Look what I found! (5 treasures found among trash)

2010 January 27
tags: ,
by Christian

A few weeks ago, a reverend at a Catholic university was looking for paper towels in a bathroom cabinet.  He didn’t find any towels, but what he did find will buy plenty extra.  He pulled out a frame with an etching in it.  He liked how it looked and put in on his wall.  Turns out, the etching is a Rembrandt and it could be worth about $100,000.  That’s not bad, but there are other valuable things found by people not looking for them. 

Fix a hole in the wall DIY style

A man in Indiana stopped at a yard sale on his way home one day.  He bought a couple items of furniture and a painting he thought his wife would like.  The furniture went into the living room and the painting covered a whole in the wall.  A few years later he was playing an art-themed board game called Masterpiece.  He noticed that one of the cards featured a painting much like the one that was being used for home improvement.  He did a little extra research and discovered that the painting was an original by Martin Johnson Heade, a classical American still-life artist..

The painting was bought by a museum for $1.2 million.

Septuagenarian finds something older than she is

A 72-year-old California woman was cleaning out a section of her home when she came across an old baseball card with a team photo of the Cincinnati Red Stockings.  Not knowing what to do with it, she called a friend to help her list it on Ebay for $10.  When the friend came over to help, she convinced the woman to have it looked at by an expert.  Good move.  The expert identified it as a card from 1869 in near perfect condition.

Deciding to forego Ebay, the woman auctioned it off at Sotheby’s for over $75,000.

Forget the hammer!

A British farmer lost a hammer in one of his fields one day.  Rather than going to spend a few bucks to just buy a new one, the man borrowed a metal detector and set out to find his hammer.  Instead, he found something much more valuable.  What he unearthed was a cache of Roman Empire era artifacts.  To be exact, 15,000 coins of various metals, including gold, as well as  jewelry and statues were all uncovered.

The government bought the artifacts from him for £1.75 million which he generously split with the man who lent him the metal detector.

Car gathered dust for nearly 30 years

A few years ago, the relatives of English doctor Harold Carr were going through his things for an estate sale.  When they went to a barn on the property they came across a car that had not been used since about 1960.  Not knowing what it was, the family called in someone to identify the make and model.  It was a 1937 Bugatti Type 57S Atalante with a mere 24,000 miles and all original parts.  Only 17 were ever made, and less are present today.

The car went at auction for just under $3 million.

Independence is worth a lot of money

In Pennsylvania, a man bought a painting at a flea market.  He liked the frame and thought he could restore it.  He took it home and attempted to do so but could not bring the frame back to it’s former glory.  Thinking he had just wasted $4, he took out the painting contained in the frame and found an old folded up piece of paper behind it.  When he unfolded it, he was looking at one of 24 known copies of the Declaration of Independence that was used to spread the news to the colonies on July 4, 1776.

An Atlanta businessman paid $2.42 million for it at auction. (That’s a 60,000,000% profit!)

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14 Responses leave one →
  1. 2010 January 28

    Excellent post! really thanks! :)

  2. 2010 January 28

    A great post…just goes to show that you never know, and because people don’t, it is so important that they take that little bit of extra time and consult an expert…



  3. 2010 January 29
    tony permalink

    I recently discovered a 1976 Hustler magazine when I was cleaning out the garage. Do you think the fact that many of the pages appear to be stuck together will have an adverse effect on its value to a collector?

  4. 2010 January 29

    My parents loved going to garage sales and second hand stores. When I was in grade school (back in the 1960’s), I learned some great lessons going to garage sales and flea markets that I stuck with me all these years. What was the top lesson? Most treasures are hidden – always look UNDER the tables.

  5. 2010 January 29
    MARK permalink

    Never mind under the table; most people keep the really good stuff in their home.. Just go right by them and walk in the front door, if that doesn’t work try to get around to the back door. If you are real quiet you can have the advantage of having the whole house to yourself to better aquaint and value the “inside inventory”. You can really make low ball offers since you are bidding on things that nobody else has even seen while foolishly rumaging through the trash OUTSIDE!

    If you see something you really like you may want to just out it in your pocket – sometimes people get cold feet on the “inside deals”

  6. 2010 January 29

    Bookmarked! I love these kinds of articles, and this is seriously everybody’s dream! I still can’t imagine finding some rare valuable that I think is junk! Maybe one day, I’ll find my hidden treasure!

  7. 2010 January 29

    Oh yeah and that story of the 1937 Bugatti Type 57S Atalante; I love classic cars! Even if it wasn’t worth anything, I would still keep it because there’s just this feel that you get from vintage cars that you don’t get from cars today. Man, if only I could find one of those babies sitting in my garage!

  8. 2010 January 29

    I was at a garage sale and I opened up a scrap book. It was someone’s trip to Europe. I saw a postcard commemorating the marriage of Princess Grace in Monaco. It listed the date of the wedding. I turned it over and it was postmarked in Monaco, the date of the wedding. I shut the scrap book and paid a quarter for it.

    I was at the library bookstore, and I noticed an old (1940’s style) on the books just dropped off. They had not been priced yet, and technically, they are not allowed to sell them yet. I opened it up, and it was a first edition of Andrew Loomis’ out of print Figure Drawing for All It’s Worth. I have been watching those on ebay, and any edition of that book goes for upwards of $200. I begged the librarian and said that I really-really-really wanted this book and how much did she want for it. She casually flipped through it and said, “How about a dollar?”

  9. 2010 January 29
    Linuxfox00 permalink

    one time i found a big old trunk on the track it had some soggy books and papers and rusty old paint cans.
    i guess some people just bough the house and though out some stuff anyways i went though the stuff at home and i though out the cans and went though some old scrap books and i found a little bank envelope with a gold coin for the 1880s in it and sold it on ebay for 500

  10. 2010 January 30
    Marsha C permalink

    The best thing I ever found was at a Goodwill, where I got an antique Steiff teddy bear for $1.89. I do occasionally find good things on the curb when walking. Not worth millions, but hey, a buck is a buck. Finding something I can sell for ten, is like finding a ten dollar bill on the curb.

  11. 2010 January 31
    valentinstag angebote permalink

    I found your blog on google and read a few of your other posts. I just added you to my Google News Reader. Keep up the great work Look forward to reading more from you in the future.

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