January 22nd, 2021

Hidden treasures uncovered — donated items often come with unexpected surprises

By Lethbridge Herald on June 2, 2015.

Melissa Villeneuve
Lethbridge Herald
What’s the value in a used book? Sometimes a lot more than the sticker price.
   Some unusual items have been dropping out from between the yellowed pages of books donated for the 12 Months of Giving campaign. Over the last four years, campaign organizer Ellie Peters has held a book sale every couple months, with proceeds donated to local charities.
The books sell for a dollar or less, but occasionally customers get a lot more than they bargained for.
A few years ago, one customer found a “Gone with the Wind” first edition.
“I talked to John at Big John’s bookstore and he said that would have gone for over $500,” said Peters. “We do come across a lot of first editions, a lot of rare books that people say ‘oh my gosh, do you know what we have here?’”
In one of the latest finds, two 8-by-11-inch photographs, depicting two seperate generations of a family, fell out from between a hardcover book.
“Somebody out there doesn’t know these pictures were in this book,” said Peters, who hopes to find the rightful owner.
Other unique finds include currency from foreign countries, and stories written within the story.
“One particular book, whoever owned it was visiting somewhere in Europe, and in the back cover she wrote her own story about reading this book where she was,” said Peters.
“There’s just so many little treasures we find. We find heirloom tickets and passports. We found IDs, student passes, inscriptions that you wonder why they donated the book, because some of the inscriptions are really quite heartwarming.”
12 Months of Giving began with three companies, Ellie Peters of Elite Mortgage Corporation and Realty Executives Devonshire, together with Centre Village Mall. Since its inception, it has grown to include eight businesses on the committee.
“The reason I started it was to help people,” said Peters. “To help organizations and groups that don’t normally have a big voice out there, and are doing great work, but the people don’t know about them.”
They do different activities to raise funds, including artwork and bake sales. At Centre Village Mall there is a location where people can donate items such as clothing, shoes, bedding, or non-perishable food.
Right now they are in need of childrens summer clothing. Donations also help the local schools, homeless shelters and YWCA Harbour House.  
Peters said the community has been “very, very generous.”
As for the three-day book sales, “It’s more like a treasure hunt, you never know what you’re going to find.”
For more information on volunteering or to donate, contact Ellie Peters at 403-308-9110.

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