20 Of The Craziest Family Heirlooms From Around The World

By Aaron Love 10 months ago

Van Gogh Painting

Image Source: Olaf Kraak
Imagine being the man that thought he had been conned out of money for what he thought was a Van Gogh painting. He left it in his attic angry at wasting his money! Little would he ever know that a hundred years later, once it had been found by his descendants it would turn out to be a real Van Gogh piece, being valued at nearly $100 million dollars.

Ex Lovers Cigarettes

Image Source: BuzzFeed
When you hear the word heirloom, you probably think about something expensive or valuable to a family that gets passed down through generations. But it could be anything really, as seen when this woman showed that her grandma had collected cigarettes all the people that she had dated had smoked. She even wrote all their names down on them, what a woman!

Space Coins!

Image Source: BuzzFeed
From something that has no monetary value whatsoever to something I'm sure would sell for quite a wad full of cash, this person was passed this coin. Their grandparent had actually worked for NASA assisting in the work that led to man landing on the moon for the first time. Everyone working on the mission received a coin which was made out of metal from the shuttle itself!

Kids Swallowed Objects

Image Source: Reddit
This one is completely bizarre and goes back to how things with no monetary value can gain some form of random value to generations of family members. This person received a file containing a note and some small items, all of which had been swallowed and then released from the child. That is absolutely grim when you think about it, imagine all the germs that might still remain!

The Crown Jewels

Image Source: Reddit
These are some of the most popular and well-known family heirlooms in the entirety of modern history. Although not passed down solely through family, they have been passed down from British monarch to British monarch since around the late 1600's to early 1700's. They include the crown that you will have seen Queen Elizabeth II wear for decades and still be seen in the Tower of London!

Hidden Comic Stash

Image Source: lovemoney.com
I'm sure there's a load of you reading this that actually thoroughly enjoy (or previously enjoyed) reading comics of all varieties. Superhero comics are obviously some of the most popular options and one man found a stash of nearly 400 comics in his late great aunt's home including the first appearance of Batman that ended up selling for more than $3million.

A Ceramic Bean

Image Source: mamamia
This is proof that absolutely anything can become an heirloom that gets passed down from generation to generation. It's not like this will really have any monetary value but what it does have is some random family stories that can actually be more valuable then anyone might ever understand. It's a fun little piece, that's for sure; I'm not sure what you'd do with it though.

Ration Cook Books

Image Source: BuzzFeed
Sometimes the things that get past down through family history as heirlooms are more interesting in the story that they tell than they are as worth a load of money. This person received a cookbook, which on its own is quite boring, but its actually dated back to during the great depression! I can't imagine those ration meals are so filling these days.

Ration Book

Image Source: Metro
From someone's ration cookbook to their actual book of rations; all of them are marked with what they did and didn't get for that period of time as well as being dated and signed. It's crazy to imagine that within just 100 years we've gone from having to ration our foods during the war to having almost anything available to us at the tap of a screen.

Circus Chest

Image Source: BuzzFeed
There was once a period of time in which people enjoyed nothing more than heading to the circus with their family; it was even quite appealing to join the circus as an act yourself. One person inherited this chest that belonged to a great relation, one of whom that ran away to join the circus as a tightrope walker. A difficult job to learn I'm sure!

Hot Wheels Car

Image Source: Antiques Roadshow PBS
Okay, so you probably aren't going to have one of these hot wheels cars in your collection, but it might be worth having a brief look just in case! This is THE ultimate car if your a hot wheels collector as they weren't ever actually released to the public. This person's father worked at the Mattel factory where they were made and managed to snag one for his family!

Roosevelt Hair Bouquet

Image Source: Geni
Some heirlooms are a little weirder than others, but this one has some more importance thanks to the name that comes with it. Franklin D. Roosevelt was obviously the president of the US and he received this as a gift from an ancestor of his own. As you might be able to tell its a bouquet made out of hair from hundreds of years of his ancestors, bit creepy!

King James V Rib

Image Source: Art UK
Okay, so if someone passed me down a human rib I'd be a little confused, especially as to how it came into their possession in the first place! Back in the early 1800's and American doctor, Robert Honeyman, left the rib of King James V (a king of Scotland during the 1500's) to his son, in a will printed in newspapers for all to see. What do you do with that one?

Giant Lobster Claw

Image Source: Bored Panda
One of the weirdest family heirlooms to be passed around is this giant lobster claw that has been past down three generations now. It was sent over to Denmark from Maine back in 1945 and actually arrived full of American chocolates too! I'm not gonna lie, I had no idea that there could be lobsters with claws that could actually grow to that size, imagine the damage!

Auntie's Doll

Image Source: Quora
Having something handed down to you from the older generations can actually be quite a warming thing to go through. This lady was given a doll that belonged to her auntie during the early 1900's, the thing was, her auntie actually didn't live past the age of three as a result of meningitis. It really does show you how precious life can be and how quickly it can be taken!

Gardening Manual

Image Source: Quora
The Oration of Demosthenes On The Crown sounds like some sort of crazy academic piece of writing, but you might be surprised to hear that its just a gardening manual! Those crazy golden oldies right. I wonder how different the rules of gardening were back in the mid 1800's; how did they cut the grass efficiently back in the day and what was deemed to be the ideal look?

Earring Collection

Image Source: Quora
This person received a box full of earrings from an older female relative and, although some of them are just tacky earrings made from inexpensive material, its the personal value that makes them so important. You have to think, across a hundred years or so, multiple people with different stories might have worn these earrings in a load of environments.

Lesbian Literature

Image Source: PBS
During the period of the early 1900's anything deemed to portray lesbian or gay relations was deemed obscene over in the UK and this book was actually banned there. Whereas in the US a special edition was released where to celebrate it beig allowed here. This man was left one of the 225 special editions and found out its worth on Antiques Roadshow!

Burmese Ring

Image Source: PBS
All of us dream to have something insane and expensive passed down to us during our lifetimes. This person, who also appeared on antiques roadshow, actually followed the inheritance line for the ring and ultimately found out it featured Burmese rubies as well as diamonds and gold! Nice little cash influx if they wanted it I'm sure, or would you rather keep them forever?

The Picasso Plate

Image Source: PBS
Imagine having a piece of artwork created by an infamous artist like Picasso but just having it hang over your kitchen stove for years? It took years and a trip to an art gallery for this person to realise that they'd actually had an original Picasso piece watching over them cooking for their kids. After giving it a good clean it turned out to be worth upwards of $15,000!

An Old Novel

Image Source: BuzzFeed
Getting your written work published can be quite a task, especially if you're a newcomer on the block and don't have any history in the industry. This person actually received an entire novel transcript that hadn't been published, written all the way back in 1912. No one else will know what it is, but they have the one and only original copy forever!

An Old Baptism Gown

Image Source: BuzzFeed
Like I said before, some of the things we get passed down to come with much monetary value, but they do tell stories that allow us to understand what went on in our ancestors lives! This person received an image of their great great grandfather's baptism gown along with an image of them. Picture proof just makes it all the more awe-inspiring doesn't it?

Galileo Letter

Image Source: PBS
Italian Astronomer Galileo is widely known as the father of astronomy and contributed to some of the first observations of planets like Saturn and Venus. For this reason, anything containing his signature is widely desired! His grandfather bought it in the early 1900's and the inheritor went on to sell it for more than $100,000! You'd be absolutely buzzing after that one!

First Edition Books

Image Source: BBC
If you've moved in to a home that used to belong to some of your own ancestors then you might want to consider opening up the loft or the basement and checking any leftover boxes. Over in the UK this couple found some first edition, original Beatrix Potter books that, even though they were damaged, cost upwards of $25,000. Imagine how much they'd get for a perfectly conditioned set!

Ancient Lion

Image Source: Antiques Roadshow PBS
If you are (or you were) a common viewer of Antiques Roadshow then you might remember this find. Ancient Chinese art is always going to be wanted by antiques hunters and this particular marble lion actually dated back to the 6th century, the golden period of Chinese are known as the Tang Dynasty. Imagine inheriting something worth nearly $200,000 out of nowhere!

Vintage Corvette

Image Source: Mecum Auctions
It isn't particularly common for people to receive cars as an inheritance, never mind a vintage Corvette Stingray. Not only that, but it had hardly been used meaning that its condition was almost perfect at the time it was eventually valued and auctioned off. Although it's only a 1967 piece, only really going down one generation, it auctioned off for more than $600,000.

A Stunt Jacket

Image Source: BuzzFeed
This lady actually received a pretty snazzy leather jacket which originally belonged to her great uncle who was affectionately named Porky! He became infamous for his motorcycle stunts, sometimes performed for adrenaline seeking crowds whilst he also worked as a stuntman for films during the period. It even came with some pins and badges too! You wouldn't wear it would you?

Meat Market Safe

Image Source: Reddit
Although this family heirloom didn't look quite so good when it was first discovered they definitely made it look top quality by the time they were done. This safe actually dates back around 150 years and actually ended up in the offices of a meat market in Detroit. The market shut down 50 or so years ago but the safe has continued to remain in the family.

World War Camera

Image Source: BuzzFeed
Its quite crazy to see how technology has advanced in the last 100 years or so, or in the case of this old camera and its lenses 80 years! This camera was passed down to a man's grandchild with the story following it too. He bought the camera IN Germany, DURING World War 2. Imagine the images that could have been taken on this little camera and the stories they told!

Old Baseball Cards

Image Source: Antiques Roadshow PBS
These probably don't look quite as similar as the baseball collector cards that you might see today, but these actually feature images and signatures of the FIRST EVER professional baseball players from back in 1871. They would have originally been valued at nothing pretty much but in 2015 when they were valued it was estimated at more than $1million dollars.