1The man who bought an official copy of the Declaration of Independence for $4
The $4 bargain was auctioned for $2,420,000 at Sotheby's. The buyer was Donald J. Scheer of Atlanta, president of Visual Equities Inc.
2The old lady who found a 140 year-old baseball card in her basement
The 19th century baseball card was sold on the auction block for $75,285.
3The contractor who found $182,000 in a bathroom
4The woman who found a Pollock worth millions, paid $5 for it
How this painting came to be on display and up for sale in a local Toronto gallery is the stuff of legend. You may remember the unbelievable story surrounding a woman named Teri Horton, a retired truck driver who loved to frequent thrift shops around North America. When she entered one of them in California in the 1990s, she spotted a picture lying unused in a corner, a piece of artwork that no one seemed to want.
She hated it but thought it was funny. And she was going to buy it for her depressed friend. And she brought it to the counter and the lady said it was $8 and Teri said she's willing to pay $5, she doesn't love her friend that much. They were planning on drinking some beers and throwing darts at it. But a friend of hers was dating an art teacher and he looked at it and said 'you very well may have a Jackson Pollock on your hands.'
And she came back with the statement 'Who the F is Jackson Pollock?' And it all began from there. That statement became the name of a 2006 documentary featuring her story, including her struggles to prove her five buck painting was really the masterpiece many claimed it was. It was finally authenticated and now there's no doubt about its value.The painting has since been assessed as being worth a stunning $50 million, surely the greatest flea market bargain in history.
5The collector who found $200,000 in coins after cleaning out an abandoned house
6The student who found a painting worth over $27,000 in a thrift store couch
7The man who bought a $30 painting worth 1.2 million dollars
Some years later he was playing a board game called Masterpiece in which players attempt to outbid one another for artwork at an auction. Much to his surprise, one of the cards in the game featured a painting of flowers that looked a lot like the one he had on his wall. He found that his painting was similar in style to the work of Martin Johnson Heade, an American still-life artist best known for landscapes and flower arrangements.
He asked the Kennedy Galleries in Manhattan, which handles many of Heade's works, to take a look at his painting. They verified that the piece of artwork covering the hole in his wall was a previously unknown Heade painting, since named Magnolias on Gold Velvet Cloth. In 1999, The Museum of Fine Arts in Houston purchased the painting for $1.2 million dollars.
8The woman who found rare movie poster worthy many thousands in a print
Stouffer, a former antiques dealer, recognized it immediately, snaring the 14x22-inch copy for a song. "Found" was a prophetic title, for beneath the lithograph, sandwiched between the print and its cardboard backing, was a much rarer find: an original "window card" poster from the 1930 film classic "All Quiet on the Western Front."