They say one man’s trash is another man’s treasure. This is especially true with some things that people originally thought were junk but actually turned out to be worth a fortune.
A few of these items may have been thrown away or sold at a garage sale. However, others have been hidden away for several years before its owner realizes the truth about its value. For instance, a tiny ivory chess piece that was sold for only $6 back in 1964 turned out to be one of the missing Lewis Chessman pieces and is actually worth more than $1.2 million.
Here are 10 “junk” items that turned out to be worth a fortune:
#1. Winston Churchill’s Top Hat
A garbage dump might be the last place you would expect to find the rare belongings of a former Prime Minister but that’s exactly where David Rose found Winston Churchill’s things. Rose came across a top hat, a cigar, and a collection of letters, which he brought to the BBC show Antique Roadshow.
According to a specialist, the items are valued at more than $13,000.
#2. The Caravaggio In The Attic
Hidden away in an attic in Toulouse, France was an impressive painting which depicts a woman beheading a man. The woman is believed to be Judith, a woman with her own book in the bible who killed the Assyrian general Holofernes to save her countrymen.
The subject of the painting itself isn’t the shocking thing about the painting. It is believed to be an original painting by the Renaissance painter Caravaggio and is estimated to be worth between $114 million and $171 million.
#3. The Diamond Ring From The Boot Sale
What’s the most expensive piece in your jewelry box? For a lady named Debra Goddard, it’s a “glass” ring she bought for only $13 at a boot sale. That’s because the glass turned out to be a 26.27-carat diamond worth $957,000.
#4. Michael Jordan’s Shoes
Maintenance worker Larry Awe was cleaning an abandoned mall when he came across a pair of sneakers that happened to have the signature of basketball legend Michael Jordan. The shoes are estimated to sell for about $20,000.
#5. The Meteorite Doorstop
What do you do if you find a meteorite? For one man in Michigan, he decided to use it for a doorstop. However, he eventually brought it to Central Michigan University to find out if it was worth something.
Although it looks just like a regular rock capable of holding a door, the meteorite is valued at $100,000.
#6. Picasso’s Plate
A woman from Rhode Island did the right thing when she purchased a ceramic plate for less than $100 and immediately hung it up on her wall. Unfortunately, the spot she chose was directly above her stove so the plate was eventually covered in grease.
She eventually took it down and brought it to Antique Roadshow> Much to her surprise, she was informed that she is the proud owner of a 1955 Madoura plate designed by Pablo Picasso – and it is worth $10,000.
#7. The Barn Filled With Classic Cars
It seems like the most valuable things turn up in forgotten places all over France. Motorcar specialists came across a 100-year-old barn that has been hiding away about $18 million worth of classic cars.
The collection belonged to a collector named Roger Baillon who stored them for safekeeping but somehow forgot that he had a 1961 Ferrari 250 GT SWB California Spyder (among other models).
#8. The Gigantic Pearl Under The Bed
Most of us have good luck charms like lucky underwear or shirts. However, a fisherman from the Philippines had a truly gigantic pearl hidden under his bed.
The man claims that his boat’s anchor hit the clam that made the huge pearl. At 1 foot wide and 2.2 feet long and weighing 75 pounds, the pearl is believed to be the largest one made naturally and is estimated to be worth $100 million.
#9. Jesse James’ Portrait
How’s this for a truly amazing eBay find? Justin Whiting was browsing the website when he found what appears to be a 19th-century picture of a young boy who looks like the outlaw Jesse James. Whiting decided to buy it for around $13 and immediately took it to a photo expert.
His instincts were correct; Will Dunniway confirmed that the image shows a teenaged Jesse James and is said to be worth more than $2 million.
#10. The Navajo Blanket
Sometimes the treasure could be hiding in your closet. Loren Krytzer was down on his luck when he saw a blanket being valued at $500,000 on Antique Roadshow. Since he had a similar-looking blanket that has been a family heirloom, he decided to have it checked at an auction house.
As it turns out, Krytzer had a truly valuable piece. The Navajo blanket was made in the 1800s and was sold for $1.5 million.
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