Shopper looks for rightful owner after finding priceless treasures hidden in holiday card box

A treasure hunter rummaging through a Salvation Army store comes across the holiday card find of a lifetime!

Every few weeks, Art Masaoka peruses through the aisles of Salvation Army stores looking for hidden treasures.

Two weeks ago in Costa Mesa, he stumbled onto something priceless...this time, by accident, inside a box of holiday cards.

"It looked like a brand new package but still, somehow some way the box was open to allow the contents to be in there," said Masaoka.

The cards inside read "May all your warmest memories come to life again."

And just like fate, with them, were memories.

Pictures.. with faded cursive notes: Denver Colorado 1948, Amarillo Texas 1949.
Four pictures from the 1940's, taken soon after World War II.

"I recognized a couple of those pictures- the backdrop reflected something from Coney Island with a smiley face and those kinds of things," said Masaoka.

He took a close look at the handwritten notes behind them....and at the stash of foreign currency left behind.

That's right, a stack of bills stashed inside that same box of Christmas cards.

"Unfortunately the address didn't lead me anywhere or the names or the dates. It didn't tie me into any family name of any sort," said Masaoka.

He turned to Craigslist.

Within days, he's been inundated with people reaching out. But he thinks they only wanted the cash.

"Because they didn't jive because it wasn't American US dollars and the pictures didn't reflect the location they were describing," said Masaoka.

Now, he's hoping FOX 11 can help.

He's cryptic about how much money was hidden inside.

But believes the true owner will know the right amount and hold the key to the mystery of the Christmas card box.

He hopes to soon share everything with them, including his own memories from a time long ago.
"Reminiscent of the good ol days back in the 40's and 50's when people were innocent and there were so many things to do," said Masaoka.

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