The Most Incredible Secondhand Store Finds Ever
You really never know what you’ll find when you hit up your local thrift store. You might find the perfect piece of furniture to round out a room. Maybe you’ll find a great outfit you never thought to wear before. Sometimes it will just be a well-loved book that will take you on a journey. Finding these things is what makes thrift shopping so unique, and it’s why so many people are taking it up as a hobby.
There are some days, though, when fortune truly favors the thrifty shopper. Any secondhand store you go to gets its inventory from many different sources, and you never know when something truly, outrageously valuable will find its way into those donation boxes. To show you what we mean, we’ve compiled a list of some of the most incredible secondhand store finds ever. We can’t guarantee you’ll find something like one of these, but they really were found in thrift stores and secondhand shops.
The Jaeger-LeCoultre Wristwatch
Zach Norris was just like anyone else looking for a good deal. In January of 2015, he entered a thrift store that displayed a beautiful diving watch. This diving watch wasn’t any old piece of hardware. It was made by the Swiss watchmaker company Jaeger-LeCoultre. At the time, Norris knew it had to be worth a lot of money, but he didn’t realize how much until he had it appraised by a local dealer of Jaeger-LeCoultre watches. The watch was one of the first-ever made with an alarm that divers could use, one of only about 1,000 such watches. He sold the watch for a quick $35,000 to a collector, who gave him a beautiful watch valued at $4,000 along with the money.
The Genuine Picasso Print
An Ohio-based thrifter named Zach Bodish looked through some thrift stores one day in 2012. He was trying to find things he could fix up and sell himself. What he found was a poster set inside of a frame with a small note in the corner reading “6/100.” Through a little bit of research, Zach realized he had stumbled upon a genuine linocut poster made by Pablo Picasso himself for one of his early exhibitions. It had Picasso’s actual signature, and only 100 were ever produced. A poster that had cost Zach Bodish a little over $14 eventually net him $7,000 in the final sale.
The Czarina’s Brooch
In 2011, Thea Jourdan found a bright and beautiful brooch in a secondhand store believing that the gem had to be fake. Jourdan gave the brooch to her 4-year-old daughter to wear to school and around town. One day, while Jourdan was getting her engagement ring’s insurance value, the appraiser spotted the brooch on her daughter. With a little bit of digging, they discovered that the brooch was in fact real. It belonged to a Russian czarina back in the day, and Jourdan was able to get close to $43,000 for it once it sold.
The Philip Treacy Handbag
John Richard was looking through a charity shop (A British term for a thrift or secondhand store) one day and opened a random box to find a very nice-looking handbag that was printed with Elvis Presley’s likeness as depicted by Andy Warhol. After trying to haggle the price below the listed $26, he took the bag home and forgot about it. Later that year, Richard finally found the label reading Philip Treacy, a very well-respected Irish designer. It turns out the bag was one of only ten and it had been hand-sewn. Two separate offers of $325,000 and $455,000 were made to Richard by Chinese collectors.
The Rare Video Game Cartridge
In the spring of 2013, Jennifer Thompson was at her local thrift store looking for cheap DVDs. Something else caught her attention, though—a video game cartridge for the Nintendo Entertainment System with the title Stadium Events. After confirming that this was a highly sought-after video game, she bought it for about eight bucks from the thrift shop. Placing the cartridge up for auction online eventually led to a sale: $25,000 for a single video game.
The Declaration of Independence Copy
One of the most incredible thrift store finds ever was made by Michael Sparks in Nashville. He found what looked to be an extremely well-made copy of the Declaration of Independence. Upon looking at it once he got home, Sparks found a marking that depicted the year 1823 and a small phrase: “by order of the government.” After thorough research, Sparks realized he had just found one of the official 200 copies of the Declaration of Independence ordered to be made by President John Quincy Adams. The extremely well-preserved nature of the copy made the final auction price for it a whopping $477,650.
The Jackson Pollock Gag Gift
We’ve all thought it would be funny to get a friend something they’ll hate, right? That’s what Teri Horton thought when she bought, in her opinion, a way too big and ugly painting for her friend for $5 at a thrift shop. Her friend appreciated the gag, Horton eventually took it back and put it up for sale at a garage sale. A wandering art teacher urged her to get it appraised before she sold it. This led a forensic specialist to find a fingerprint of Jackson Pollock himself on the supposedly ugly painting. One of the leading offers for this incredible find? Nine million dollars!
The Actual Golden Egg
It turns out they’re real after all, and just as expensive as you might think. A man found a very fancy-looking golden egg at a flea market in 2011 and thought he would melt it down for scrap. That was his plan, until he did his research and found out about the lost Faberge egg meant for the royalty of Russia. Just to be sure, he had the egg appraised by a Faberge egg expert. By some miracle, the egg was the true lost treasure. Sold at an undisclosed amount, there are experts that say that the egg could have gone for somewhere around $33 million.
As we said, you never know what you might find at your local thrift store. Whether you’re on the hunt for the next great treasure or you just need some quality clothing at great prices, check out 2nd Avenue’s thrift store in North Wales. We’re sure to have something you’ll enjoy, even if it doesn’t net you a couple million later on!