There’s nothing like scoping out your local yard and garage sales for valuable goods. As the saying goes, “One man’s trash is another man’s treasure.” You can often find some really good deals on items that you’ll either find use for or that you’ll be able to cherish. Other times, you can hit the jackpot and find items that are valuable for resale.
For instance, you might come across some decent-looking silverware that has all the qualities of being made from real sterling silver. Check out is my silverware worth anything if you need help identifying the traits that make silverware valuable.
Remember that you can always sell your silver to Muzeum where we offer free evaluations on all items that you bring in. So if you find anything at a yard sale like silverware, coins, jewellery, etc. that you think might be worth something, you should definitely stop by! You’ll also receive a free $1 Canadian bill for just walking in the door, so make sure you don’t miss out!
There are all sorts of amazing goodies that can be found at yard sales. Let’s take a look at ten of the most valuable items found at a garage sale to this date.
In 2002, an avid record collector from Montreal named Warren Hill purchased a record for only 75 cents at a yard sale. All it had was a hand-written label, and nothing else gave its identity away. As it turns out, this unassuming record turned out to be a rare copy of the Velvet Underground’s unreleased debut album, and ultimately sold at auction for $155,000.
An Englishman picked up a watch at a flea market for merely $38 that was later determined to be worn by James Bond in the film Thunderball. It was a rare find because it was the first to be modified by to include a Geiger counter to help the dashing hero detect nuclear radiation. That’s why in 2013 it sold at a Christie's auction for a large amount $160,175.
In the 1980s a woman picked up a piece of costume jewellery for £10 ($13) at a local London garage sale. For nearly 30 years she wore it not knowing its true value – that is until she got it appraised in 2017 where she was shocked to discover that she had on her finger a 26.27 carat cushion-cut diamond. This antique was eventually auctioned off for double its estimated price at $850,000.
This simple white bowl was purchased in 2007 at a yard sale by a family in New York for merely $3. After six years of ownership, the family finally decided to get the item appraised. They found at that what they had on their hands was more just a bowl; in fact, it was actually made during China’s Northern Song Dynasty, and was evaluated at $200,000 to $300,000. When they put the bowl up for auction at Sotheby’s in 2013, it sold for an unexpected $2.2 million purely because of its historic value.
An art collector named Andy Fields was scouring garage sales and the like in Las Vegas for valuable items when he came across one where he found five interesting paintings for $5. After he purchased them he decided to examine them more closely and a mysterious sketch of 1930s singer Rudy Valle hidden behind one of the artworks. The artist behind the work turned out to be by Andy Warhol and the piece was valued at $2 million.
In 1989, a Philadelphia financial analyst visited a flea market in Adamstown, Pennsylvania and purchased an old, torn painting for $4 because he wanted the frame. Much to his surprise, when he removed the frame he found hidden behind the artwork a rare copy of the Declaration of Independence that sold at auction in 1991 for $2.42 million.
This antique four-poster bed was dumped in a parking lot, found, and was sold for around $2,850. Through professional testing it was later discovered that it was likely the actual bed England’s own King Henry VII. It’s now on display at Hever Castle and has been valued at $25 million.
Teri Horton, a retired truck driver, found a painting at a California thrift shop and only paid $5 for it. Her intention was to use it to throw darts at it before someone suggested to her that it could be a real Jackson Pollock – a famous American painter and figure in the abstract expressionist movement.
She exclaimed at the time “Who the $&% Is Jackson Pollock?” and a documentary was made using this as its name in 2006. The painting has still not been sold till this day because Horton could never get the $50 million that she thought it was worth.
Tony Marohn found and purchased Palmer Union Oil stock certificates from an estate sale in 2008 for $5, hoping that he had something valuable on his hands. After doing some research Marohn discovered a link between the company and Coca-Cola, and he insisted that they made good on the certificates.
Though he passed away, his family continued to insist that his shares were worth $130 million. The final decision from the courts, unfortunately, was that Coca-Cola did not have to honour these shares.
A painter named Rick Norsigian purchased in 2002 a set of glass plates that had images of Yosemite National Park printed on them. He was attracted to the composition of the photos and paid $45 to take them home. It wasn’t long after that he found out that the glass plates were the work of famed photographer, Ansel Adams. At first, Norsigian sold some prints for only $7,500 until he found out later that the discovery was worth a much more at $200 million.
Have you found anything that might be worth money at a yard sale? If so, bring us your previously purchased coins and other items like silverware, old jewellery, memorabilia, old toys and collectibles. We will provide a free evaluation of your silver and everything else you bring in!
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