What would you do if you happened to find hidden treasure on your property? These lucky folks might be able to give you some ideas. From home renovation projects to clearing out estates of the deceased, these people have found everything from rare comics to original works of art to cold hard cash. With so many interesting finds, it makes you wonder what else could be out there, possibly hiding in plain sight.
Beatles fans will be interested in #4!
An Arizona Couple Found Booze And Clues In Their Kitchen
A couple in Phoenix, Arizona purchased a fixer-upper back in 2013 and finally got around to renovating the kitchen two years later. When they took out the kitchen island, they found the door to a safe. Remembering that a combo was etched into one of their medicine cabinets, they eventually got the safe open.
Inside, they found a 1960 bottle of bourbon and $51,080 in cash! They also found a book, A Guide for the Perplexed by E.F. Schumacher that had clues for a treasure hunt. Though they were left with more questions, they certainly had succeeded in finding the treasure!
Old Hollywood Film Posters Found In Floorboards
Blair Pitre was renovating a home he’d just moved into in Alberta, Canada, when he happened to find Old Hollywood relics hidden in the roof and floorboard of the home. Pitre found about 40 vintage film posters that date back to the ’20s and ’30s.
His house was built in 1912 and reports indicate that the home’s previous owner also owned the local movie house. The original posters feature the likes of Greta Garbo, Gary Cooper, and Buster Keaton, to name a few. The posters were auctioned off and earned Pitre around $50,000. He used the proceeds to complete his home renovations.
A Frenchman Inherited A Lot More Than A House
A Frenchman in Normandy inherited more than just a house from his deceased relative. Hidden away under furniture, old piles of linen, and even inside the bathroom was over 200 pounds in gold.
Auctioneer Nicolas Fierfort told AFP in 2016, "There were 5,000 gold pieces, two bars of 12 kilos and 37 ingots of 1 kilo." The man himself had failed to find all this gold before he sold the house to a new owner, who was the one to discover the treasure. All of the gold was bought in the ’50s and ’60s and was estimated to be worth around $3.7 million.
A Long-Lost Paul McCartney Record Reemerged
British pop star Cilla Black had a top-ten hit in 1964 called “It’s for You,” which was specially written for her by John Lennon and Paul McCartney. McCartney was known to have recorded a version on acetate and sent it to Black, but since then the record has forever been lost.
After Black passed in 2015, her relatives were cleaning up her house when they happened upon an envelope with “It’s For You” written on it. Assuming it was a recording of her hit record, they were surprised when it was actually McCartney singing. The recording was auctioned at $22,306.
Coming up, one man was told to throw paintings he found in the trash, but he knew that it wasn’t right…
A Man Found Money To Pay Off His House Within Its Walls
A 35-year-old man found roughly $45,000 hidden in his basement. The master DIY-er recounted his findings on Imgur, sharing that the money was found in two little boxes that were hidden in the ceiling of the basement.
The man’s home was built in the ’40s and he’d already renovated the top two floors before getting to the basement. Along with the money was a Cleveland newspaper dating back to the ’50s. The bills were pretty old, but worth more in the present day. After a lawyer confirmed that the findings were rightfully theirs, the man and his family used the money to pay off their mortgage.
One Man’s Treasure Wasn’t Going To Be Another Man’s Trash
When Thomas Schultz purchased a small cottage in Bellport Village, New York, there was something quite special waiting for him in the garage. Thousands of paintings, drawings, and journals were left behind and all belonged to one man, Arthur Pinajian.
Pinajian’s relatives told Schultz to just toss it all in the dumpster, but that didn’t sit right with him. "I didn’t want to be the person responsible for throwing a man’s life’s work into a dumpster," Schultz said in 2013. The abstract impressionist’s work was appraised at $30 million. Some pieces sold for $500,000, while others went up in Manhattan’s Fuller Building.
Not all treasure stories end well. One French couple was sued by their property’s previous owners as you’ll soon see.
Cartoonist’s Sons Find An Original Norman Rockwell In The Walls
"Henry" cartoonist Don Trachte passed away in 2005. The following year, his sons Don Jr. and Dave were cleaning up and inspecting their father’s home when they noticed a strange gap in the wood-paneled wall. They pried open the gap to reveal an original Norman Rockwell painting.
Trachte and Rockwell were actually good friends and neighbors, which is why Trachte was in possession of an original copy of "Breaking Home Ties." The sons speculated that he painted a copy of the painting for display and hid the original behind the wall to prevent his ex-wife from taking it in their divorce. It later sold for $15.4 million at a Sotheby’s auction.
A Man Found Batman And Superman In His Great-Uncle’s Closet
Michael Rorrer was tasked with cleaning out his great-aunt’s house in Virginia after her passing in 2015. Deep within a basement closet was a neat stack of old comic books that belonged to his great-uncle.
It wasn’t until later that a co-worker mentioned how cool it’d be if the stack included the debut of Superman. Rorrer looked back at the collection and found that it did have Superman’s debut in Action Comics No. 1, as well as Batman’s debut in Detective Comics No. 27. his great-uncle had acquired them as a child in the late ’30s and ’40s. The bulk of the collection sold for about $3.5 million in 2016.
A French Couple Found Gold In Their Garden
A couple in Roanne, France bought a house and garden in 2002. While working in the garden, they happened to strike gold. In 2009, they found six gold bars and they found 22 more in 2013. Though they alerted the police of their findings, they quietly sold the bars and pocketed the money.
This caused the bank to start an investigation, news of which prompted the original owners of the house to sue. The gold was worth over $900,000, but unfortunately, the couple lost the case. They were ordered to return the remaining gold bars to the original owners and reimburse them for what was sold.
One man in England found a Titanic relic in his mom’s attic!
A Man Found a o Painting Worth $171 Million In His Attic
In 2014, Marc Labarbe, a French auctioneer, received the phone call of a lifetime from a friend. While searching in the attic of his home, Labarbe’s friend made a discovery: a large, painting. Although covered in dust and stained by a water leak, the man thought the artwork looked valuable, so he phoned Labarbe who contacted an art appraiser.
The appraiser identified the painting as a lost work from the Italian master Caravaggio titled Judith and Holofernes. Believed to have been painted in 1607, the painting is expected to sell for up to $171 million. Not bad for something someone just found in their attic.
One Man’s Discovery Brings Joy To His Neighbors
Matthew Emanuel and his wife of Staten Island were merely undertaking a landscaping project in 2018 when the company they hired dug up a metal box. It turned out to be a huge safe that when opened up, revealed itself to be carrying jewelry and cash.
The cash was dirtied and fragile, but what they could salvage totaled to $16,300. They found a neighboring address listed on the contents of the safe, so Emanuel went to the neighbor and asked if they’d been robbed. It turned out that they were robbed in 2011, but thought the safe had been lost forever.
Unknown Van Gogh Painting Discovered In A Rich Man’s Attic
In 2013, Vincent Van Gogh’s legacy was revived when a previously unknown painting was confirmed to be one of his originals. The landscape titled “Sunset at Montmajour” was described in great detail by Van Gogh in a letter to his brother, but it never saw the light of day for over a century.
Norwegian industrialist Christian Nicolai Mustad bought the painting in 1908, but when he was told it was probably fake, he banished it to his attic. In the 21st century, Mustad’s descendants found the painting in the attic and researchers at the Van Gogh Museum confirmed its authenticity. It was valued at $50 million.
A Man Found A Titanic Relic In His Mother’s Attic
In 2006, the son of an amateur musician was cleaning her house after her death. He happened to find a violin that was passively given to his mother by her violin teacher, but it turned out that the violin belonged to bandmaster Wallace Hartley, who famously played “Nearer, My God, To Thee” as the Titanic was sinking.
The violin was verified to be authentic and is believed to be the exact violin that Hartley was playing in his last moments. Though it was rendered unplayable due to saltwater damage, the violin was auctioned off at more than $1.7 million in 2013.
Coming up, the relatives of an English doctor found an ultra-rare car in the garage they inherited.
A Jar Of U.S. Gold Coins Was Found In London
Residents of Hackney in east London were digging a hole on their property to build a frog pond. Three weeks into the project they dug up a jar filled with 80 gold coins, which turned out to be U.S. Double-Eagle gold coins valued at $20 a piece.
The coins belonged to Martin Sulzbacher, a German banker whose family went to London during WWII. Martin’s brother buried the coins on their property just before they were killed by a bomb. When the jar was found in 2007, they found Martin’s son Max, who sold the coins in an auction for over $100,000.
Man Finds Rare Vintage Baseball Cards In Grandpa’s Attic
In 2012, 51-year-old Karl Kissner was rummaging his grandfather’s attic in Defiance, Ohio when he chanced upon a jackpot find for an avid baseball find. Kissner found almost 700 vintage baseball cards in near-mint condition, including cards for legends such as Cy Young and Ty Cobb.
Included in the find were cards part of a 30-payer set that came with caramel candy back in 1910. The cards were auctioned off in small groups over time. The first group of cards, which contained 37 of the best cards, sold for over $500,000 in 2012.
An Uncle Gave His Relatives More Than Just A Garage
In 2009, relatives of orthopedic surgeon Dr. Harold Carr inherited the contents of his locked up garage in Newcastle, England. They were surprised to learn that that inheritance included a rare 1937 Bugatti Type 57S Atalante – only 17 of which were made.
The Bugatti sat in the garage unused since 1960 and despite the wear of time, was pretty much in tact with all of its original equipment. The car previously belonged to famed race car driver Earl Howe, but Carr purchased it in 1955 for $1,143 (almost $30k today.) Carr’s relatives auctioned the car for an incredible $3.8 million.
A couple in California didn’t know they lived on a gold mine!
An Original Keith Haring Was Painted On The Walls
Architect Todd Ernst was on the renovation team for an 8,000 square foot apartment in New York’s Tribeca neighborhood in 2010. To their surprise, they discovered that the apartment’s original walls were plastered with an original mural by Keith Haring.
The mural was found in the historic American Threat Building, which in the past would frequently host exhibitions with the School of Visual Arts where Haring was a student. The warehouse has since been converted into condos. The painting couldn’t be removed, since its on a concrete wall and as a result, the 10-room loft has pre-war and contemporary elements throughout. In 2016, its asking price was around $14 million.
A Leaky Roof Led This Family To An Original Caravaggio
A family in Toulouse, in the southwest of France, had a leaky roof. The repairs brought them into their attic, where they found a long-lost painting that they believed to be an original Caravaggio. The well-preserved painting was a depiction of Judith Beheading Holofernes, thought to be painted by the famed Baroque master in the 1600’s.
When the family brought the painting to the attention of historians, there was debate over the painting’s authenticity. Art expert Eric Turquin argued that the truth may never be established. Regardless, the painting went on display and is thought to be worth almost $141 million if it is real.
A Couple Found $10 Million In The Ground
A couple in Northern California were walking their dog on their property one day in 2013 when they noticed a metal can sticking out of the ground. They decided to dig it up, but struggled due to its weight. They soon discovered the rusty can was holding gold coins. They went back to the spot and found seven more cans filled with coins.
In all, they dug up $27,460 in twenty-dollar coins, $500 in ten-dollar coins, and $20 in five-dollar coins that dated back to the late 19th century. While the face value of all 1,427 coins amounted to $27,980, their value today is worth more than $10 million.
A Contractor Found Superman In The Walls
In his decade of contracting work, David Gonzales has never found anything in the walls that he demolished. That is, until 2013, when a home he was remodeling in Elbow Lake, Minnesota revealed a rare 1938 copy of Action Comics #1.
The comic was found with old newspaper in the walls and was used for insulation. It was lucky that Gonzalez was able to outbid a neighboring restaurant for the house, who wanted to turn the property into a parking lot. The value of the rare comic far exceeded the house, selling at an auction for $175,000.
A Couple Turned Their Home Into A Museum
Miriam and Theo Sienberg purchased land in the Jewish Quarter of Jerusalem’s Old City and moved into their home in 1970. At the time, Israeli antiquity inspectors assured Sienberg that nothing was found on their property, but Theo wasn’t satisfied.
He funded a massive excavation project and it took eight months before they finally found what they were looking for. They found a handful of ancient artifacts, but the real find was a 2,600-year-old burial chamber dated to the 500’s BCE. The findings were priceless, so Sienberg turned the bottom half of their home into a museum.