Timothy Yost was walking through a park in the city of Bastrop in January, looking for a spot by the river to wash his feet, when he stumbled upon a bag.
The bag jangled when he kicked it and he opened it to find some damp notes and 40 gold Krugerrand coins from South Africa, the Austin American Statesman newspaper reports.
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Mr Yost took the money to a nearby bank where he was told he would have to wait until the notes dried before depositing it.
Staff at the bank became suspicious and called the police who placed the money in evidence.
An investigation was launched to find the owner of the money but ultimately proved to be unsuccessful.
Under Texas law the finder of valuables can be the keeper and Bastrop Council last night decided Mr Yost should be allowed to have the money.
Bastrop Mayor Terry Orr told msnbc.com he hoped the money would allow Mr Yost to make a difference in his life.
"I hope this man can find some benefit in this; I hope it gives him an opportunity to change his particular circumstances," he said.
Mr Yost reportedly spent the night in jail on Wednesday evening as a result of being intoxicated.