12 of the Most Valuable Thrift Store Finds of All Time!
Every time we visit a thrift store we joke about finding a Van Gogh and retiring but, for some people, that is their reality! Check out some of the most valuable things people have found at thrift stores!
The Declaration of Independence: $477,650
We've all heard of the man who bought a $4 painting at a garage sale, found an original copy of the Declaration of Independence inside, and sold it for $2.4 million. A once-in-a-lifetime story, right? Not so much, actually.
Michael Sparks was visiting a Nashville thrift store, where he bought a candleholder, a set of salt and pepper shakers, and a yellowed print of the Declaration of Independence. Sparks figured the document was a worthless, modern reprint, so he paid the asking price -- $2.48 -- and headed home.
After looking over the document for a few days, he wondered if it might be older than he initially thought. So he hopped on the internet to do some research and soon realized he had purchased one of only 200 official copies of the Declaration of Independence commissioned by John Quincy Adams in 1820. Of those 200, 35 had been found intact; he had number 36.
It took a year for Sparks to have the print authenticated and preserved and then he put it up for auction, netting a final sale price of $477,650.
The salt and pepper shakers, on the other hand, were still worthless.
Photo of Billy the Kid: $5,000,000
A photo purchased for $2 at a Fresno shop has been described by a Western Americana expert as "the holy grail of photography."
It is believed to be just the second photo ever seen of William H. Bonney. The infamous outlaw "Billy the Kid" is actually seen playing croquet in the picture. A historical find was not on Randy and Linda Guijarro's mind when Randy browsed a Tower District junk store in 2010.
"These were just two cardboard boxes about this long about that high," Guijarro said.
Three photos caught his eye. Two featured women but a voice in his head told him to take the dark tin type photo of a country scene.
A picture may be worth a thousand words but this one's worth much more. It was recently authenticated by Western Americana expert Kagin's Incorporated in Tiburon. Its value was set at $5 million.
LeCoultre Deep Sea Alarm Watch: $35,000
For Zach Norris (not relative of Chuck as far as we know) the dream became a reality recently when he walked into a Phoenix, Arizona Goodwill store looking for a used push-pull golf cart. He stopped by and dug through the store's watch basket on his way out. The basket was filled with Fossil watches with dead batteries (surely overpriced). But at the bottom was a watch, face down, that caught his interest. The dial said "LeCoultre Deep Sea Alarm." The price? $5.99. It turns out that the watch, while not in perfect condition, was still rare enough to neck Zach a $34,994.01 profit!