$22k in bonds found in recycling bin

Savingsbonnnn Mike Rodgers of Blue Grass Recycling in Burlington, Kentucky was sorting through yet another bin when he happened upon almost two dozen US Savings Bonds, ranging from $50 to $500 each. Purchased in 1971 under the name Martha Dobbins, the bonds were now worth $22,000. Rodgers hit the Internet and the phone to track down the owner of the bin, which could have been sitting in the warehouse for years. Eventually, he tracked down Dobbins's son Robert Roberts in Florida. From Cincinnati.com:
“I was totally surprised,” Roberts said. “I had taken care of my mother for several years before she died and she never mentioned anything about any bonds..."

It’s not clear exactly how the bonds wound up in the container, but most likely the person who bought Martha Dobbins’ home (when she died in 1992) dumped them in with scraps that ultimately wound up at the recycling center.

Roberts, who is 82, said he tried to compensate Rodgers, but Rodgers turned him down.

"Recycling bin yields Christmas surprise" (Thanks, Charles Pescovitz!)


  1. Cue the Bing Crosby: ‘Buy, Buy Bonds’!

    Very honorable of the recycling fellow to not even accept a gratuity. . .

  2. Series E! W0000000000T!

    There’s a reason they don’t sell Series E any more….

    Hint: The US moved from the gold standard to the petrodollar under Richard Milhous Nixon. Discuss.

  3. Let’s see… I’m counting $4250 in total face value, which means a $2125 purchase price. 900% return over 40 years, which is about 5.5% annually. Too bad you can’t get Savings Bonds with rates like that anymore.

  4. I’d like Blue Grass Recycling to handle my recycling needs. Do you guys work in Oregon? :) Way to go Mike Rodgers of Blue Grass Recycling!

  5. Holy Cow. I guess I’d be nice enough to turn the Bonds in to their rightful owner, but there’s no way I’d say no to a “Thank You” gift from him. That guy must be filled with Nice. To the brim.

  6. The other side of Mr. Rodgers not accepting a thank you gift is probably HR policies that forbid acceptance of gifts over a certain dollar amount.

    Sorry for the sour grapes. I work somewhere that considers rescuing something from the trash (of no monetary value on the open market) to be fraud. This includes things we have to pay to have hauled away such as palets, wire spindles and cardboard boxes.

  7. I know such an email would not have passed my spam filter. ‘Dear Mr. Roberts – this email may come as a surprise to you, but I recently found documents belonging to your departed mother, so could you please send me your address so that I can transfer the $ at no cost to you…?’

  8. “Hey, Mr. Roberts! I found $22k worth of your mother’s old savings bonds.”
    “Sweet! When can I pick them up?”
    “Well, you can come any time to pick up your $15k in bonds, or I can mail them to you.”
    “Oh, I’d love you to mail them. Here’s my address.”
    “Great. I’ll get the $5k in bonds in the mail post-haste!”
    “Thanks. Can I offer you anything as a reward?”
    “Nope. Just the thought of returning $500 to the rightful owner is reward enough.”

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