Somewhere in New Jersey, USA, a couple were digging in their front yard. They were removing the dirt to make place for a concrete driveway.

As the man was digging, his spade hit and broke something in the ground. He pulled out a piece of glass.

Always Get to the Root of the Problem!

First he thought it was just a beer bottle, but when he looked closer he found out that it was a big glass jar. Inside that jar there were two big rolls, which looked like old roots, so he threw them aside. Later, one of those “roots” broke open, and a dollar note came out.

So, those “old roots” were actually rolls of dollar notes. They were wrapped in burlap to stay protected in the ground.

Each roll had $1,000 in it. All together, there was $2,000 in 10 and 20-dollar notes. These dollar notes were from 1934. The previous owner of the house hid them in the ground during the Great Depression era.

The man’s wife said that $2,000 in 1934 was worth what $40,000 is worth today. But maybe she did not get her numbers right.

1934 Dollar Was Tied to Gold

In 1933, the US dollar was devalued against gold from $20.67 to $35.00 per troy ounce (=31.1035 gram) of gold. In USA, People couldn’t own gold coins after 1933, only dollar bank notes. But the notes were tied to gold at $35 per ounce.

So, $2,000 in 1934, was the same as 57 ounces of gold. Today, you can buy 1 ounce of gold at $1750. It means that the dollars from the jar would be worth about $100,000. But no one will give them gold for those notes anymore, because in 1973 USA went off the gold standard.

It is bad luck for the couple that the previous owner of the house did not hide his dollars two years earlier, when people could own gold coins. Now they would have real gold in their hands, not just paper notes.

remove /rɪˈmuːv/ – odobrať, odstrániť

concrete /ˈkɒŋkriːt/ – betón

driveway /ˈdraɪvweɪ/ – príjazdová cesta (tesne pred domom)

spade /speɪd/ – rýľ

root /ruːt/ – koreň

aside /əˈsaɪd/ – bokom

note /nəʊt/ – tu: bankovka; (AmE = bill)

wrap /ræp/ – obaliť

burlap /ˈbɜːlæp/ – vrecovina

previous /ˈpriːviəs/ – predchádzjúci, predošlý

owner /ˈəʊnə(r)/ – vlastník

worth /wɜːθ/ – hodnota, cena

to be worth $10mať hodnotu $10

devalue /ˌdiːˈvæljuː/ – devalvovať, znížiť hodnotu peňazí

against /əˈɡenst/ – oproti, proti