Who hasn’t dreamed of being a treasure-hunting Indiana Jones or Lara Croft? The sense of anticipation, excitement and then the joy of finding something truly priceless. Even so, sometimes it’s just a matter of luck – being in the right place at the right time without having to trek deep into a jungle or search the ocean depths!?
Here are 10 lucky people who found amazing treasures in the most unexpected places; these stories make us want to declutter our attics and scour some flea markets! Have you ever had any unexpected finds? Share your stories with us below!
1. This signed Jackson Pollock painting was bought for $5!
Thrift shops can be real treasure troves! In 1992, Teri Horton went to a thrift shop in San Bernardino, California in order to buy a present for a friend. She fell for this painting and offered to buy it for $5. The deal was done, but unfortunately the painting was too big for her friend's walls so Teri decided to sell it on.
It was during a yard sale that an art teacher spotted the painting and said it looked like a genuine Jackson Pollock. Teri promptly got it valued and discovered that it had traces of the artist's fingerprints!
An art collector offered her $2m, but she didn't want to sell it for under $50m... A hefty sum, which may explain why the painting is still in her possession!
2. An original copy of the Declaration of Independence in a $4 frame
In 1989, a man from Adamstown, Pennsylvania bought a $4 dollar picture so that he could repair and use the frame. When he took out the canvas he found a folded piece of paper that made his jaw drop! It was nothing less than an original copy of the Declaration of Independence dated 1776. David N. Redden, the head of the book and manuscript department at Sotheby's, confirmed its authenticity, but the lucky man wanted to remain anonymous.
The document was put up for sale at auction and fetched the princely sum of $2,420,000. Imagine if the seller hadn't bothered to remove the canvas...
3. Money hidden behind a bathroom wall
Renovating a room can cause chaos... Dust, trash and lot of hard labor meant that Amanda Reece decided to call in a pro to knock down the walls and renovate the bathroom in her Cleveland house.
When the builder knocked down one of the walls he found two green metal boxes and when Amanda opened them she found rare bills dating from the 20s as well as Depression-era currency. Their total worth? A cool $180,000! Maybe we should all think about renovating our homes!
4. Roman treasure that was discovered in a field by a metal detector
Eric Lawes was a retired gardener who decided to help a friend who had lost his hammer in a field. Armed with his metal detector, they started to search and stumbled upon the most the largest cache of Roman gold to be discovered in Britain! He reported his find to the local authorities, who in turn called in a team of archaeologists. More than 14,000 items were unearthed, including rings, coins, bracelets and silver objects.
The trove was valued in 1993 and the retired gardener pocketed $4.3 for his loot. If you go to the British Museum, you can see the items on display - alongside the hammer that Eric Lawes' friend lost!
5. 3 brothers who found the golden treasure of Panagyurishte
A trove of Thracian treasure was discovered in 1949, close to the town of Panagyurishte in Bulgaria. It was found by the three Deikov brothers who were working in clay pit in a factory. Among the hoard was a platter, an amphora and 7 24 carat gold rhytons! The total weight of the objects came to almost 13,589lb. Archaeologists dated the collection to the 3rd Century BC and believe it either belonged to a member of the Thracian nobility or a very wealthy person.
For security reasons, this priceless collection is currently housed in the Bulgarian National Bank.
6. A priceless collection of baseball cards found in an attic
In 2011, after the death of his granddad, Karl Kissner decided to clear out the deceased's house and found 700 rare baseball cards hidden in a box. At first he didn't realize that he'd stumbled upon a fortune, but he later found out that this was the biggest and most exciting find in the history of sports card collecting!
In August of that year, the family decided to sell some of the cards at the National Sports Collectors Convention in Baltimore and experts told them that their collection could be worth a tidy $2-3m!
7. A treasure chest hidden in a forest
Lots of people enjoy metal detecting and one group of enthusiasts in Holland often heads out to local woods to see what they can find. They've come across so many objects that they even set up a YouTube channel in order to exhibit their finds.
One day they found a wooden treasure chest, but we'll never know what was inside as they never recorded it being opened!
8. A painting worth over $1m that was hung to cover a hole in a wall!
An Indiana home owner hung a $29 painting over a hole in a wall... One day they sat down to play a game of Masterpiece and noticed that this 'humble' painting looked just like a valuable work by the artist Martin Johnson Heade called Magnolias On Gold Velvet Cloth.
Its authenticity was confirmed in 1999 by experts at the Houston Museum of Fine Arts and the museum offered to buy it for $1.25m. Today the painting holds pride of place in the museum!
9. A safe that hid family secrets
We sometimes forget that our grandparents were once young people who may or may not have got up to mischief - or more! One day a family decided to clean up their grandmother's house and came across a huge safe in the attic. What they found inside was incredible!
The safe contained guns and bags of money worth $15,000! How or why this stash came to be here nobody knows... No one even knew this safe existed!
10. A rare Superman comic hidden in a wall
An extremely rare action comic book was found in a wall of a Minnesota house. It had been there for over 75 years and it was a comic book in which Superman makes his first appearance! It was while renovating this house in 2013 that a contractor called David Gonzalez made the discovery when he found it among newspapers that had been used to insulate the wall.
The comic book was sold several weeks later for $175,000! Unfortunately David accidentally ripped the back cover, which meant he sold it for around $50,000 less than a perfect copy would have achieved.