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Video Lucky People Who Found the Best Things in Thrift Stores
11:32   |   today at 13:07


  • - I keep hearing stories about people who find priceless
  • artifacts in thrift shops.
  • All I find are melted breath mints in clothing pockets.
  • But I'm inspired to keep looking by people
  • who make incredible finds, like a copy of the
  • Declaration of Independence,
  • worth almost half a million dollars,
  • or a Jackson Pollock painting worth millions.
  • Prepare to be amazed by this list of fifteen of the luckiest
  • people who found the best things in thrift stores.
  • (upbeat videogame music)
  • Number 15, Vince Lombardi sweater.
  • Many people browse thrift stores for clothes to sell online,
  • but not everyone scores a touchdown like
  • Sean and Rikki McEvoy, who picked up a West Point sweater
  • for only 58 cents.
  • When they got home, Rikki realized it had moth holes
  • and decided they couldn't sell it.
  • But then she put it in the basement, thinking she'd mend it,
  • and her husband could wear it.
  • They both forgot all about the sweater until they were
  • watching TV one day, and recognized their sweater on famous
  • football coach Vince Lombardi.
  • The couple looked at their sweater again and found the
  • word Lombardi written on a cotton swatch inside it.
  • Sean even drove to Dallas to have the sweater authenticated,
  • and received confirmation it did indeed belong to Lombardi.
  • It sold at auction for a little over 43,000.
  • I bet that sweater won the McEvoys' most valuable
  • moth-eaten sweater award!
  • Number 14, 26 dollar bag.
  • Retired chef John Richard was poking around a charity
  • shop in Oxfam, England, when he found a unique bag.
  • It was brown, with stylized pictures of Elvis
  • done by Andy Warhol printed on it.
  • Richard thought the 20-pound price tag was a bit steep,
  • so he tried to haggle with the clerk.
  • She wouldn't budge, and ultimately he bought it anyway,
  • then took it to the local Philip Treacy shop to find out
  • if it was theirs.
  • Store manager Gee Brunet confirmed it was, and noted that
  • only about ten of that style were ever made.
  • Richard said he received offers from buyers in China,
  • for 250,000 and 350,000 pounds,
  • the equivalent of half a million dollars.
  • Guess he's glad he didn't walk away from that sale
  • over a five pound discount.
  • Number 13, a painting bought for three dollars.
  • A South Carolina man, identified only as Leroy, bought a
  • painting from Goodwill, mostly because he liked the frame.
  • Leroy, a former antiques dealer, said he thought the frame
  • was worth 50 bucks, which made the price tag of
  • three dollars seem more than fair.
  • He also figured the oil painting was from the 1800's
  • and might earn him another hundred bucks or so
  • if sold online.
  • Later, his daughter-in-law took it to the Antiques Roadshow
  • and received an appraisal of twenty to thirty
  • thousand dollars on what was actually
  • a Flemish school painting from 1650.
  • But, it ended up earning $190,000 at an auction
  • that included international bidders.
  • Meanwhile, a man from Indiana bought a 30 dollar thrift shop
  • painting for a really simple reason.
  • He just needed something to hide a hole in his wall.
  • One day, the man was playing a game about famous works
  • of art and noticed something familiar.
  • His wall covering turned out to be a piece by
  • Martin Johnson Heade, an American still life painter.
  • Ultimately, the painting sold for 1.2 million.
  • Guess that leaves the thrifty shopper
  • with a hole in his wall but enough money
  • to buy a whole new wall.
  • Number 12, Barack Obama award.
  • Former U.S. President Barack Obama received
  • countless awards, including a Nobel Peace Price in 2009.
  • But Presidents and other high-ranking officials
  • receive so many awards they can't collect
  • or keep them all.
  • In 2017, a Reddit user browsing a thrift store
  • found a plaque stating the former President
  • had received the National Middle School Association's
  • Distinguished Service Award in November of 2007.
  • The original poster considered tweeting
  • the former President to ask if he wanted it back,
  • but he might never have received the plaque
  • in the first place according to one press release.
  • On the date printed on the award,
  • the former President was in Iowa hosting
  • a discussion about challenges working women face.
  • If the thrifter decides to sell the plaque,
  • I hope they can change it into a decent amount of money.
  • If not, maybe they can be on the lookout
  • for that Nobel Prize instead.
  • Number 11, a cup and a bowl.
  • In 2013, a shopper from Sydney found
  • a weird looking cup for only four bucks,
  • so he bought it.
  • Later, he sent a picture to Sotheby's,
  • who told him it was a 17th century
  • Chinese libation cup.
  • Carved from a rhino horn, this rare piece
  • ended up selling for about 60,000 dollars.
  • Elsewhere, this family purchased an ordinary
  • looking bowl, which could be mistaken for a small ash tray.
  • In 2007, after paying all of three dollars,
  • they researched the piece,
  • eventually bringing it to Sotheby's where
  • experts estimated its worth at two to three hundred
  • thousand dollars.
  • But a lucky bidder paid two million for the piece,
  • a thousand year old Chinese item known as a ding bowl.
  • I bet the thrifty family was bowled over
  • by that windfall.
  • Number ten, an egg-spensive egg.
  • A scrap dealer purchased a Faberge egg
  • for 14,000 dollars, which doesn't sound cheap.
  • However, he recognized it was real gold
  • and felt he could profit by melting
  • the egg down and selling the precious metal.
  • Fortunately, he first conducted some research
  • and discovered this particular egg was a
  • gift from Russian Czar Alexander the Third
  • to his wife, Maria Feodorovna, in 1887.
  • Once he had it authenticated,
  • the piece ultimately sold for 33 million dollars.
  • An egg-celent profit on his 14,000 dollar investment.
  • Number nine, Declaration of Independence.
  • One day, Michael Sparks found an old yellowed,
  • rolled up piece of paper at the thrift.
  • After carefully unfurling it,
  • he discovered it was a copy of the
  • Declaration of Independence, or so he thought.
  • It was so beautifully done he initially
  • thought it was an engraving.
  • The clerk told him it was 2.48,
  • and so he bought it.
  • Sparks did some research,
  • eventually bringing the Declaration to an auction house,
  • where experts discovered it was no knockoff.
  • It was the real thing,
  • an official copy printing in 1820.
  • Only 35 copies were known to exist
  • in the modern age until Sparks'
  • thrift store find made 36.
  • He ultimately sold the Declaration at auction
  • for 477,650 dollars.
  • That's a lot of Ben Franklins.
  • Now the new owner just has to hide it from Nicholas Cage.
  • Number eight, photo worth millions.
  • Randy Guijarro visited his favorite shop
  • and found a box of tintypes, old photographs.
  • He found some he liked and paid three dollars for them.
  • After going home, he got out a magnifying glass
  • and studied the photos.
  • In one, he recognized outlaw Billy the Kid
  • and called his wife over to look.
  • They discovered other people in the photo, as well,
  • who were part of Billy's gang.
  • After that, they spent another year
  • authenticating the photo,
  • ultimately identifying all eighteen people
  • in the picture and even finding the ruins
  • of the building they posed in front of.
  • A similar picture sold at auction for
  • 2.3 million in 2011,
  • and Randy insured his for five million.
  • Number seven, charity shop clothing.
  • A bride-to-be wanted a good deal
  • on a wedding dress.
  • Her friend suggested she check out a local
  • charity shop, and she was in luck.
  • They just received a big donation
  • of wedding dresses from a local boutique.
  • One dress had a 1,595 pound tag
  • but was only 25 pounds at the charity store.
  • It fit the bride like a glove,
  • and she left happy and hopefully
  • spent the more than 1500 pounds she saved
  • on a seriously awesome wedding cake.
  • Number six, an eight dollar video game.
  • Paying attention to news about valuable
  • antiques can really pay off,
  • and it did for Jennifer Thompson
  • of Charlotte, North Carolina.
  • In 2013, she was browsing her local Goodwill
  • and noticed a game behind the counter for 7.99.
  • It was an NES cartridge from the eighties
  • called Stadium Events, and the name reminded Thompson
  • of a story she'd seen about a rare
  • game that sold for thousands of dollars.
  • Because so few of the game were produced,
  • not many are left and copies sell for a high price.
  • Thompson rushed across the street
  • to use the Wifi at McDonald's
  • and quickly confirmed her hunch.
  • She hurried back to the Goodwill store
  • and bought the game, later selling it on
  • for 25,000 dollars.
  • Number five, valuable books.
  • Now these examples will remind you to always check
  • what's inside books in thrift stores.
  • One Goodwill shopper found an apparently
  • autographed copy of Stephen Hawking's
  • A Brief History of Time
  • that also included a fingerprint.
  • Pretty amazing, right?
  • Unfortunately not.
  • Some commenters noted that Hawking's disabilities
  • prevented him from handwriting anything
  • and have since the 1980s.
  • The 1996 suggests the handwriting must
  • belong to someone else,
  • although no one has been able to identify
  • the fingerprint.
  • Another thrifter's uncle nabbed a copy
  • of Hemingway's The Old Man and the Sea.
  • The handwriting is even pretty legible
  • for a guy who liked to say,
  • "write drunk, edit sober."
  • Number four, a valuable splash of paint.
  • Teri Horton was searching a thrift store
  • for a gift to cheer up a friend
  • and decided that what she saw as a large
  • ugly painting would do the trick.
  • She negotiated the price down to five dollars,
  • and her friend did get a laugh out of the picture.
  • Unfortunately, it wouldn't fit in her house,
  • so she gave it back to Horton,
  • who stuck it in a shed and later tried
  • to unload it in her own yard sale.
  • There, an art teacher noted it looked
  • like Jackson Pollack.
  • Horton responded with,
  • "who the frick is Jackson Pollock?"
  • Ultimately, she did some research
  • and realized Pollock was a frickin' famous
  • painter whose pictures were worth
  • a frickin' lot of money.
  • Then she tried to get the painting authenticated,
  • even hiring a forensic specialist who matched
  • a fingerprint on the back of the piece
  • to one on another Pollock painting.
  • Although the art world still refused
  • to accept her find, Horton was offered
  • nine million dollars for it,
  • which she turned down because she believed
  • it was worth fifty million.
  • Excuse me, fifty frickin' million?
  • Twenty five years later, she's still waiting
  • for someone to pay it.
  • Number three, a rare diving watch.
  • Zach Norris was looking for a golf cart
  • at Goodwill when he made a quick detour
  • to the watch selection.
  • Digging through cheap watches,
  • he spotted a diamond in the rough,
  • a 1959 Jaeger-LeCoulter deep sea alarm watch.
  • Only 900 were made, and Norris recognized
  • it was worth a lot more than the 5.99 Goodwill wanted
  • for the slightly worn watch.
  • He was right.
  • After having it authenticated by a brand dealer,
  • he sold it online for 35,000 dollars,
  • plus a 4,000 Megir Speed Masterwatch.
  • Now there's something to watch out for at the thrift shop.
  • Number two, lookalike paintings.
  • Sometimes going to the thrift store isn't just about
  • finding valuable items.
  • It's about finding items that really
  • speak to you.
  • This shopper found a painting that looked
  • eerily like him,
  • complete with a red sweater and glasses.
  • Another thrifter found the perfect t-shirt.
  • It had a picture of a guy who looked like his twin,
  • with similarly styled brown hair, a beard,
  • and glasses.
  • The caption?
  • Hipster.
  • Never has a more accurate caption been written.
  • Number one, a loaded purse.
  • Finds that are worth a lot of money
  • are great, but sometimes it's nice to just find
  • the money itself.
  • This shopper purchased an old purse at a thrift store
  • and was thrilled to see it came with a
  • bonus item, cash!
  • When she posted her find online,
  • commenters suggested the currency looked brand new
  • and could be worth even more than its face value.
  • An extra good find.
  • What's the best thing you've discovered
  • at the thrift?
  • Let me know in the comment section
  • down below.
  • Thanks for watching!
  • (upbeat marimba music)

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Finding valuable stuff in thrift shops is amazing. From expensive paintings to straight up MONEY, here are some of the luckiest people who found the best things at thrift shops!
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