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Photos found in antique furniture from thrift shop to be returned to family

May 3 (UPI) -- A New York woman who bought a 120-year-old wash stand from a thrift store found a trove of decades-old family photos inside the furniture piece and was able to connect with the owners on social media.

Robin Bell, a Buffalo woman who regularly buys furniture from thrift stores and estate sales to restore and resell, said she recently purchased an antique wooden wash stand from Jennifer's Warehouse Emporium in Buffalo.

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Bell said she brought the piece, which she estimated to be about 120 years old, into her home last week to begin the cleaning and restoration process.

"We opened the cupboard and there were all these family photos," Bell told the Buffalo News. "And I just sat there and I said, 'I can't throw these out.' Because, you know, prior to Facebook and digital cameras, unless you have the negatives, they're never going to be seen again."

The photos, which appeared to be from the 1970s and 1980s, included a framed wedding photo, high school pictures and a photo that appeared to show multiple generations of a family at a gathering.

Bell posted pictures of her discovery to Facebook, asking followers to share them in the hopes of finding the family.

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Bell said a couple of initial leads turned out to be dead-ends, but she later heard from a woman who recognized a friend's relatives in the photos. That message led to her being contacted by a woman who identified herself in one of the high school photos.

"That was her graduation picture. And she's a young married woman now. And she wants those photos back," Bell said.

The woman offered to pay postage for the photos to be returned, but Bell said she was planning to hand-deliver them this week.

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