The garage sale is an American tradition that is somewhat bewildering to us Brits – most of us wouldn’t dream of turning out the dusty contents of our garage for all the world to see. Car boot sales are more our style, a safe distance from our home and the judgement of our neighbours! But then, maybe we should rethink our British modesty, as a recent article on Oregon Live reveals five of the best garage sale ‘finds’ ever – and the fascinating stories of the lucky finders. These garage sale stories are so surprising that we wanted to share them with Easy Fit readers – we will certainly never look at the humble garage sale in the same way!
Tour de France Bicycle
In fifth place on the list, a man from Kentucky spent just $5 on what turned out to be the former bicycle of Tour de France champion Floyd Landis, worth $2,000. Turns out the bike had fallen out of a truck and into the possession of its seller. But in our opinion, the prestige of the bike is just as exciting as its price-tag.
Velvet Underground Record
Even luckier, a New York record shop owner spent $0.75 on what he thought was an ordinary Velvet Underground record for his collection, only to discover that it was a one-of-a-kind unreleased album recorded in 1966, worth over $25,000.
If that’s not enough, the next discovery on the list was almost twice as valuable. A 12-year-old girl bought what looked like a cool colouring book, spending just $2 on what were in fact the original illustrations for the first (stolen!) Avengers comic book, worth $48,000. Her discovery took a turn for the worse when her father was arrested on suspicion of theft – he was soon released, but they unfortunately had to give up the drawings.
Retro video games get more and more popular with age, which is probably what inspired Ron Walters from buying a box of old Nintendo cartridges from a New York garage sale for $40. Beginning to suspect they were worth something, he went back and found the one and only copy of the 1991 Nintendo Campus Challenge, on its own worth over $20,000. In total he sold the games for a life-changing $50,000.
Declaration of Independence
However, all of these finds pale in comparison to the incredible discovery of a copy of the Declaration of Independence – hidden in an old framed painting at a 1989 Pennsylvanian flea market – worth a staggering $2.4 million. A similar discovery was made in 2006, bought for less than $3 and sold for close to $478,000. It is fascinating to wonder how these valuable historic documents came to be concealed inside worthless picture frames.
Do these stories make you think differently about garage sales? Have you ever tried your hand at treasure hunting? Let us know in the comments.