It was a real find and it led to an exhibition.
Patrick McKenna is a book dealer with a popular second-hand book shop in Whanganui. As such, he is always on the lookout for that special book ... and he appears to have found it.
"It was found in a derelict house in Whanganui," he says. He had been called in to check out some books before the house was torn apart, but they yielded no great treasure.
"But as I walked out, in amongst the debris, I saw the corner of this book sticking out." He asked permission to take it. "When I opened it, it was more interesting than I thought."
The book was a collection of large-scale architectural drawings for rehabilitation expandable state houses destined for returned servicemen after World War II. Homes for Servicemen: Rehabilitation Housing Plan Service, published in 1948, it contained 60 such house plans.
"The cover was knackered but the pages were intact.
"Here is nearly every state house in Whanganui, just as they are in the drawings.
The renderings of those houses are perfect, even down to the malthoid gutters and stuff like that." Patrick likes the detail in the drawings, right down to the trees and flowers and backgrounds.
His first thought was to get them up on a wall somewhere for people to see.
With help and advice from Sarah Williams at Space Studio and Gallery, the idea of an exhibition of prints was born and Space was the ideal gallery venue.
It's called Homes for Servicemen and opens on Wednesday, April 14, sponsored by Harcourts.
"It's very timely," says Patrick, "With Anzac weekend, the housing crisis ... this is how they solved it back then. You bought Part A of the house then added."
The plans allowed for extensions to be added to the original purchase.
"It was called expandable housing."
Sarah Williams loves the idea of the exhibition.
"I think it's fantastic," she says. "It's something really different. The show that Patrick is going to be alongside is paintings of interiors of houses, so it's worked out really well.
"And it's really nice to collaborate with another business. I think Whanganui's good like that: we support each other."
What: Homes for Servicemen
When: April 14 to April 24
Where: Space Studio and Gallery, 18 St Hill St