1) In 2006, a Filipino fisherman accidentally discovered a pearl that was enormous that it weighed 34 kg!
With such a rare object in hand, the fisherman decided to keep it as a good luck charm under his bed. Ten years later in 2016, he authenticated the pearl, and to his disbelief, it was worth more than $100 million. He was literally sleeping above a million-dollar treasure for almost 10 years!
2) Rick Norsigian, a California construction worker, stumbled upon two beat-up boxes of items at a garage sale in 2010 and purchased them for $45.
He later found out that the items in the box were actually 65 glass-plate negatives captured by famous nature photographer Ansel Adams. They worth $200 million! This is like finding a sack of gold in the trash! A team of experts verified that these are the works of Adams “beyond a reasonable doubt” and were thought to have been lost at a 1937 fire in his Yosemite National Park Studio.
3) A scrap metal dealer in the US midwest once purchased a golden egg for $13,000.
He actually thought that the egg would be a worth a little more as it was made from gold. But little did he know that he had unknowingly stumbled upon a rare Faberge egg worth a whooping $33,300,000!
It turned out that this rare Faberge egg was owned by the Russian Tsar Alexander III almost a century ago and was lost during the Russian Revolution.
4) In 1989, a Philadelphia collector liked the frame of a painting in a flea market and bought it for $4.
Since he interested in the frame alone, he discarded the painting as soon as he got home. But to his surprise, he found something hidden behind the painting. Folded in size of an envelope was a rare, first printing of the Declaration of Independence. The collector had no idea but decided to keep it out of curiosity. It was only in 1991 that he had copy of authenticated. It was sold at an auction for $1.6 million.
5) A 73-year-old Californian woman bought a painting at a thrift store for just $5 in 1992.
She bought the painting for a friend, but when the dinner table-sized painting didn’t fit into her friend’s trailer, she put it out for sale in yard sale. It was there that an art collector identified the painting as a Jackson Pollock which was actually worth millions of dollars! A fingerprint on the painting helped experts establish authenticity. Although the woman received an offer of $9 million for the painting, she announced that she would not accept anything less than $50 million for the painting.
6) In 2010, a three-year-old British boy, James Hyatt, was playing in a nearby field with his father’s metal detector when it suddenly started beeping.
James ran to his father and both of them started digging at the exact spot. To their amazement, they found a 16th-Century gold pendant that had the image of the Virgin Mary engraved on it. Experts estimated the pendant to be worth $4 million.
7) During aa game of Masterpiece, an auction-based art game, an Indiana man saw a painting in one of the game cards that looked similar to a painting he had at his home.
He had been using the painting to cover a hole in a wall at his home for years! Back home, he sent an email to Kennedy Galleries with digital images of the painting he had and for his surprise, it turned out to be $1.25 million. The painting was “Magnolias on Golden Velvet Cloth” by the famous 19th-century American painter Martin Johnson Heade.
8) In 2010, Randy Guijarro came across a tintype photo of a group of people playing croquet. He paid $2 for the photo.
Little did he know that he had become the owner of a rare photograph of Billy the Kid, the infamous Wild West outlaw, and his gang, the Regulators. Guijarro was conducted by Jeff Aiello, a National Geographic producer, who heard about his plight in verifying the photograph. Guijarro offered him help in return for permission to make a self-funded documentary depicting Guijarro’s journey to authenticate the photo. When the photograph got authenticated, National Geographic become interested in the documentary, and it was released as “Billy the Kid: New Evidence” in 2015. The $2 photograph is now worth $5 million.
9) In 2010, Andy Fields, an English businessman, bought five paintings for $5 at a Las Vegas garage sale.
He discovered a hidden sketch inside one of the paintings when he went to reframe them. The sketch was that of singer Rudy Vallee of the year 1930s. But the intriguing part was that it was made by Andy Warhol, the famous visual- movement activist. A signature on the back of the sketch helped to verify the authenticity. The sketch was valued at $2 million.
10) A New York family was at a garage sale in 2007 when they picked up a decorative Chinese bowl for their living room for just $3.
What they didn’t realize is that it was actually a 1,000-year-old treasure! The five-inch-diameter bowl was made of ceramic and had a unique saw-tooth pattern on its outer body. The bowl was eventually purchased for $2.2 million in a Sotheby auction. According to experts, the bowl was from the era of the Northern Song Dynasty of China (960 – 1127).