Ah, the benefits of homeownership: saying goodbye to rising rent prices, settling in a place you can call your own, and…finding hidden treasure?
People have found some bizarre things in their homes, but sometimes these things can be incredibly valuable.
Is there a pot of gold hiding in your home? Check out some of the most unbelievably valuable things homeowners have found across the world.
#1. A night at the movies – Blair Pitre’s treat
What? Over 350 vintage movie posters
Where? A newly purchased home in Alberta, Canada
What are they worth? $50,000
In 2007, Blair Pitre bought a home in the Lacombe area of Alberta, Canada. He was a general contractor by trade, and as general contractors do, he decided to renovate his newly purchased home.
But as Pitre began opening up walls, he noticed strange sheets of paper lining the inside. Pulling out a pair of needle nose pliers, he started extracting the sheets from the walls’ cavities one-by-one. Pitre could never have guessed what he would find: over 350 vintage movie posters from the 1920s and 30s.
He recognized many faces of early cinema greats, including Charlie Chaplin, Joan Crawford, and Greta Garbo, which were all surprisingly well-preserved deep inside the walls of Pitre’s home.
These faces weren’t just nice to look at, they also fetched a sizeable sum of cash. In fact, Pitre eventually sold these posters at an auction for an astounding $50,000. Take a bow, Blair. You earned it.
#2. Some honest pay for Honest Abe
What? A signed photo album of President Abraham Lincoln and his entire Cabinet.
Where? A basement in Annisquam, Massachusetts
What’s it worth? $100,000
On the north shore of Boston, there is a home. And inside this home is a basement filled with family photo albums, assorted trinkets and other forgotten knick-knacks.
These things once belonged to a woman whose granddaughter was tasked with cleaning out her grandmother’s basement. The stacks of photo albums, in particular, were more of a boon than a burden for the granddaughter, because she happened to be a professional photographer. So she loaded up her car, and brought the albums home to her Boston apartment to scour at her leisure.
That’s when she found it. The woman opened one very old album from the 1860s, scrolled through the list of portraits, and discovered none other than President Abraham Lincoln among the names. Lo-and-behold, Abe’s picture (along with his very rare signature) lived within the pages of that album.
Most people walk away from a chore like cleaning out a basement with little more than the satisfaction of getting it done. But after taking the album to an appraiser, this woman turned out a bit luckier – $100,000 luckier!
#3. A 21st century gold rush
What? An 6.07lb. lump of gold
Where? A backyard in California
What’s it worth? $400,000
On January 24, 1848, the discovery of gold in Coloma, CA by James W. Marshall launched the frenzy that was the California Gold Rush. 163 years later, the ghost of this period in history reappeared when a California man discovered a 6 lb. golden nugget – in his own backyard.
Armed with a metal detector and a shovel, the man uncovered this precious metal in Butte County, California. It later sold to a prominent Bay Area collector for about $400,000.
Yet, unlike the original Gold Rush of the 19th century, the names of both the buyer and discoverer, as well as the exact location, are under strict lock-and-key anonymity. There’s a very high probability that this enormous golden nugget isn’t the only treasure buried within the man’s property. So if you’re in Butte County and encounter a backyard dug up to the dirt, you can probably guess why.
#4. Pow! Crash! Bang! Bank!
What? 345 collectible comics
Where? A closet in Martinsville, Virginia
What’s it worth? $3.5 million
What’s stashed away in your closet? Clothes? Shoes? A vintage comic book collection worth several million dollars!
That’s exactly what Michael Rorrer found in his great aunt’s closet when he was cleaning out her home after she passed away. He discovered 345 comics in total, all neatly stacked and stashed away. A cool find, he thought, but nothing to write home about.
Out of curiosity, Rorrer decided to take the collection to a professional for an opinion on its value. Turns out, he didn’t just find collectibles worth some money, he discovered one of the most valuable personal collections of comic books ever assembled.
Rorrer put the collection up at a New York City auction, where he walked away with $3.5 million dollars. A 1939 copy of Detective Comics No. 27, which features the debut of Batman, fetched the top bid of $523,000.
"I couldn't believe what I had sitting there," Rorrer said – but really, who could?
#5. Paint us surprised
What? An Original Van Gogh Painting
Where? An residential attic in Norway
What’s it worth? $20 million+
“Sunset at Montmajour” is a Vincent Van Gogh masterpiece. The oil painting depicts a French landscape in which light, color, and technique combine to make one stunning work of art. There’s just one problem. After Van Gogh’s passing, “Sunset at Montmajour” was branded a fake and banished to a Norwegian collector’s attic for more than a century. And that’s where it sat, until his home was sold.
When the new homeowners discovered the painting, they suspected it might be something special and reached out to the Van Gogh Museum in Amsterdam. Experts from the museum eventually authenticated the work of art, but only after extensive research, including investigating technique, and reviewing letters of correspondence between Van Gogh and his associates.
Getting the painting authenticated turned out to be time well spent, and that’s an understatement. “Sunset at Montmajour” is currently valued around a staggering $20 million.
Whoever said, “curiosity killed the cat,” probably never thought that real treasure could be found so close to home. For you, these might turn out to be more than random fun facts, and instead become inspiration to dig through your home and start finding gold – literally and figuratively.