He brought the coins home, and checked them in a coin collecting book. He discovered they were worth a couple of hundred dollars. He immediately took them back to her and said they were worth a lot of money and wanted to return them. She said she didn't care, and that he could keep them.
My brother collected for many years after that, well into adulthood, and mentioned a couple of times that he'd built up a good-sized collection worth a bit of money.
Sadly, my brother later passed away in another state. His personal effects were sent back to my parents, including his coin collection. But my father was always convinced that some of my brother's more valuable things had been stolen after he died by people who knew him. He did have some sketchy friends.
After my parents passed, I inherited some of my brother's effects, including his coin collection. Hundreds of coins, in books, plastic sleeves, envelopes, a metal box. I'd put it in storage, and did nothing with it for more than a decade.
Having a little time to spare today, I got a coin book and sat down going through the oldest coins (I was enough of a collector myself to know that the more recent coins that made up the bulk of the collection were not worth a great deal.)
There were some nice one, some from the early 1800s even, but nothing exceptional.
After getting through the older coins, it was pretty clear this collection was not worth as much as I'd thought, or as my brother had suggested.
Could some of the more valuable coins had been stolen as my father had suspected? Perhaps. Or my brother may have sold some off over the years. Or maybe he just overestimated the value.
Ah well, no significant retirement savings boost.
But the sentimental value is still there.
I wonder if any of these coins were ones the elderly neighbor had given him? That would be nice - a bit of continuity from our youth.
Pax et bonum