At a garage sale in California in the year 2000, a painter found some prints of Yosemite on glass plates. Even though these were ancient photo negatives, he knew they were Ansel Adams’ work because of his signature style. He paid $45 for confirmation from specialists that what he had purchased was genuine. They were eventually estimated at $200,000,000 in value. After selling several, he was sued by the Ansel Adams publishing business because they claimed the photographs weren’t Adams’s.
A (Very) Fortunate Rock
For ten years, one man kept a rock in his bedroom, thinking it was his good luck charm. In 2016, he took it with him to a travel agency, which was not out of the ordinary. But now he understood how fortunate this rock truly was. Someone had told him that at 75 pounds and an estimated $100 million, it was the largest pearl in the world.
Lost Fabergé Egg
A metals recycler bought an elaborate golden egg from a market vendor. Since he planned to melt it down, he paid $14,000 for it despite knowing its true value. Then he did a Google search and came upon an old story about a missing Fabergé egg that had been made for Russian nobility. An appraiser confirmed that it was the egg, placing its value at $33 million.
Lost Humour in a Gag Gift Pollock Jackson
Teri Horton bought a picture off the wall for $5 in 1992 to make her friend laugh. Horton sold the painting at a garage sale because she couldn’t keep it any longer, and the artist who bought it from her recommended that she have it examined because she recognized Jackson Pollock’s influence. The fingerprint analysis confirmed that the painting was indeed by Pollock. When she counteroffered, she offered $9 million, but she turned it down to increase her profit.
A One Dollar Lithograph of Billy the Kid
A man from California found some antique photographs in a box and bought them for a dollar in 2010. After doing some research and consulting with experts, he confirmed his suspicions that the youth in question was, in fact, the infamous Billy the Kid. There are just two known photographs of Billy the Kid, making this tiny snapshot alone worth $5 million.
A Shattered Teapot
In 2018, a scavenger picked up a broken teapot thinking it was a cool piece of antique porcelain. She was stunned to learn that it was made by renowned British potter John Bartlam and was one of the earliest teapots ever made in the United States. The $20 steal she made ended up fetching almost $800,000 at auction.
A Steal, Thanks to Elvis
In 2010, a man named John Richard visited a charity shop in the United Kingdom and discovered an intriguing bag featuring the likeness of Elvis Presley. He had a suspicion the $30 purse was a Philip Treacy original, so he bought it on the spot. He had the authenticity of the bag verified and found that it was indeed one of just ten made by Andy Warhol. It had a value of $450.000!
The Declaration of Independence in Official Form, or a Spare Piece of Parchment?
Michael Sparks, a frequent at the charity store, once found a copy of the Declaration of Independence for less than $3 and bought it because it seemed so authentic. He looked into it, though, and discovered that it wasn’t a simple duplicate. It was one of just 200 authorised copies commissioned by John Quincy Adams in 1820 and it was valued at $477,650.
The 26-carat Ring Costs $13
A diamond ring, widely believed to be fake, went for about $13 at a garage sale in 2017. The price led the buyer to believe that the item was only a fake. She wore it for years before learning that it was a 26-carat diamond from the 1880s. Now she was wearing a ring that cost $455,000.
A missing work of art
When Robin Darvell went to an auction, he spent $46 on a crate of odds and ends. He had figured it was just a bunch of random stuff with no real value. A small picture that had been stashed away in his drawer for ten years until his son Rob discovered it and carefully examined the signature was among the objects. He followed his gut and learned that it was a John Constable picture, making its value $390,000.
Donning the Pinafore That Vince Lombardi Wore
A North Carolina couple who frequently shop at thrift stores bought a sweater for the man. He patched up the holes and started wearing it again. One evening while watching a documentary about Vince Lombardi, they looked up and saw that he was dressed in their jumper. It went for $43,000 after they discovered his name was on the inside.
The Original Man of Steel
A woman in 2010 bought a Superman comic book from a secondhand store. After perusing the comic for a while, she realised that it was first released in 1938, making the few cents she paid for it an extremely rare and valuable collectible. The first appearance of Superman in a comic book. For $14 million, he parted with it in 2014.
Antique Baseball Cards, Number 16
A family from the United States discovered a box of vintage baseball cards in their grandparents’ attic in 2012. They took a closer look and discovered several incredibly rare players in the collection. It turned out that the cards were an extremely rare vintage set that included Ty Cobb and Honus Wagner. At an auction sometime later, they brought in $3 million.
A Vase That is One of the Most Expensive in the World
A man in the United Kingdom purchased a vase in 2016. He was simply attracted to the vase because of how he looked. After having it examined on a whim, it became evident that the vase, painted with classic Chinese designs, was a porcelain vase from the Qianlong period of the 18th century, valued at an astounding $56 million.
About the Author:
Edmore Nkosi is a riveting South African journalist, specializing in entertainment and current affairs. With his unique ability to blend pop culture with real-world events, Edmore has carved a niche in providing captivating narratives that resonate with a diverse readership.