Sometimes we just get lucky. Maybe we are walking down the street and find a five dollar bill or discover a twenty in an old pair of jeans. These types of things occur all the time; they happen to everyone at some point during their lives. Then there are the jackpots. They do not happen to everyone. In fact, they happen to almost no one. Occasionally you will hear a story about how somebody found something that was worth a boat load of money. They end up going from rags to riches overnight.
Some of the stories behind how valuable treasures were found are just so interesting. Many times the person had no idea what they had until they did a little bit of research. Once they found out what they actually had, as you can imagine, their jaws all hit the floor.
It is stories like these that make you want to go out searching for various treasures. They make you wish you could stumble across some old artifact or pick up something at a flea market that’s worth millions. Before you start spending your hard earned cash on a bunch of dusty items, you should remember these types of treasures are not found every day. After all, there is a reason why this stuff makes front page news headlines.
10 WHALE PUKE WORTH $63,000
Ambergris is a fancy word for whale vomit. It is formed on the surface of the ocean over a number of years. Basically, when a sperm whale vomits, it floats on the surface of the ocean because it is less dense than the water. Then UV rays from the sun and the salt water harden it over time. Eventually it will wash up on the shore. It is extremely rare and very valuable. Ambergris is used in perfumes to make their scent last all day long. It sells for about $20 a gram and has earned the nickname “Floating Gold”. One day, Leon Wright was walking along the Australian shoreline with his wife and found a solid piece weighing 14.75 kilograms. That single chuck of hardened whale puke was worth $63,000.
9 “THE ROYAL ONE” WORTH $756,000
It was the last day of work for an Australian miner who goes only by Bobby. He was set to retire the very next day. After clocking out of work he decided to stick his bucket in the dirt just one last time. When he emptied his bucket he found what has come to be known as “The Royal One”. The Royal One is a single opal weighing 306 carats. Though Bobby had spent his entire career down in the same mine, this opal was sitting right at the surface under less than a foot of dirt for over 400 million years. An opal of this size and clarity has not been found since 1930. A single carat of opal with this level of clarity would sell for $2,500. That means that prior to being polished and turned into jewellery this stone is worth $765,000. He brought the opal into a jeweller who gave it its nickname and is storing it in a bank vault until she can create a proper base for the rare stone.
8 ANGLO-SAXON GOLD AND SILVER WORTH $1.6 MILLION
Sometimes hobbies can pay out huge dividends. A man who was on the verge of being homeless and living on welfare enjoyed metal detecting. He had been using the same metal detector for the past eighteen years. One day he was on a U.S. National Historic Site and discovered a collection of over 1,000 pieces of Anglo Saxon gold and silver coins and weapons. The pieces dated back to the seventh century and were worth an estimated $1.6 million. Since he found it on U.S. property the collection legally belonged to the government. The government decided to sell the collection off to various museums and gave the man half of the return.
7 1974-D PENNY WORTH $2 MILLION
Normally a 1974 penny is worth one cent. However, in this case a single penny was worth two million dollars. Robert Lawrence was the son a long time deputy superintendent of the U.S. Mint in Denver. When his father passed, he left Robert his coin collection. The coins were in a little sandwich bag. Shortly after his father’s passing, Robert packed up his belongings in Denver and moved to San Diego. He left the little bag of coins in his car for over a month before he found them again one day. He brought the bag into an expert who was impressed by the 1974-D penny. Originally, the store owner believed the penny was worth about $300. After a bit more research, he discovered that it was actually an all aluminum penny, one of only ten made. It was believed all ten were destroyed because they were unable to be used in vending machines and therefore unfit to distribute to the public.
6 ACTION COMICS #1 WORTH $2 MILLION
Action Comics #1 is the most valuable comic book of all. It was published in 1938 and is the first comic book to feature Super Man. A Minnesota man bought an old abandoned house in hopes of renovating it and make some money. He purchased the house for $10,100. While tearing into one of the walls he found the highly sought after comic. He immediately put it up for auction on Comicconnect. In the first two days after the auction began it was already demanding a price tag of $100,000. Action Comics #1 can fetch up to two million dollars in mint condition.
5 COPY OF THE DECLARATION OF INDEPENDENCE WORTH $2.4 MILLION
In 1989, a Pennsylvania man went into a flea market. He came out with a picture frame he had bought for just four bucks. It had a little picture in it, but he did not like it and just wanted the frame. When he got home he removed the picture and found a copy of the Declaration of Independence from 1776 behind it. The copy was in mint condition. Only 25 copies are known to exist that date back to the year the document was signed. He was able to sell the copy for $2.4 million in 1991. It later sold again in 2000 for $8.1 million.
4 1964 SHELBY DAYTONA WORTH $4 MILLION
Caroll Shelby is known as one of the greatest race car builders ever. He designed cars for the Ford Motor Company in order to compete with Ferrari in the LeMans 24 Hour Race. In 1964, he built six Daytonas. Only five of them are believed to still exist. The original prototype was thought to have been destroyed over three decades ago. One day a lady was about to open up her late father’s storage locker which had been willed to her. In it was the prototype 1964 Shelby Daytona. It had been sitting in the storage unit for over 30 years. After the car was fully restored it sold for over $4 million.
3 STRADIVARIUS VIOLIN WORTH $10 MILLION
A Stradivarius violin is the most coveted musical instrument of all. They sell for millions of dollars. Stradivarius was a maker of stringed instruments in the 1700s. He is credited with inventing the modern day concert violin. It was a violin that could produce enough sound to be heard over the rest of an orchestra. Prior to the Stradivarius, orchestras would need five or six violins playing the same notes in order to be heard. His violins were so sought after that they were often given as gifts to the royal families of various nations. One of these violins was found in the home of the copper heiress, Huguette Clark, after she passed away at 104 years old. This particular Stradivarius belonged to the French violin virtuoso Rodolphe Kreutzer and dated back to 1731. It was sold for $10 million.
2 FABERGE EGG WORTH $33 MILLION
This is a prime example of why you should never do anything until you know exactly what your are dealing with. A man from the Midwestern United States was making his living on purchasing metals and scraping them. He bought a gold orb with a number of gems in it for $14,000. He believed he could scrap it and make a nice $500 profit. When he brought it in to an appraiser, it turned out to be the Third Imperial Egg. The Third Imperial Egg is one of the 50 Faberge Eggs. Only 42 of them were believed to still exist following the Bolshevik Revolution. This was one that was believed to have been destroyed. Had the man melted it down, he would have barely made his money back. Instead, due to its historical significance, he was able to sell it to an art collector for $33 million.
1 COCA COLA STOCK CERTIFICATE WORTH $130 MILLION
This is the story of the ultimate jackpot. Tony Marohn purchased a box filled with a bunch of random documents at a garage sale in California for a mere five dollars. When he began sifting through the papers, he found a promissory note for 1,625 shares of Palmer Union Oil Company. The Palmer Union Oil Company merged with another company and that company later merged with Coca Cola. After hiring a lawyer, Marohn found out that he was entitled to 1.8 million shares of Coco Cola due to the merges and stock splits over the years. Those 1.8 million shares are worth about $130 million. Marohn became the single largest non-institution shareholder of Coca Cola. It was the most valuable garage sale find in history.