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Thrift stores always have a treasure trove of vintage clothing items, posters of kittens, and old kitchen appliances. Occasionally though, you might come across an actual treasure amongst the aisles of discarded items. Here are some of the most unbelievable thrift store finds that ended up being worth a fortune!
Bought For: $14
Zachary Bodish noticed an item when he was walking through the aisles of the Volunteers of America thrift store in Columbus, Ohio. It was a reproduction Picasso poster and Zachary bought it for only $14. Soon, he discovered that it was actually a linocut made by Picasso himself and finally sold it for $7,000!
Bought For: $2.48
After cleaning out his house, Stan Caffy from Nashville sold this copy of the Declaration of Independence for pennies as it seemed worthless. Then, a man named Michael Sparks went to the Music City Thrift Store in Nashville one day, and he noticed the beautiful copy of the Declaration. It was only $2.48, so he bought it immediately. Later, after Sparks did some research, he realized that this copy might be something special. Therefore, he took it to an auction house, and they confirmed that it was an official copy of the Declaration of Independence made in 1820. There were 200 of them in all and only 35 had been found. This one was the 36th.
Bought For: $14,000
Value: $33 million
A scrap dealer bought this Fabergé egg from a flea market, spending $14,000 on it. The egg was made of gold, so he planned to melt it down and sell the gold. Fortunately, it was then discovered that this particular egg was an Easter gift from Czar Alexander III to his wife, Maria Feodorovna, in 1887.
Bought For: $5.99
Zach Norris planned to buy a golf bag in a Phoenix, Arizona Goodwill, but he was attracted by a watch which only cost him $5.99. Norris knew this was a 1959 LaCoultre Deep Sea Alarm, and he sold it on eBay for $35,000.
Bought For: $ 0.58
Sean and Rikki McEvoy bought this sweater for less than a dollar in a Knoxville, Tennessee thrift shop. Later that day, when they were watching a documentary on football coach Vince Lombardi, he recognized the name from the sweater's name tag. Finally, they sold it for $43,020.
Bought For: $38
Value: $160, 175
A British man bought a Breitling watch for $38 at a flea market. Later, this watch turned out to be the one Sean Connery wore as James Bond in the film Thunderball!
Bought For: $30
Value: $1.2 million
An Indiana man planned to buy a painting to cover up a hole in his wall at home, so he went to a local thrift shop and paid $30 for this painting. A while later, when he was playing a board game about famous art, he recognized that one of the game cards featured the painting. It turned out to be the "Magnolias on Gold Velvet Cloth" by Martin Johnson Heade and was worth $1.2 million!
Bought For: £20
Value: over £200,000
London man John Richard is an amateur antique hunter, and one day he bought this Andy Warhol print bag for only £20 at Oxfam, a local thrift store. Then, he took the bag to a Philip Treacy store. They confirmed that the world-renowned milliner, Philip Treacy made it. The price for this bag was £200 originally, but now it was worth much much more.
Bought For: $4
An Australian man bought this cup from a thrift shop for $4. He couldn’t help thinking though that this might be a special cup, so he sent a photo of it to a Sotheby's auctioneer. It turned out to be a 17th-century Chinese Libation Cup made from rhino horn. In the end he sold it for $60,400.
Bought For: $5
Early in 1994, a golfer went into a Toronto thrift store, and a green jacket caught his eye. He purchased it for just $5. It turned out to be an authentic jacket from a 1950s Augusta National. A memorabilia company bought the jacket for $139,349.
Bought For: $3
A woman bought this metal bowl for just $3 at a thrift store in Somerset, England. Then, she took it to be appraised, and the experts confirmed that it was a Chinese tripod censer dating back to the 18th century Qianlong period!
Bought For: $8
Jennifer Thompson bought this Nintendo game Stadium Events for just $8 at a North Carolina thrift store. Later, someone purchased it from her for $25,000.
Bought For: $0.2
Students Skyer Ashworth and Talia Rappa noticed six 1980s-era NASA spacesuits at a thrift store in Florida. They bought them at once for a mere 20 cents each. Actually, each suit could be worth $5,000!
Bought For: $9.99
On the way to sell her artwork, Beth Feeback bought two huge paintings for $9.99 each, with the intent to reuse the canvasses for her own art. Later she showed the two paintings to a friend who found out a label on the back of the canvasses - Weatherspoon Art Gallery. Her friend suggested that she should do some research about them. Months later, before Feeback painted over the huge paintings, she did the research and found out that one of them was "Vertical Diamond" by a well-known abstract artist, Ilya Bolotowsky. Finally, Feeback took the painting to an auction, and it was sold for $34,375.
Bought For: $5
Value: over $2 million
Andy Fields, an art collector and businessman, bought five paintings for $5 each at a garage sale in Las Vegas. Later, he found that behind one of those paintings was a sketch of 1930s singer Rudy Vallee, signed by none other than Andy Warhol. It is now worth over $2 million.
Bought For: $5
Value: $50 million
Teri Horton, a retired truck driver, once bought a painting for $5 in a California thrift shop. She planned to give it to her friend as a gift, but it was too big to fit her friend's house. So, she had to take it back. Later, Horton decided to sell it. When an art teacher came by, Horton was told that the painting could be a Jackson Pollock's artwork. Horton asked, "Who The #$&% Is Jackson Pollock?" After the art teacher told Horton that Pollock was a famous painter, she began to do her research. Her story to have the painting authenticated later became a 2006 documentary. She was sure that this painting was worth $50 million. To this day, Horton still owns this painting.