Tauranga man Len Scarlett couldn't believe his eyes when he opened yesterday's Bay of Plenty Times to find his 21-year-old self staring back at him.
The photograph of Mr Scarlett, 82, and his wife Esther, 81, on their wedding day in 1953 was published on Page A2 in a bid to find out who it belonged to.
A member of the public found the photo in a smashed frame, near the corner of Cameron Rd and 16th Ave, three and a half years ago. The man then moved house and the photo was packed away. He found it recently and contacted the paper to help find the photograph's owner.
After rushing to show his wife the paper yesterday, Mr Scarlett and his wife headed to the Bay of Plenty Times office. Mrs Scarlett lost the precious photo after she removed it from the wall to take with her to her machine knitting group at St Enoch's Presbyterian Church.
The women had played a light-hearted game where they each had to guess whose wedding photo was whose.
Mrs Scarlett somehow lost it on the journey home and she had been unable to find it since.
"I went back that night and I went back at six o'clock (the following morning)," she said.
The photograph was unique, taken and hand-coloured by Nelson photographer Ellis Dudgeon.
Mrs Scarlett said she wished she had never removed it from the wall.
"The ladies all helped look and I thought 'oh, some hooligan's got it and scribbled all over it and thrown it away'."
She even reported the missing photograph to police.
Mrs Scarlett had replaced the missing photo with a black and white version and over the years had given up hope of finding it.
Smiling yesterday, she described the news of its return as "lovely".