The common ethos of the garage sale is that someone else’s trash could be your treasure. Donating or selling household items that have lost their lustre is a great way to give someone a chance to repurpose and enjoy your has-been home decorations.
Going from yard sale to yard sale, or even "dumpster diving", can be regarded as a new green trend. But for the following individuals, the discovery of their treasure was equal parts fate and dumb luck.
Here are five valuable items that have been found after someone unknowingly considered them garbage.
1. Not a rotten Apple
Recently, a California woman dropped off what she thought was an old Apple Computer, but the employees at the Silicon Valley recycling centre recognized that this piece of machinery was special. They have been trying to locate the woman that tossed the first generation computer, now valued at over $200,000.
2. Ugly Pollock
A retired truck driver was looking for a gag gift and had a budget of five dollars. Teri Horton decided to use her fiver to pick up a painting from a San Bernardino thrift shop that she thought was “ugly,” but it turns out beauty truly is in the eye of the beholder. The first several attempts to authenticate the large painting failed, but a Jackson Pollock expert from Montreal determined that is was genuine and valued it at $50 million. It is currently still for sale.
3. Lotto ticket
In 2005, an 83-year-old man found a winning lotto ticket worth $1 million dollars. The man would search through trash cans outside of convenience stores hoping a winner inadvertently found its way into the trash. The lucky find did bring some misfortune when another man claimed he purchased all the “Hold Em Poker” tickets that day from the location where it was found. A legal dispute ensued and the dumpster diving chap walked away with $140,000 award.
4. Fake Van Gogh?
A Norwegian man thought the framed print in his attic was a fake, but it turned out that the painting had been lost for over 100 years. In 2013, art historians confirmed that the painting was a legitimate Van Gogh masterpiece painted in 1888, around the same time the Dutch master completed his famous Sunflowers.
5. Declaration of Independence
A Pennsylvania man bought a painting at a flea market, but only because he liked the frame. When he got home, he removed the ripped painting from the frame to find a document tucked behind the picture. It was one of the 25 copies of the Declaration of Independence made by John Dunlap on July 4, 1776. The four dollar frame ended up fetching the buyer $2.48 million at a Sotheby’s auction.