‘I gave up hope – then a metal detectorist messaged me’: eight readers on lost and found possessions

‘I found my books in a secondhand shop, 20 years later’
Many years ago, as a twentysomething in Dublin, I had to leave a flat I had been living in quickly, and inadvertently left behind a shelf full of books. When I went back a week later, the landlord had thrown them out. Twenty years on, I returned to Dublin with my daughter and found three of the books in a secondhand shop, with the date and my signature on them.
Karl Sweeney, financial analyst, Prague

‘I posted a drawing of my missing ring on Twitter’
I lost my wedding ring in the sea while surfing at Saunton, North Devon, in May 2021. I watched it sink to the seabed and my mates helped me to search for it, but the waves were too strong and we had to stop looking. I posted a drawing of the ring on Twitter in case, by some miracle, someone found it – but despite a few searches by kind strangers, I gave up hope. Months went by and then I had a message on 24 July – which is actually my wedding anniversary – from a metal detectorist called Mark. He had seen my Twitter post and said he had found my ring! A few weeks later, I was reunited with it.
Jenny Urquhart, artist, Bristol

‘My guitar was stolen, but we were reunited after 17 years’
In 1999, I was living in Archway, north London, and we had a break-in. Among the things that were nicked was my much-loved Univox Hi-Flier electric guitar. Seventeen years later, a friend messaged me to say he thought he’d seen it on eBay. I looked online and it was my old guitar. The listing even mentioned that the legend “Toby 2” was scratched into the back. I contacted the seller, with a copy of a very old police report of the theft, and he immediately took it off eBay and said he wanted to return it to me as it was “the right thing to do”. He had only recently found it in a pawn shop. Unbelievably, my guitar and I were reunited – but I still wonder what adventures it had during those 17 years.
Toby Macfarlaine, musician, Worthing

‘I gave up hope of receiving the artwork I’d bought’
A few years ago, I ordered an artwork from a gallery in New York. It was my first “art purchase” – a limited edition print – but it never arrived in the post; the gallery insisted they had sent it correctly. It wasn’t super expensive and as there was no tracking on the parcel, I gave up hope of ever seeing it. Four months later, I was in a pub on the Portobello Road in London when my wife noticed a carrier bag under the table. In the bag was a single item – a cardboard mailing tube, bearing my name and address. Inside was the print from the gallery in New York – a remarkable coincidence that I still can’t quite believe to this day.
Alex, entrepreneur, London

‘My wallet was returned – with the Leonard Cohen tickets safe inside’
In 1970, I was an art student and Leonard Cohen was coming to town for his first London gig. I got up early one Saturday and queued outside the Royal Albert Hall to buy two front-row tickets. Later that morning, after walking from Kensington Gardens to a busy Oxford Street, I reached into my pocket and realised, to my horror, that my wallet with the tickets in it had disappeared. In a blind panic, I went to the nearest police station – I’m not sure if I was hoping to report the loss, or find that it had been handed in. At the station, the desk sergeant asked casually what was inside the wallet and I blurted out, “Two Leonard Cohen tickets and nothing else!” To my astonishment, he gave me my wallet with the two tickets safe inside. I don’t know who handed it in, but that kind and honest act considerably strengthened my faith in humanity.
LS, London

‘A couple found my photos in the loft at my old house’
I didn’t realise I had left a box of photos from my 20s and early 30s in the loft of a house I sold in early 2000. In the intervening years, the house was sold again, and then those owners were preparing to emigrate to New Zealand. They found the box, full of memories of my university years, friends’ weddings, family events and a couple of holidays to Nepal and Thailand, in the clear out. There was also an old envelope with my name on it, so they put a shout-out on a local Facebook page. I got in touch and spent a day reliving some wonderful memories going through all my old photos.
Jacqui McKnight, school data manager, Manchester

‘Tears were shed when I realised Ping was gone’
I grew up on the Isle of Skye and, aged seven, against good advice, I took my beloved stuffed panda, Ping, with me on a day trip to the mainland on the ferry. It wasn’t until the ferry home that I realised I had mislaid him somewhere in the fishing village of Mallaig. I was distraught and many tears were shed when I realised he was gone for ever. A year or so later, I went to Mallaig again with my mum to buy something in the hardware shop. As my mum was paying, I spotted a small panda that looked like Ping sitting high on a shelf behind the till. We remarked at how nice the panda was, and the shop assistant said: “Oh yes, he’s been sitting here for months. A wee girl left him here and we’ve been looking after him ever since.” I couldn’t believe it! After verifying that it was indeed Ping (he had a telltale hole in his bum) I got to take my beloved panda home again.
Eilidh, solicitor, Edinburgh

‘A glint of silver caught my eye. It was my ring’
A few years ago, I looked at my left hand and realised my wedding band was missing. It was so strange – I never take it off and it fits snugly. I figured it would turn up somewhere around the house, but it never did and I resigned myself to having to buy a new ring at some point. Months later, on a visit to my in-laws who live halfway across the country, we borrowed their car to take a day trip. Near the end of the trip, as I buckled my baby into her car seat, a glint of silver on the back seat caught my eye. It was my ring! It was so odd – we live miles away and I truly couldn’t remember the last time we were in their car. Was it somehow caught up in my belongings all this time and only popped out in the car on that trip – despite the fact that we took two flights to get there? To this day it remains a mystery, but I’m so glad to have my ring back.
Amanda Leddy, research facilitator, Canada