With 120 locations in 19 states, Half Price Books has become more than your run-of-the-mill reader’s paradise. Though the beloved new and used bookstore started with humble beginnings in what was once an old laundromat in Dallas, Texas, it has secured its place in page-turning history as a destination for those who seek a bit of adventure. With more than 50 years of buying and selling used books under our belt, we’ve managed to find more than a good story hidden behind the pages of some of our merchandise. Here’s a look at some of the unexpected items found among the stacks over the years.
A store manager got a little more than she bargained for while shelving books in the Political Science section. Tucked in a corner covered by biographical books about Ronald Reagan and Franklin Delano Roosevelt, she stumbled upon a few hidden teeth.
HPB’s assistant manager found $800 tucked inside of a copy of Reader’s Digest that was on its way to the store’s donation bin. Thankfully, he was able to get in touch with the customer who recently sold the book, and the money was returned.
A store manager found a wedding announcement bookmark for customers John & Tara in a book that featured an original poem with the following shoutout to their favorite bookstore:
“They always loved each other, they just had never met
Until they got some help from their friend, the internet.
But they found out very quickly they loved something much more,
From the second they first met, in that Half Price Books store.”
A customer purchased a copy of Norman Rockwell’s America and upon flipping through a few pages, they noticed that something had been stuck inside—a fully matured $10,000 savings bond! After doing a bit of digging, the customer discovered that the book’s previous owner had placed the bond there for safekeeping, but had passed away in 2002, leaving the bond’s whereabouts unknown. Thankfully, the customer was able to get in touch with the second person listed on the bond and learned that the matured savings of nearly $20,000 would go to good use, as the recipient had been unhoused for several years.
A bookseller happened to be in the Parenting section pulling books for an online order when she noticed a childhood history journal. Noticing the care with which the book had been completed (including personal photos and memories), she asked the store’s assistant manager if she could help locate the owner. After some detective work on social media, they were able to track down the mother, who expressed immense gratitude at having her cherished memories returned.