Have you ever wished your financial luck could change? Some people have had their dreams come true thanks to lucky discoveries.
If you’ve found yourself needing a few more dollars at the end of each month, then it could be time to collect all those lucky trinkets and start searching high and low. Some people have been in the right place at the right time. That’s right; their accidental finds turned out to be things that were about to change their finances for life.
There are many aspects that can make things valuable. It could be the fact they are incredibly old yet have survived all this time. Other items are worth so much money because they were used by a prominent figure in history. Other things were that at memorable moments in time, such as the winning game or an unbelievable word record. Whatever the case, these items can be worth more than many of us first believe.
A 1974 penny
It might be time to hold onto all those old pennies. After all, you never know how much they could be worth in the future.
Robert Lawrence was lucky enough to inherit a lunch box filled with old coins from his father. However, there was one that stood out. Robert looked a little closer and got an expert’s opinion, who believed the coin was worth $300.
That was just the beginning. It later turned out the penny was actually from 1974. The Mint made around 1.6 million versions of the coin from aluminum, as copper was too expensive. Sadly, the US Congress rejected the idea. The Mint recalled all the coins and had them all destroyed but one – or so they thought. They later concluded the coin was actually worth a whopping £2 million thanks to its rarity.
There are archeological finds, and then there’s discovering the largest collection of Anglo-Saxon silver and gold metalwork in the world. There were more than 3,500 items that had been lying there since around the 7th century.
That was until Terry Herbert discovered the collection in 2009. He had bought a metal detector for just a few dollars at a yard sale and set about putting it to good use.
Terry searched an area of farmland that had recently been plowed when he discovered the first of the treasures. It took five days to carefully bring all the pieces to the surface. The Staffordshire Hoard, named thanks to where it was uncovered in the UK, earned Terry and the owner of the land $4.1 million after the collection was sold to local museums.
A first edition Action Comic
A couple living in the US were about to change their lives thanks to one incredible discovery. They thought they were going to lose their house as they struggled to maintain the payments.
That was until they started to clear through the boxes in the attic. They looked inside one to find a copy of the first Action Comic. This was the first comic book that featured Superman, and it was in incredible condition.
The comic was graded at 8.5 out of 10. Back in 1938 when it was first released, it would have cost just 10 cents. In 2010, it took the auction house by storm as it landed the couple a whopping $1.5 million. It held the record for the most expensive of its kind until 2011 when another copy sold for $2.16 million.
Royal One Opal
An Australian miner was searching through his last bucket of rocks when he noticed something. Bobby had been forced to sell all of his old mining gear to a friend to try and raise some money.
As he was searching through his things, Bobby came across a grimy rock that appeared to have flecks of gold and green shining through. He spent two years carefully chiseling out the gem until uncovered an incredibly rare 306-carat black opal.
Bobby was so worried that it would get stolen that he slept with it under his mattress and wore it in a pouch around his neck for 14 years before he finally transferred it to a bank vault. He didn’t sell the stone until 2016, where the Royal One Opal raked in $3 million.
All Quiet on the Western Front poster
Could you imagine a highly valuable find in a thrift store? What about two for the price of one? Laura Stouffer had previously worked as an antique dealer, so she knew her way around a valuable item or two.
She was browsing through a store when she spotted a painting named Shepherd’s Call. Laure knew that it was worth some money as it was produced around 1850 and soon snapped it up.
It wasn’t until Laura got home and removed the painting from the frame that she discovered an incredibly rare All Quiet on the Western Front poster had been hiding between the picture and the backing. It was made back in 1930, and the poster later sold for $20,000 – even though it had been lost for so many years!
Drink from 1917
Many of us take on a host of DIY projects around the home. Bryan Fite was no exception. He wanted to install some air conditioning into his home. Little did Bryan know that he had been living with a secret all these years.
His house was built back in the 1850s, and when Bryan lifted up the floorboards in his attic, he uncovered bottles of drink that had been there almost the entire time.
At first, Bryan thought they were old pipes for the house. It wasn’t until he pulled them out that he realized they were 13 full bottles of drink from1917. Experts estimated that the bottles were worth up to $2.6 million. However, Bryan told news channels that he didn’t want to sell them, and he was going to drink them with his friends instead.
Amarillo Starlight diamond
Diamonds State Park in Arkansas has seen many hopefully minors come and go over the years. The park allows guests to search for diamonds, and finders keepers is the only rule that counts.
W W Johnson is one of the many who have visited the park over the years as he took his family on vacation back in 1975.
Like many others, Johnson started to dig into the ground only to see something incredible. It wasn’t just a diamond; it was a 16.37 carat white stone. This is still the largest diamond to have been found in the park. As if that wasn’t enough, the fact that the Amarillo Starlight diamond is so large means that it’s incredibly valuable. In fact, the impressive gem has been valued at $175,000.
The Declaration of Independence
In 1989, an unidentified man bought a painting and found that something was hiding behind the frame. The art had cost just $4, but the man only wanted it for the frame. In fact, he planned on throwing away the picture altogether. It wasn’t until he removed the painting from the frame that he noticed something strange.
It was the Declaration of Independence. There are just 500 printed copies in the world, and many have never been found. Lying behind the painting meant it looked almost brand new.
He later took it auction where The Declaration of Independence sold for a cool $2.4 million. Michael Sparks found another copy in 2006 in a music thrift store. However, he only managed to take home a $477,650 paycheck from the auction house.
An 1887 Fabergé egg
An anonymous man thought that he had landed a winning purchase after he forked out $14,000 for an egg. However, it sat on a shelf for years, and the man soon believed that the had overestimated its worth.
After falling on hard times, the man tried to sell the egg to scrap metal dealers for $500, but they rejected his offer. It was only then that the man tried to find out the truth about the egg.
He typed in the name engraved on the egg: Vacheron Constantin. It turned out that he had been holding onto the third Fabergé egg that had been missing for years. Carl Fabergé had made 50 for the Russian Royal Family, and each one contained a surprise. This was the third that he’d ever made, and was actually worth a staggering $33 million.
A vintage Jaeger-LeCoultre watch
Zach Norris wanted to look for a golf cart at his local thrift store. However, a selection of watches caught his eye as he was about to leave. Zach started to look through the collection and spotted a Jaeger-LeCoultre watch.
He knew the name thanks to collecting vintage watches for years, but Zach never knew just how much it was worth. It was one of the most sought-after watched of the time as there were less than 1,000 of them ever made.
Plus, the 1959 creation was a Deep Sea Alarm and one of the first watches that came fitted with an alarm for divers. Amazingly, the alarm still worked after a little winding. Zach bought the watch for just $5.99. He later sold the watch at an auction for $35,000.
A Jackson Pollock painting
It turned out that Teri Horton never knew the true value of her new painting until she tried to sell it on. The former trucker bought the abstract piece to try and cheer up her friend.
Sadly, it wouldn’t fit through her door, so Teri wanted to sell it at a yard sale. An art teacher soon approached Teri and told her it could be an original Jackson Pollock painting.
The world wanted an answer, and Teri even starred in a documentary as she tried to find out the answer. Experts believe Teri could be holding into a true original. Another of Jackson’s paintings once sold for $140 million. Teri has rejected offers for $2 million and $9 million from various art collectors. Instead, she wanted to hold onto the piece until someone offers around $50 million.
A buried Ferrari
One Ferrari was in for an incredible ride back in the 1970s. A couple called to report their car had been stolen. The insurance paid out the money before the pair disappeared into the sunset.
Four years later, in 1978, two boys were exploring their new home and ventured into the back yard. Here, they started to dig holes where they noticed something unusual. It was a car.
Their parents called the police who excavated the vehicle and confirmed it was the missing 1974 Ferrari Dino 246 GTS. The authorities tried to find the original owners, but they were gone for good. It was later discovered that they buried their car in their old swimming pool and made off with the insurance money. The insurance company auctioned off the vehicle that is still driven to date.
Believe it or not, but Charlie Naysmith was just eight years old when he found a fortune lying on the beach back in 2012. He was walking along the beach in the UK when Charlie noticed something that looked like a large beige rock.
However, it was waxy, and unlike anything he had seen before. His parents helped the youngster find out what Charlie had really discovered and soon learned that it was ambergris, something produced by whales.
Although it might seem gross to some, ambergris is in hot demand within the perfume industry. As the piece was so large, it was estimated that Charlie’s find was worth up to $63,000. The family revealed they were waiting to learn more about the discovery, but Charlie planned to spend his fortune on building a shelter for animals.
A wall of coins
Rare and valuable items can be found in all kinds of places. Apparently, some have even been discovered in walls. Jeff Bidelman was helping a family go through the things in an abandoned house as they wanted to value all the furniture inside.
Jeff had already found a bag on coins when he noticed a hole in the wall.
One of the daughters of the homeowner told Jeff that she’d heard tales of her family throwing coins into the hole. Jeff immediately asked if he could tear down the wall and see if those tales were true. The daughter agreed, and Jeff went to town kicking a hole in the wall. Hundreds of pennies flooded out, and Jeff estimated they could be worth up to $200,000. It appears the fortune was placed into a trust find.
A baseball card
Plenty of people have had to spend years working around boxes of old baseball cards over the years. They were once the center of many people’s lives. So what are we supposed to do with all of them now we are older?
One woman named Bernice Calego thought she would try her luck and sell on some of her finds. She discovered an old photo of a baseball team.
She decided to post it to an internet auction site where Bernice listed it for $10. However, the bids soon got out of control as Bernice was inundated with messages. The National Association of Securities Dealers valued the picture that went on to earn Bernice a tidy sum of $75,000. Perhaps it’s not time to throw away all those old baseball cards just yet?
Nicholas II’s figurine
Betty and George Davis were about to discover they had been living with a huge fortune the entire time. They had a wooden box in the attic that looked like nothing special.
It wasn’t until they enlisted the help of an expert that the couple learned it was actually a portrait figure of Nikolai Nikolaievich Pustynnikov. He once worked as a bodyguard for Empress Alexandra Feodorovna.
Apparently, Nicholas II commissioned Fabergé to create the figure for his wife as a gift. This was just a few years before the fall of the family. Being made by one of the most prominent artists at the time and being so rare meant the figure went on to sell for $5.2 million at an auction. Not bad for a box in the attic, eh?
A chunk of gold
It might be time to invest in a metal detector if you want to make a small fortune. One Australian farmer was using one of the machines when he found something.
He started to dig down two feet into the ground until he finally found what had sparked the reaction. It was a massive gold nugget. Apparently, the man first thought that he had found a car bonnet, thanks to the metal detector’s reading.
The gold nugget ended up weighing more than 12 pounds. It was worth even more thanks to its incredible size as experts say it’s rare to find gold that weighs more than 2 pounds. The find was eventually valued at $315,000, but the rising and falling price of gold means that it could be worth more or less depending on the market at the time.
Ok, so this might not be a strange find in a thrift store or at a yard sale, but it was a lucky discovery that went on to make $2.5 billion. Dr. Harry Coover was working to try and create a crystal clear plastic sight for weapons during World War II in 1942.
One of his first prototypes was useless as a sight, but it did turn out to be excellent for bonding things together.
Harry decided to abandon the project as it wasn’t what he hoped to achieve. Nine years later, Harry was back in the testing room as he wanted to create jet canopies that were heat-resistant. Once again, he was left with an even stronger bonding agent and decided to pursue the idea once and for all. At last, super glue was born.
Ben Nicholson art
Some people have put their sudden riches to good use. Jo Heaven was browsing a thrift store in the Uk when she found an unusual print. She bought the quirky piece for a little over $1 before she noticed something on the back.
It looked as though it had been signed by Ben Nicholson. Jo’s mom was an art teacher, and she knew that she recognized the name.
An expert authenticated the piece and told Jo that it was one of for that had all been made from one piece of cloth back in 1938. One of the other pieces is now found in the Victoria and Albert Museum while Jo sold her purchase for $5,500. She later donated 10% to the thrift store before investing the rest in her own Gamba-based charity named Empower.
St. Albans Hoard
Could you imagine anything better than finding a hoard of Ancient Roman coins on your first try with a metal detector? One man, Westley Carrington, was about to discover that feeling.
He was searching across private land in 2012 when the man uncovered what is believed to be one of the largest collections of Roman coins in the UK.
There are 159 coins in the collection that are thought to be from the 4th century. They were once highly valuable coins that weren’t traded on a regular basis. Instead, Romans would use these coins for larger transactions. They started to bury the coins either to keep them safe from thieves or to make an offering to the gods. Westley later decided to sell the coins to a local museum that bought them for around $260,000.
Vince Lombardi’s sweater
Back in 2014, Rikki and Sean McEvoy were searching through their local thrift store in North Carolina to try and find items for their vintage clothing business. Sean spotted a sweater and added it to their pile of clothes.
The pair were charged by the weight and paid just 58 cents per pound for their collection.
Five months after the purchase, Sean was watching a documentary about Vince Lombardi, a former Green Bay Packers coach. Amazingly, Rikki noticed a label in the sweater just one day before. The pair checked, and it turned out they had the one and only’s sweater in their hands. The NFL Hall of Fame tried to get the couple to donate the sweater, but they kept hold of their piece and later sold it for $43,020 to an unnamed bidder.
A Picasso print
Of course, Pablo Picasso is one of the most prominent names in the art world. Zach Bodish is an avid thrift store shopper and found the print in 2012. He noticed that it said “6/100” in the bottom corner and figured that it must be a numbered edition.
It wasn’t until Zach got it home and took it out of the frame that he saw there was French writing on the back.
Zach started to research the piece where he learned that it was a linocut poster for a 1958 Picasso exhibition. The writing on the back? That was by Picasso, who had been the one to craft the piece. Apparently, it had been donated by someone who had the print since the ‘60s after he was gifted it as a home-warming present.
A Stadium Events cartridge
There are many video game enthusiasts who would pay anything to get their hands on some of the classics. Jennifer Thompson was searching through the $1 DVD section of a thrift store when she spotted an NES cartridge behind a glass case.
It was Stadium Events, and the store labeled it for $7.99. Jennifer ran across the street to use the wifi to check the value of the game.
She was right; it was worth thousands of dollars. Jennifer returned and bought the game. She immediately took it to a local video game store to gauge the owner’s reaction, who was just as surprised to see the game. Jennifer eventually sold her copy of Stadium Events in an online auction where an orthodontist paid a whopping $25,000 for the game.
The Brook Hill Dog
Many hidden pieces of art have been found in thrift stores, and Maureen Flaherty found her golden ticket in 2015. She attended the opening of a thrift store when she saw a lithograph print she just had to have.
It was of a dog. As Maureen fostered dogs, she wanted to add it to her collection, so she paid the $44 price tag.
An antique dealer immediately tried to buy the print, but Maureen wanted to take it home. However, she was curious. Maureen researched the print and realized it was an Alexander Pope print from 1911 named The Brook Hill Dog. Maureen decided to auction the piece online, where she sold it for $5,150. Amazingly, she donated half to a local shelter charity and used the other half to find her book about fostering dogs.
Magnolias on Gold Velvet Cloth
One person needed something to cover a hole in their wall. They could have repaired the damage, but buying a painting for the hole seemed to be the easier option. The Indiana resident found the perfect picture and hung it on their wall for years.
It wasn’t until they were playing a board game titled Masterpiece that they realized they could have something pretty valuable.
The aim of the fame it to bid against other players for pieces of art. However, one of the cards matched the picture on the wall. The owner called in an expert who valued the piece and confirmed that it was a genuine painting. They eventually learned it was a famous piece by artist Martin Johnson Heade and auctioned off the Magnolias on Gold Velvet for $1.2 million.
Vase With Red Poppies
There have been many reproductions of famous paintings over the years. While they might not be the original, it can help people to add a little part of the great artists’ work to their home.
One pair thought they had bought a replica of Vase With Red Poppies by Vincent van Gogh. The artist used flowers as inspiration for many of his creations over the years.
He once told his brother that if you looked at Japanese pictures for long enough, then anyone could come to love bouquets and could use them in their work even more. It wasn’t until the couple started to wonder about their painting that they looked into its history. An expert later confirmed that they had actually bought the 1886 original, and it was worth a staggering $1.4 million.
An Augusta National Green jacket
The Augusta National Golf Club now has a rule that only members are allowed to wear their jackets, and they can only do so at the club. However, in the 1950s and ‘60s, members were allowed to take them home.
A sports journalist recognized the logo when they were browsing through a stack of jackets at a thrift store in 1994.
They took it home for just $5 and soon wanted to trace the origins. The tag had been cut out, and the golf club didn’t want to help determine the original owner. The journalist eventually found that it was from the 1950s but nothing more. Dominic Pedler, a golf journalist, later convinced the man to sell it to him, and Dominic held onto it for two decades. He eventually auctioned the jacket in 2017 for $139,349.
A collection of photos
In 2016, Kent Shrewsbury was visiting a thrift store with his son when they found something fantastic. There were a handful of photos tucked between some vinyl records.
The pair bought the collection of 23 pictures for $23. It wasn’t until they got them home and looked at the signatures that this father and son team realized they had a huge find.
They were actually original photos from various 20th-century photographers, including Elliot Erwitt, Burk Uzzle, and Eve Arnold. A few months later, Kent arrived at the Antiques Roadshow, where an appraiser confirmed they were the real deal. She estimated that five photos alone were worth $24,000, while the entire collection could be worth $36,000. Kent hopes to donate some of the money to Habitat for Humanity while using the rest to buy his son a car.
A strange pearl
This giant pearl is thought to be the largest in the world – and it was kept a secret for a decade! A fisherman in the Philippines saw that his anchor was stuck on a shell.
He decided to five down and brought it back up to the surface only to realize it was an oyster with a giant pearl. The fisherman then took it home and kept the pearl under his bed as a good luck charm.
Sadly, the house was later burned down, meaning the fisherman needed to clear out his things and move. He decided to take the pearl to a local tourism officer who was amazed by the piece. It is over two feet long and one-foot wide. The best bit? It dwarfs any other discovered pearl and is worth $100 million.
Shares in Coca-Cola
Tony Marohn once spent $5 on a box of old papers from a yard sale. He got home and searched through the contents only to realize there were old share papers. They were for Palmer Union Oil Co.
Tony set about finding out who owned the shares now and learned they were a part of Coca-Cola.
That’s right; he had 1.8 million shares in the company, and he was determined to cash them in. It was estimated they are worth a whopping $130 million, but things might be as simple as they seem. Coca-Cola claims they were worth a lot less than they first appear. Tony spent the rest of his life battling with the company until he passed away. Now, his family have made it their mission to get the millions they feel they own.