A ”handful of change” discovered in a tool box was found to be a collection of rare coins – which fetched £30,000 at auction.
The historic currency remained untouched inside the rusting steel container after the owner died in the 1990s.
His son later opened his tool box and found the money – including gold sovereigns from the reigns of Queen Victoria and King George V and an 1887 Victorian five pound coin.
The rare collection fetched double its £15,000 estimate after attracting bids from as far afield as Hong Kong, Russia, Australia and the US.
The Victorian coin alone was sold for £1,600, while a 1947 Mexican 50 pesos gold coin raised £1,050.
Auctioneer Paul Keen, of Plymouth Auction Rooms in Devon, said: “It was not until our client finally opened his father’s tool box, which had been kept under lock and key for several years, that he discovered how extensive his father’s coin collection was.
“He was delighted there was an awful lot of interest from bidders locally and across the world.”