Believe it or not, people all over the world accidentally stumble upon treasures that completely change their lives forever, and it happens more often then you’d think. Even the simplest finds like an old baseball card or ancient butter can have a person feeling like they hit the jackpot.
Bright Side has gathered a list of stories about real treasures that were hidden in attics, bought at flea markets or even buried in people’s backyards. Seems like throwing a clean-up party at your Nana’s house is an excellent idea!
1. Backyard Ferrari
Playing in the sandpit as a kids, we were pretty excited to dig up a nice piece of glass, or a chicken bone. In 1978, two kids found something a little more valuable in their backyard: a Ferrari Dino 246 GTS! The car was reported stolen four years prior and oddly enough, the insurance was paid to the last owners who were never able to be located. The police came to the realization that there used to be a swimming pool exactly where the car was found. It was very crudely mummified with tape on many of the seams and towels in the vents to absorb all the moisture. The Ferrari was then sold to a man who restored it and still drives it today. There’s a twist to this story. As it turns out, the couple who owned the car hired thieves to drown the car in the ocean, but after not having the heart to do so, they decided to leave it for themselves until better days. Those better days never came for them, but it sure did for the people who found the car in 2018.
2. Would you dare to try 2,000-year-old butter?
What looks like a huge potato is actually a 22-lb chunk of butter found by a turf cutter, Jack Conaway, who was cutting peat for fuel in the Emlagh bog in Ireland. The butter ball is estimated to be 2,000 years old — but that’s not even the most surprising part. It turns out that such findings are not all that unusual for Irish and Scottish bogs. Back in the day, butter was pretty expensive and was used to pay taxes or rent, or like in this case, it was offered as a gift to the gods and spirits. When used as an offering, it would have been buried and never dug up again. The conditions in bogs, such as low temperatures, high levels of acidity, and minimal oxygen make them highly effective refrigerators. Several years before that, a massive container containing 100 lb of butter that dated back 5,000 years was recovered from another bog. Archaeologists say that bog butter is crumbly with a waxy texture and an overwhelmingly cheesy smell. Although it is butter, researchers advise against eating it.
3. 15th century gold pendant
It’s easy to be skeptical of people who spend whole weekends roaming along sandy beaches with a metal-detector in hand, hoping to find something of value. We were too until we read the story about Mary Hannaby from the UK, who after seven years of treasure hunting found a piece of gold during one of her Sunday walks in the field. This gold piece turned out to be a 15th century pendant with a carving of the crucifixion of Jesus. It was later examined by a British Museum who priced it around £4,000 but decided not to buy it. The pendant was then placed at Sotheby’s with an expected price of around £250,000, but it failed to sell and never reached more than £38,000.
4. A Superman comic book
A couple located somewhere in the southern US was rummaging through boxes in their attic in preparation for it to be taken over by the bank. In it were about 50 boxes, some containing comic books without much value. But apparently, one of these comics was worth a lot more than the rest. The couple hit the jackpot when they discovered the prized book which cost just 10 cents when it was originally bought. This comic was a vintage copy of Action Comics No. 1 dated from 1938, labelled by experts as the ’Holy Grail of comic books’. This particular copy rated 8.5 in terms of its condition and was worth much more than the house — about £1.5 million to be exact. Can you imagine that? A comic book that is worth more than an entire house!
5. Baseball card
This 1869 baseball card is considered to be one of the first baseball cards ever made. It was found accidentally by a 72-year-old woman from California who originally listed it on eBay just for $10 dollars. After bidders showed an unusual interest, she withdrew it and it eventually sold it at auction for more that $75,000 dollars.
6. Declaration of Independence
In 1989, one lucky guy bought a painting at a flea market because he liked the frame. It cost him just four bucks. As he tried to detach a frame from the canvas it fell apart, leading him to discover a folded document which appeared to be an old copy of the Declaration of Independence stored between the canvas and its wood backing! The condition seemed beyond repair. The ink appeared to have still been wet when this copy was folded, and the very first line, ’In Congress, July 4, 1776,’ shows up in the bottom margin in reverse, as a faint offsetting or shadow printing, proving the urgency John Dunlap, the printer, and others felt in dispersing this document. It was later sold at auction, bringing millions of dollars to the owner.
7. “Who the heck is Jackson Pollock?”
This abstarct piece of art was purchased from a California thrift shop for $5 as a gift for a friend who was feeling depressed. But when the dinner-table-sized painting proved too large to fit into her friend’s trailer, the 73-year-old, Teri Horton set it out among other items at a yard sale, where a local art teacher spotted it and suggested that the work could have been painted by Pollock due to his recongizable action painting technique. Teri’s reacted by saying, “Who the f**k is Jackson Pollock?”, a phrase that became the title of the documentary telling this incredible story. Since then, no one has been able to confirm for sure if the painting is a real Pollock or not. Though the authentity of the painting was never proven, the owner declined a $2 million-dollar offer from a dealer as well as a $9 million-dollar offer from a Saudi art collector, claiming that she wouldn’t sell it for less than $50 million dollars. By the beginning of 2018, after 25 years, she still has the lucky thrift shop find in her posession. Would you sell it for the price offered or wait for the final appraisal for decades like she is doing?
8. The largest opal ever
Aside from being incredibly beautiful, this opal is a whopping 10 times bigger than the previous biggest opal ever found. It weighs 11 kilos with an estimated value of over a million dollars — but once it’s cut up and made into jewelry, the total value could be far greater! Found in South Australia, this type of opal is known as Andamooka matrix opal. When the stone was pulled from the mine, it looked just like any other unattractive light-colored limestone. However, the magic happened after giving it special treatment. Once the treatment (which includes some sugar and sulphuric acid) is complete, the famous Opal fire can be clearly seen sparkling through the darkened limestone.
If you want to win the lottery, you have to first buy a ticket. The same goes for treasure hunting: if you want to find an item of real value, get your hands on a metal detector, or just clean out the basement. If you or someone you know has ever found anything exciting in their cellar or attic, let us know in the comments below!
Preview photo credit Unknown/Imgur