Thrift and antique stores are often packed with objects no one wants. But in the mix of Depression-era glassware, dusty books, and vintage clothing, you can find treasure. Sometimes, you just have to look very closely. Here are three thrift store finds that were later discovered to be something amazing.
The Declaration of Independence
Though it seems like the plot of a movie, this really happened! In 1991, a thrifter paid $4 for a nice frame he found at a thrift store in Pennsylvania. When he removed the original picture from the frame, he found the Declaration of Independence. After the document was verified, it was sold for $2.4 million.
An estimated 200 copies of the Declaration of Independence were made in 1776 and 1777. However, only one — the Declaration of Independence at the National Archives in Washington, D.C. — contains all the original signatures. There are other copies with select signatures. Today, only 26 copies of this historical document are accounted for. Many were likely destroyed or have deteriorated, but others may still be out there.
A Jackson Pollock
Teri Horton was looking for something to throw darts at when she stumbled upon a huge painting at a thrift store in California. The canvas, covered in what looked like thrown and spilled paint, seemed like a bargain compared to an actual dartboard. She spent $5 and hauled it home.
Later, someone mentioned the painting might be a Jackson Pollock, to which Horton responded, “Who the f— is Jackson Pollock?” She then had the painting authenticated, and it was valued at $50 million.
James Bond’s Watch
James Bond 007 has had many watches over the years. He’s worn Rolex, Omega, and Breitling. One watch, a modified Breitling, appeared in 1965’s “Thunderball” and went missing after filming ended. In the film, Bond (played by Sean Connery) wears both a Rolex Submariner and the Breitling Top Time. The Breitling, however, was modified by Q-Branch with a Geiger counter.
The watch remained lost for decades until 2013 when it reappeared at an English flea market where someone bought it for 25 pounds (about $30). However, the person eventually realized what they had and turned around to sell it for $163,000.