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Dunedin couple Dharama and Romeni Sena discovered two boxes of letters, envelopes, postcard covers and stamps among their belongings while unpacking at their Highcliff Rd home.
The couple had relocated to Dunedin with daughter Anuja from Rotorua in May last year.
They moved into a house in Roslyn, leaving most of their belongings in boxes in their garage.
It was not until they moved house in December and unpacked that they made the discovery.
''Nothing was missing. All [our boxes] had been labelled properly and accordingly, apart from these two,'' Mr Sena said.
Mrs Sena found two boxes which had the family name hand-written on them and at first they believed they might have belonged to their daughter, but when they opened them they were filled with thousands of stamps, postcard covers, envelopes and letters.
''It was a shock to me because none of us collects stamps,'' he said.
He had checked the value of some of the stamps on online auction sites and they were worth $4 or $5 each and the collection might be worth thousands, he said.
''I'm sure it's quite expensive,'' Mr Sena said.
''We are talking about thousands of postcards and stamps.''
He was unsure where the collection had came from, but believed it might have been accidentally added to their belongings while in storage in Christchurch or when it was loaded into a truck in Dunedin.
Some of the letters were addressed to Doreen MacKenzie, of Napier, and he believed someone must be looking for the items because of their sentimental value.
''I just hope we can locate the rightful owners and return their items,'' he said.