Let’s face it. You’re in it for the adventure. If you’re an experienced yard sale pirate, you know better than anyone how to save money with top-notch garage sale finds. But more than anything, you live for the thrill of the treasure hunt, like the buccaneers of old. Sure, you’ve had to sift through a lot of junk, but every now and then, there are those rare yard sale hidden treasures that make all the driving and early mornings worthwhile.
You’ve probably seen crazy news stories about overlooked objects that fetch huge payouts. Here are five types of garage sale finds that can change your life.
Lost Paintings Bring Big Bucks
When it comes to garage sale finds, we all know a pretty picture when we see one. However, artists like Andy Warhol, Pablo Picasso, and Jackson Pollack were famous for avant-garde creations that looked as though anyone could create them. Recently, a Las Vegas man bought a sketch of Rudy Vallee for five dollars that turned out to have been drawn by a young Warhol that is valued up to $2,000,000. Andy Warhol had turned to artwork when he was bed-ridden as a child.
When a thrifting Ohio man saw the name Picasso on the corner of a print among other pieces of art, he assumed it was a poster, but research revealed the piece to be an authentic Picasso print, dating from 1958. That artwork is valued at $6000.
A man in Arizona called in an appraiser to determine the value of some vintage LA Lakers posters he owned. The appraiser didn’t think the posters were worth much. But his attention was drawn to a painting on the wall in the man’s house. It turned out to be a Jackson Pollack worth up to 15 million dollars!
Documents in the Rough
It’s hard to know why a California man bought a box of old documents at a garage sale. Maybe it was that he was because he fancied himself an expert uncovering valuable garage sale finds or maybe it was because the box only cost five bucks. Turns out that among the papers was a stock certificate for 1.8 million shares in the Palmer Union Oil Co., which later became Coca-Cola. The shares were valued at $139 million dollars.
Similarly, a Tennessee man paid about two and a half dollars for what he thought was a cheap reprint of the Declaration of Independence that was actually one of 200 commissioned by Congress in 1820. The document sold at auction for over $470,000.
We’ve all found old vinyl records among garage sale finds that we’ve long been searching for, but it is rare to find music recordings that are worth any amount of money, largely because vinyl records were so easily produced.
One exception was an acetate studio pressing of a disc containing several songs by the ’60s proto-punk group Velvet Underground that was produced in secret for Andy Warhol, the band’s manager at the time. There are only two known copies in existence.
Purchased by a record collector for 75 cents, this rarest garage sale disc finds was sold at auction for $25,000.
The Really Fine China
Cookware, dishes, and crockery are a garage sale standard. And while you can often snag some real finds, it is rare to come across objects worth significant amounts of money. One noteworthy exception is an attractive, but unassuming, white bowl with a petal design that was bought at a yard sale in upstate New York for three dollars. The buyer had the bowl assessed and was flabbergasted to learn that the humble, white bowl was a 1,000-year-old artifact of the Song Dynasty of China. The bowl sold at auction for a whopping 2.2 million dollars!
The Old Man and the C-Notes
Yard and estate sales are great places to pick up books for next to nothing, and that’s mostly what yellowed hard covers and dog-eared paperbacks are worth. However, one man paid two dollars for a battered hardcover of Ernest Hemingway’s Pulitzer Prize–winning book The Old Man and the Sea. Turns out it was a signed copy, estimated to be worth $30,000!
Up Your Chances for a Jackpot Find
The more preparation that you put into your searches for garage sale finds and yard sale hidden treasures, the less guesswork you have to put in. When you go to Yard Sale Radar, you can search all the sales in your area and approach your passion strategically, and hey, maybe you’ll end up in a crazy news story yourself someday!