Millions of Lire Found in eBay Chest

An Italian woman is celebrating after being told she could convert 15 million lire into euros. The Italian currency notes were found stashed in a secret compartment, inside a second-hand chest of draws she bought on the online auction site, eBay. Viola Colombo, from Vercelli in Piedmont, brought the chest draws for her home in Venice in September, after paying a few euros for it. The 50-year-old was shocked to find a hidden “false-bottom” compartment under one of the drawers. She was even more shocked when she found 15 million lire, in 100,000 lire notes, hidden within the secret chamber. The sum amounts to $8,405 in today’s money. Given its worth, Colombo went to Italy’s central bank, Banca d’Italia and tried to exchange it. The bank refused to convert the cash, explaining that Italy had established a ten-year time limit, for the exchange of lire into euros and that the time frame had expired on December 6, 2011. Not wanting to give up on her unexpected windfall, Colombo appealed to the constitutional court earlier this month and was told that she would be allowed to convert her stash of lire to modern money, thanks to a temporary re-opening of the lire exchange window. Not exactly like the Powerball Lottery, but still a nice payday for Viola!

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