These are the stories of people who unknowingly owned items they deemed not worth much only to be evaluated for millions of years later. Others had played around with items they inherited and nearly threw away only to have their fates turned around by the same items.
We might not be half as lucky as these individuals but when you come to think of it, maybe thrift shopping or even dumpster diving is really worth it. Apparently, you never know what treasure is hiding there. Read about the 20 lucky people who for quite some time held onto old items worth a fortune but they didn’t know about it until later on.
A diamond ring—worth $607K
In1986 Debra Goddard from West London bought a glass ring at a boot sale for a meager $13.3. All along she thought the piece of Jewel wasn’t worth much until 33 years later, it changed her Fortune.
At the time, she was selling off a couple of her personal belongings to raise some funds cash for her mom who recently lost some to a fraudster.
It was then when Debra found out that the ring had a 26.27-carat diamond. “When I went to the jeweler, he nearly fainted and said, ‘Do you know what this is? It’s a diamond.’ I sat up all night looking at it, wondering what to do,” Debra told the media. The ring was valued and sold at an auction for $607,900. Debra revealed that she spent most of her money on her mother, as she believed was being paid for the bad things that happened to her.
Faberge Egg—worth $20M
A scrap metal entrepreneur bought a golden egg for about $14,000, intending to resell and make a profit on the piece due to its precious metal content. In a strange twist of great luck, he would later discover that the scrap metal he found at a flea market in the American Midwest was in fact one of the eight missing Faberge imperial eggs.
While scouring the internet, he came across an article about an imperial Faberge Easter egg made for Russian royalty. He immediately contacted Kieran McCarthy of Wartski, a specialist in Russian artifacts, who confirmed that the egg was in fact genuine and even negotiated its sale to a collector.
Both the buyer and seller wanted to remain anonymous neither was the price of the Faberge Easter egg disclosed. However, experts guess that the egg is worth somewhere up to $20 million.
Edmore Meteorite—worth $100K
For years, this 22.5-pound hunk of iron was used as a doorstop by a man for his farmhouse in Michigan.
When he bought the farm back in the late ’80s, the previous owner told him that the iron chunk was in fact a meteorite from the ’30s. Not taking him seriously, it was 30 years before the farmer, out of curiosity contacted a geology professor from Central Michigan University to take a look at the rock.
The professor, Mona Sirbescu, confirmed the rock was a meteorite. She told USA Today: “The story goes that it was collected immediately after they witnessed the big boom and the actual meteorite was dug out from a crater.”
With no eyewitnesses to verify it, the story wasn’t given much attention until Now, she added. The meteorite that was then named “Edmore” is known to be the sixth-largest to be found in Michigan and valued at $100K.
Apple I Computer—Worth $200K
In 2015, a woman dropped off an old Apple computer at a recycling center in Silicon Valley. Prior to, She recently cleaned her garage after the death of her husband when she found a bunch of electronics stuffed inside a box.
Victor Gichun, the vice president of the Clean Bay Area, said that the mystery woman didn’t want a tax receipt and didn’t leave any contact information either. A few weeks later, workers of the recycling center opened the boxes only to discover an Apple I computer inside. One of only about 200 first-generation desktop computers assembled by Steve Jobs, Steve Wozniak, and Ron Wayne in 1976.
The recycling firm sold the computer for $200,000 to a private collector. According to its policy, the company was looking forward to giving 50 percent of the cash from the sale back to its original owner, but the woman who dropped off the valuable item was impossible to trace.
Cherokee Satchel From 1800s—Worth $145K
In 2010, a woman from San Diego took a satchel her great-grandfather, had received from the Cherokee in 1846 to an antique roadshow.
His grandfather was a lieutenant in the army and had been gifted the bag by a Cherokee warrior who wanted to thank the said great-grandfather for being kind to his people. The woman had a letter from her great-grandfather to prove it, while the satchel itself was authenticated by an expert in tribal arts.
“The bag itself probably dates to the 1820s. I think this bag, in its present condition, if it did not have this very important document that tracks its history across the country, would be about $25,000,” then said the appraiser Ted Trotta.
With the document and restoration, the piece would be worth somewhere closer to $100,000 (minus $8000 restoration costs). However, in 2013, the value of the restored bag shot up to $145,000.
Jaeger-LeCoultre Watch—Worth $35K
In 2015, one Arizona resident visited a Phoenix Goodwill back in search of a used push golf car when he stumbled upon a variety of old watches. One of them however caught his eye – a $5.99 watch with a dial that reads “LeCoultre Deep Sea Alarm.”
Coincidentally, the man was a watch collector too and he was particularly interested in vintage watches. He realized that the watch certainly cost more than a paltry $5.99. upon taking it to an authorized retailer in Scottsdale, Arizona, the man discovered that the timepiece was a rare 1959 LeCoultre Deep Sea Alarm, one of the first watches ever to feature an alarm used by divers.
He shared his find on a Facebook page “Vintage Watches” only to be overwhelmed by emails from collectors from all around the world, eager to buy the LeCoultre Deep Sea Alarm. Eventually, he sold it for $35,000.
Declaration Of Independence—Worth $2.42m
In 1776, 500 copies of the Declaration of Independence were known to be printed. By 1989 only 23 copies were still known to exist. The same year, a man in Philadelphia bought an old painting for $4 just for it’s beautiful frame. When it broke, he discovered a document tucked away neatly between the canvas and its card. On examining it closely, he discovered it appeared to be an old copy of the declaration of Independence and he was right. He later on sold the document for $2.42 million.
“Christ Mocked”— Worth Up to $6.6M
While preparing to sell her house, An elderly woman in Compiègne, France called an auctioneer to assess her belongings to determine anything of value before they were thrown out to a pile. The expert, Philomène Wolf was called in and given a week for the task. As she rummaged through items in the house, a small painting hanging above the hot plate caught her eye.
After evaluation, it turns out to be a 13-century painting and original work of Italian artist, Cimabue. Known as “Christ Mocked,”. The masterpiece is part of a series of 11 paintings depicting Jesus’ crucifixion estimated to be worth somewhere from $4 million to $6.6 million.
The house owner said that she’d had it so long she could not remember when or where she got the painting.
Picasso Plate—Worth Up to $15K
In the 1970s, an enthusiastic plate collector bought a plate in Rhode Island for just under $100. The plate looked pretty, so she hung it on the wall of her kitchen. For years, it sat pretty above the stove, as “all of her kids loved the smiley face.”
Around 2010, the woman walked into a gallery and saw a plate that looked very identical to the one in her kitchen. She told someone in the gallery that she had something nearly identical in her kitchen.
“The guy sort of gasped and said, ‘Over your stove?’ And I said, ‘Yeah, I have a plate collection.’ He said, ‘Do you know what you have?’” the woman said in a TV show.
Apparently, she didn’t know that she had in her possession a genuine work of Picasso from 1955. Through an Antiques Roadshow, she learned that the plate could be worth somewhere from $10,000 to $15,000.
A Possible Photo Of Billy The Kid—Worth $5M
In 2015, an unsuspecting man walked into an antique shop in Freemont, CA, and bought a vintage photo for $2. The picture was later discovered to feature the notorious Billy the Kid and members of the Lincoln County gang playing croquet together.
This being the second confirmed photo of the infamous thief of the 19th century, the 1878 photo was valued upwards of $5 million.
Topaz Ring With Diamonds—Worth £4K
Back in 2011, Thea Jourdan went to a secondhand shop and bought herself a brooch for £20. She later, shockingly found out the stone on the brooch was a topaz weighing 20 carats. And it was surrounded by 27 diamonds.
Its color—a rare fiery pink known as Imperial—was once exclusively reserved for Russian royalty. The appraiser informed Thea that the actual worth of the brooch was close to £4,000.
Giuseppe Pedrazzini violin—worth $50K
One Texan man found an old music instrument lying around among a pile of trash at the curb of his house that later turned out to be a Giuseppe Pedrazzini violin worth $50k.
When he found the instrument, he first took it to a dealer in San Antonio to authenticate it and assess its value.
“My wife has a violin that belonged to her grandfather and we thought that we could use it for parts to repair it,” the finder explained.
Initially, he was offered $1000 for the violin. But when Peter Shaw of Houston dealers Amati Violin Shop appraised the violin for an episode of the PBS show Antiques Roadshow, the numbers were a tad different. As he explained, once cleaned and restored, the instrument could be worth as much as $50,000.
Navajo Blanket—worth $1.5M
In 2007, one man in California was living paycheck to paycheck. Having lost a leg in a car accident, the jobless man was barely able to support his family with monthly disability checks.
“I had kids to take care of, no money. Nothing saved up or nothing like that,” Loren Krytzer looked back at that time.
Around the same time, his grandmother died and he inherited an old blanket that nobody else in his family wanted. One night in 2011, Loren was watching an episode of Antiques Roadshow in which he was shocked to find out that his rugged blanket was actually a First Phase Navajo blanket worth around half a million dollars.
As the appraiser explained why such a textile was considered very valuable in the current time, Loren was busy comparing.
“I paused it and I went and got the blanket and I’m sitting there holding it. … I’m lining up the lines on the TV with the blanket, seeing if they match,” Loren recalls. And soon enough noticed their striking similarity. Loren Krytzer later on walked into the California auction room broke and unemployed, to walk out $1.5 million richer.
A giant pearl—worth $100M
In 2006, a fisherman’s anchor got stuck on what he thought was a rock during a storm, in the Palawan Islands.
He took the 10-foot rock home unknown to him how valuable it was. For 10 years, the rock layers around at the owner’s house who took it as a good luck charm. In a strange twist of events, his house was razed down by a fire and everything had to be taken out.
In 2016, he took the rock to a local tourism office in Puerto Princesa, where it was verified that the rock was actually a giant clam. Measuring at 1 foot wide and 2.2 feet long, the 34 kg giant pearl was said to be worth $100 million.
John Constable Painting—worth $400K
Purchased at an auction, this small painting was kept in a cupboard for years but turned out to be worth almost half a million dollars.
The postcard-sized painting was bought for a meager 30 pounds in the British city of Canterbury in the early 2000s. Painted by the 19th-century artist John Constable, it depicts a 19th-century landscape and has a faint signature on its back.
The signature was what prompted its new owner to show the painting to an antique dealer and forgeries experts who valued it at around $400,000.
Diamond and Ruby Ring—Worth $400K
A woman inherited jewels from her great aunt, who was a wife of a congressman back in the 1920s.
In 1998, she Presented the jewels to the TV show Antiques Roadshow and experts realized that she was actually in possession of a dual-diamond pendant worth $12,000 and a Ruby ring worth $80,000. Moreover, she owned a diamond bracelet with rubies worth a whopping $165,000.
In 2013 experts reviewed the value of the items and revealed that it has since increased to somewhere around $400,000 by Current price.
Hand-me-down baseball cards—worth $1M
Five years ago, a woman brought in a set of old baseball memorabilia she found in a drawer to an Antiques Roadshow. The woman claimed she had inherited the collection from her great-great-grandmother who owned a boarding house in Boston in the mid-19th century.
The card collection belonged to the Boston Red Stockings players and there was a letter too, signed and addressed to the said great-great-grandmother.
“To see them all in one group like that,” the executive producer of the show then said. “None of the experts associated with Roadshow have ever seen them all in one place that way.” Experts valued the collection for a paltry sum of $1 million!
Pierre-Auguste Renoir Painting—Worth £50K
Back in 2009, a woman walked into a flea market in West Virginia and bought a small painting because it had a nice frame. Along with a box of trinkets, she paid $7 for in total.
Marcia Fuqua was unaware that the oil painting she just bought was very valuable and stored it in a garbage bag for two and a half years.
In 2012, her mother, who’s an art teacher and painter, urged her to get the painting appraised. Marcia took the painting to an auction house, where it was verified that it was an authentic Pierre-Auguste Renoir.
Painted in 1879 in the impressionist style and named “Paysage Bords de Seine” (“Landscape on the Banks of the Seine”), the painting turned out to be worth somewhere between $75,000 to $100,000.
However, after the media reported the story, the Baltimore Museum of Art came forward laying claim the painting was stolen from them. The Federal Bureau of Investigation then took custody of it. As it later turned out, it was stolen from the museum in November 1951, and no one is sure how it got to West Virginia.
Andy Warhol Sketch—Worth $2M
Andy Fields, An English businessman was rummaging through a garage sale in Las Vegas when he came across some $5 sketches. One of them was a depiction of the singer Rudy Vallee, who was famous back in the 1930s. Andy purchased the sketches from a man who claimed they were his aunt’s, who used to watch over Andy Warhol as a child.
The man didn’t think much about the paintings until he decided to frame them. He discovered On the back of it, a signature belonging to none other than the famous Andy Warhol. The sketch shows pre-Pop Art Warhol’s style, and could possibly have been made when the artist was merely 10-11 years old. A valuer told Andy Fields the sketch could be worth somewhere around $2 million, but the businessman didn’t want to sell it just yet.