Thrift Shop Finds That Made People Rich

By Nick Hadji 7 months ago

1. Ansel Adams lost negatives

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A painting in 2000, California, went to a garage sale and noticed some prints of Yosemite on glass plates. They were old photo negatives but he recognized them by their style as Ansel Adams's work. He bought them for $45 and asked experts to confirm if they were to which they agreed. They were then deemed to be worth $200 million. He sold some and eventually was sued by Ansel Adams publishing company who denied they were his world.Original content sourced from Femanin.com

2. A (very) lucky rock

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A man had his rock in his bedroom for 10 years and he had carried it around with him believing it to be his good luck rock. In 2016, he carried it to a tourism office, keeping it with him which wasn't unusual. However, he then realized he'd had no idea just how lucky this rock was. Somebody informed him it was the largest pearl in the world, worth around $100 million and weighing a massive 75 pounds.

3. The lost Faberge egg

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A scrap metal dealer found an ornate golden egg from somebody selling it at a marker. He paid $14,000 for it realizing it was probably worth more when he melted it down -which he intended on doing. Until he searched in Google and found an article from a few years prior about a lost Faberge egg created for Russian royalty. After getting it assessed by an expert it was indeed the egg and it is worth an estimated $33 million!

4. A joke present turned lost Jackson Pollock

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In 1992 Teri Horton picked up a random painting for 5 dollars in an attempt to make her friend laugh when she gave the gift. She had no room for it and Horton took it to a garage sale and the artist advised her to get it checked out as she recognized Jackson Pollock's style. It was true, it was found to be a Pollock piece when a forensic identified his fingerprint. She in turn offered $9 million but she refused in order to get more money!

5. Billy the Kid's 1 dollar print

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A man from California in 2010 was rifling through some boxes at a shop and bought some tiny old photographs for just one dollar each. He recognized the boy and after some research and expert opinions realized that it was indeed the iconic Billy the Kid. It is one of two pictures of Billy the Kid in the world and this small photo alone is worth $5 million!

6. A broken teapot

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When a charity shop hunter picked up an old and broken teapot in 2018 she merely thought it was an interesting piece of antique porcelain. She was VERY shocked to discover that it was actually one of the first created teapots in America by the famous British pottery maker John Bartlam. Her 20-dollar bargain turned into a hefty profit selling for over $800,000.

7. An Elvis Presley bargain

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A man names John Richard went to a charity shop in the UK in 2010 and found an interesting bag with Elvis Presley's face on it. He bought it for $30 and followed a hunch that the bag was made by Philip Treacy. He went to get it confirmed and it ended up that the bag was one of only 10 ever created by none other than Andy Warhol. It was worth $450,000!

8. A spare piece of parchment or an official copy of the Declaration of Independence?

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A thrift shop regular, Michael Sparks, found a copy of the Declaration of Independence which he bought for less than $3 because it looked remarkably realistic. But he researched the paper and found it wasn't just a normal copy. It was one of 200 of the official copies that had been commissioned in 1820 by John Quincy Adams and it was worth $477,650!

9. The $13, 26 carat ring

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In 2017 a diamond ring that was thought to be fake was sold for 13 dollars at a junkyard sale. The buyer of course, according to the price,  thought it was just a piece of costume jewelry. But after wearing it for many years she was finally told that it was actually a 26-carat diamond that has been cut in the 1880s. And so she now had a $455,000 ring on her finger!

10. A lost piece of artwork

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Robin Darvell paid 46 dollars for a box of random things at an auction. He assumed it was a collection of interesting but worthless things. One of the items inside was a small painting that lay in his draw for 10 years until his son Rob acquired it and took attention to a signature. He followed his inclining and discovered that it was worth $390,00 as it was actually a painting by John Constable.

11. Expensive taste in jewellery

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A woman from Philadelphia attended a flea market in 2005 and picked up a statement necklace for $15 for herself. Around three years later she was attending an Alexander Calder exhibit and realized her necklace was very similar in style. She then discovered that it really was an original piece of his work and that it was in fact worth around $300,000.

12. An Antiques Roadshow discovery

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A former antique dealer and 81-year-old from South Carolina picked up a painting for 3 dollars at a store. He spied the frame which he believed to be from the 18th century and thought it was worth seeing if the painting was also so old. His daughter-in-law went onto the Antiques Roadshow with his piece and discovered it was a famous piece by a Flemish artist from the 17th century! And, it was worth $190,00!

13. An unusual cup...from the 17th century

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An Australian woman picked up a random, red cup from a thrift store that she was attracted to because of its uniqueness, she'd never seen anything like it and thought it would be worth seeing if it was valuable. It turned out that it was a 17th-century liberation cup. It had been created from a rhinoceros horn and she then sold it for around $75,000!

14. Wearing Vince Lombardi's jumper

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A couple from North Carolina were regular thrifters and they picked up a jumper for the husband to wear. After fixing it up due to a couple of holes he started to wear it. The two of them were sitting down one night watching a documentary about Vince Lombardi when they realized he was wearing their sweater. After finding his name inside, it sold for $43,000!

15. The first-ever Superman

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In 2010 a woman at a thrift store picked up a copy of a Superman comic. After looking at the comic for some time she realized it was published in 1938 and for a few cents, she had accidentally picked up one of the most expensive and sought-after comic books in existence. It was the first comic that ever featured Superman. In 2014 he sold it for $14 million.

16. Vintage Baseball cards

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In 2012 a family from the US found a collection of old baseball cards in the attic of their grandparents house. After a closer look, they found the collection had some extremely rare players. The cards turned out to be a super rare collection of vintage cards including Ty Cobb and Honus Wagner. Sometime later they were sold for $ 3 million at an auction!

17. One of the most expensive vases in the world

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In 2016 a man bought a vase from a UK thrift store. The vase merely appealed to him due to his appearance. It was decorated with traditional Chinese patterns and after having it looked at on a whim, it became clear that it was an 18th-century Qianlong-era porcelain vase that was worth a massive $56 million dollars after buying it for less than $10 dollars.

18. Old paper turned out to be original sketches

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In 2016 a woman bought a box of sketches for $50 dollars at a thrift store in California. She found out that these sketches were unseen original sketches that were done by the famous artist Leroy Neiman. She then went on to sell the box of sketches and fetched $60,000 for it making a hefty profit from an accidental stumbling across some original sketches.

19. An original Apple 1 Computer

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Usually, we discard our old electronics deeming them useless. However, a woman from California picked up a vintage Apple 1 computer (one of the first Apple computers ever made) and realized just how valuable it really was. She purchased it for $200 dollars along with a bunch of other stuff. then, she sold the rare computer and it reached up to $200,00!

20. A Picasso piece

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In 2015 in the US a woman picked up a piece of artwork for just $2 dollars because she liked the style and colors used in the painting. She then noticed after closer inspection that the artwork had a signature and delving into some further research she then actually found out it was none other than a Picasso piece which was subsequently valued at $50,000.

21. A car boot sale Rolex

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In the UK in 2017 a man attended a car boot sale. His eye was caught by a watch which was marked with the word Rolex which he bought for just $10. It actually turned out to be a rare Rolex Oyster Cosmograph model. He, by a happy accident, had purchased himself a $90,000 watch for just 10 dollars. After discovering its worth he went on to sell it instead!

22. A bunch of old books worth $175,000

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In 2013  a man bought what he thought was just a bunch of old books that he thought would be interesting to have. He paid $5 for the lot and after some looking through his purchases he found the first edition of The Federalist Papers. These were a collection of essays by the well-known Alexander Hamilton James Madison and John Jay. He then sold that boo alone for $175,000.

23. An autographed Harry Potter book!

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A Harry Potter fan accidentally purchased an original autographed version of Harry Potter in 2001 at a  thrift store. It cost her just $1.30. It did not seem to be known that the book was an original signed copy by J.K Rowling and so when the woman discovered it she realized how valuable it was and decided to sell it at an auction where it fetched around $33,000.

24. Original action figures

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Somebody picked up a bunch of toys and action figures at a thrift shop in Oregon, in 2018. She bought them for just two dollars only to discover later down the line that the toys contained the original Luke Skywalker and Princess Leia action figures! These are two very valued collectibles that are highly sought after and she sold them for over $10,000.

25. A rare Nintendo game

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In 2019 a man from the US purchased a box of old retro games from a thrift store. He handed over a handful of bucks with no true idea of what was inside or what they were worth. He found out that there was a rare Nintendo World Championships cartridge inside, one of 116 in production making it extremely rare to get hold of. And so he sold it for around $20,000.

26. A dusty old whiskey collection

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In 2021 a man from Scotland found a truck full of old, very dusty whiskeys at a thrift store. There was a collection all being sold together for $130 which he considered a very worthwhile deal. But on closer inspection and with the help of experts he found that they were vintage, rare whiskies as part of the collection which was estimated to be worth over $65,00 for the lot.

27. A single leaf of the Gutenberg Bible

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In 2011 somebody purchased an old leather-bound book from a Pennsylvanian thrift store. This person picked it up because they thought it was good quality. But it was more than this, they discovered inside the book an original leaf from the Gutenberg Bible! One of the rarest, most expensive, and most original books ever printed. The single leaf was worth $70,000.

28. A real samurai sword

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When a man in 2017 bought an old sword from a thrift store he thought it was a costume piece, not a real-life ancient sword. He paid $40 dollars for the interesting piece. But after some research, it became apparent that the sword was an authentic samurai Japanese katana from the 15th century. It was worth around $13,000 when it was sold at an auction.

29. An antique map collection

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In 2018 a woman picked up a box of old maps from a thrift store in France, They appealed to her because of their historic interest. Yet when she had the maps studied she found that they were extremely rare maps from the 16th and 17th century and included famous works from Gerardus Mercator and Abraham Ortelius. The map collection was then valued at $180,000,

30. A 600 BCE Egyptian Artefact

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When you go to a thrift store you do not expect to stumble across 600 BCE pieces of historical artefacts. But that's exactly what happened to a man in 2019 when he discovered a box of Egyptian artifacts including a funerary mask and a figurine. When they were assessed by experts they were traced back to the 26th dynasty. They were then sold for $30,000!

31. Your tips for making the most out of thrift store shopping: take a tape measure with you

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If you're shopping at a thrift store hoping to find clothing bargains, it can be very difficult to sift through sizes, with so many brands doing their own version of standard sizes! Know your measurements ahead of time and then take a tape measure with you, just in case there isn't a fitting room to try anything on, so that you can use the tape around the garment and check!

32. Don't buy items that don't fit just because you love them

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It can be a really heartbreaking thing to find the PERFECT item you've been looking for at such a bargain price in a thrift store, and it's the only one they have - and it happens to not be in your size. It's likely because you love it so much you'll buy it anyway and 'worry about that later', but chances are - unless you're a professional tailor - you're just not going to be able to make it work and it'll be a waste of money!

33. Give it the once over for rips/stains

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We already know that with thrifted items, they're likely not going to be in perfect condition. But some things can easily be sorted, while others can't. Make sure to check every inch of it thoroughly, as small rips or holes might easily be sewn up, while other issues like a very obvious stain when the rest of the garment is clean might suggest its a permanent stain that's never going to come out!

34. Take a device with you to price check

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Most people are going to have their phones on them anyway, but it's a good idea to have a device you can price check online against an item you find. If you're thrifting for bigger items, like designer clothes or vintage pieces, it's worth checking online to see if the thrift store price is actually fair - or if it's very obvious you're getting an absolute bargain with how they've priced it!

35. Do your research about materials and labels

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Some things you just know, like how solid wood is always going to be dependable and preferable to cheaper flat pack, or how materials like wool or silk need to be treated. But with a thrift shop you're going to get a huge manner of different materials and labels, so it's always helpful to know more about them before you go in and buy anything, just to be sure you can take care of it the right way!

36. Don't forget about upcycling

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You shouldn't go into a thrift store set on finding the perfect item in the condition it is - though of course that's possible, and fingers crossed it happens! Instead, think about what you want, and if there's something in there you can actually upcycle yourself to make it into the perfect thing you've been looking for. There might be a chair in there that's the right style but the wrong color - so buy it and paint it yourself!

37. Try electrical appliances before you buy

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When you're buying electrical items brand new, you (usually) don't have to worry about them not working. When they're secondhand, it's important to not waste your money on items that seem like such a good deal, but are faulty or don't work at all. So for things like that bargain slow cooker, iron or kettle you've found, try them out at the outlet in-store first.

38. Take your own donations with you

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We all have that bag of clothes or box of items that's been sat by the door for months because we keep promising ourselves we'll take it to the store. If you're heading out to the thrift store to browse anyway, take your own stuff that you've been meaning to donate! Or better yet, if you're planning on going, it's the perfect time for a wardrobe declutter first to see if there's anything you have to donate.

39. Make a plan on how to shop

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Shopping at a thrift store isn't as easy as shopping at any other department store with everything arranged in order and perfectly-signposted sections. It's a good idea to work out what you're going to do before you go. If you're looking for anything and everything, it can get too overwhelming trying to go through every shelf and rack. So pinpoint where you're going to start.

40. You can still haggle in a thrift store

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You might feel bad about doing this, or didn't think you even could, because the prices might be so low to begin with. But you can still haggle for a better price in a thrift store, and especially on those bigger items! It's always worth trying, because you never know. The worst that can happen is you'll pay the price you were originally going to pay anyway!

41. Take a friend - or a group!

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If you're searching for something in particular, it can help to split the search up with a few pairs of helping hands! Going through a huge thrift store all alone is going to take a lot of time and effort, so if you have a friend - or friends - that love thrifting, too, it might be a good idea to plan a trip together so you can all help each other find what it is you need.

42. Accept that some items just shouldn't be used secondhand

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There are so many positive about buying second hand and shopping at thrift stores, to re-use and re-love and to also save money. But sometimes, there are just some items that shouldn't be sold or used secondhand, and a lot of the time that's items where the safety aspect comes in. Some things like car seats for babies or protection gear might be in less-than-perfect shape, and not as safe to use!

43. For clothing, go for better quality

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It might seem counterproductive to say go for the more expensive quality items at a thrift store, but the thing is, fast fashion items are usually cheap in quality and don't last. And that's the case if you're buying them brand new, so if you're buying fast fashion second hand, they're even further along their very short life cycle. Instead, look for bargains on more classic items from quality brands, even if you have to pay a little more.

44. Take a closer look at 'designer' items

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Thrift stores can often have great deals on genuine designer items at a discounted price, but they also risk having fake designer goods in the store, too. These knockoff designer items can be very difficult to spot sometimes, so take a good look at the stitching, materials and logo placements - and do a quick Google if you're unsure whether an item is too good to be true!

45. Give yourself enough time

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Going into a thrift store to shop isn't like 'popping in' to any other store for a quick browse. Thrifting is going to take a lot of time and effort to try and find something worth buying - and of course the pay off is worth it! So if you want to do thrifting properly, give yourself time in the day - like a free afternoon - instead of popping in when you need to rush off somewhere.

46. Don't buy something for the sake of it

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When you're thrifting, it's very easy to feel like you SHOULD buy something, or feel disappointed if you leave without anything. Because the prices are so low and you can get a lot for your money, you feel obliged to buy something - anything - even if you don't really want it. Be sure to not buy anything you don't absolutely love, because you probably won't end up using it/wearing it!

47. Don't always go off the label size

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If you've found the perfect item in a size label that doesn't match yours, or that has been sorted into sizing on the rack that isn't what you're looking for, don't be so quick to discount it! As we know, clothing sizes can be all over the place, so if you can try it on - or use that tape measure we spoke about - it's worth doing so and ignoring the label, because vintage pieces especially can be misleading!

48. Resist buying oversized clothes if you don't need to

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Oversized clothing has become very trendy, and some people even go to thrift stores and buy out the bigger sizes because they plan on altering them themselves, or making them work by tucking them in or using a belt. But for the shoppers who are actually plus sized or need those bigger sizes, they're going to struggle more if people keep buying the bigger sizes when they don't really need to.

49. Wanting a new look? Go thrifting

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The perfect time to go thrifting is when you're going through a transition period, maybe feeling lost about your fashion style or looking to update your home. Thrifting is the perfect opportunity for experimenting, because you'll be spending less than you would on brand new clothing and items. So if you're feeling lost with your style and need inspiration, now's the time to go to a thrift store!

50. Don't take anything without paying

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So this goes without saying in terms of please DON'T steal from a thrift store - but oftentimes, people do things they might not consider stealing in a way they wouldn't in a brand new store. With thrifting, you have a lot of items that are strewn about, and you might think you like a certain coat with the belt of another coat you've seen on a different item. Taking that belt to add to the coat you're buying is technically stealing from another item.. so only get what you're paying for!