the couple have been unsuccessful due to the fact that 37 years have passed.   The Mennonite Enquirer will continue to peruse this story and give you and update in a future edition.

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