True Stories
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16 Times People Found Valuable Things in Abandoned Places

Updated July 24, 2020 121.5k views16 items

Just about everyone has dreamt about what they would do if someone just handed them a whole bunch of money. Though most of us will never actually experience that scenario, for a select few, those dreams have become a reality. A handful of lucky people over the years have stumbled across random valuable things in abandoned places.

Sometimes, people just randomly find money in abandoned buildings. Other times, they're just working or taking a hike and they come across things like priceless artwork and gold coins. Most of the time, they aren't there to search abandoned places, they just happen to be in the right place at the right time. If only we all could be so lucky!

Of course, not everything people find in abandoned places is valuable. Sometimes people come across less savory things. From corpses to unexploded bombs, all sorts of weird and crazy valueless things have been found in abandoned places, but those stories just don't excite the imagination the same way buried treasure does.

Not much beats finding money in abandoned places, but since there's no real life treasure map where X marks the spot, this list will have to do!
  • A Ring With Charlotte Brontë's Hair In An Attic - $26,000 

    Photo: Antiques Roadshow / PBS

    While cleaning out her father-in-law's attic after he passed, a woman found an old mysterious box that contained a ring engraved with renowned Victorian author Charlotte Brontë's name and date of demise, as well as an intricately braided piece of her hair. Jewelry appraiser Geoffrey Munn says he has no reason to doubt the ring's authenticity considering, "There was a sort of terror of not being able to remember the face and the character of people who had [passed], and so this is part of a tradition of making a true souvenir, an incorruptible fragment of the person... It wasn’t uncommon."

    Without Brontë's classic touch, the ring would cost approximately £25; however, Munn has put it up for about $26,000. 

  • A Classic Painting Forgotten in an Apartment - $2.5 Million

    Photo: Giovanni Boldini / Wikimedia Commons

    After a 91-year-old woman passed away, her family discovered an apartment in France that she owned but had abandoned before World War II. It contained several rare oddities. Among them was an original Giovanni Boldini painting which went on to sell at auction for a staggering $2.5 million. The painting - depicting an image of the once-resident of the apartment, Marthe de Florian - was a one of a kind that even came with a hand-written note from the artist himself, confirming it's authenticity.

  • Nicolas Cage's Comic Book Found in Storage Locker - $2.16 Million

    It wasn't a comic book about Nicolas Cage that one buyer found in an abandoned storage locker, it was a copy of the extremely rare Action Comics No. 1 that rightfully belonged to Cage. The comic book was stolen from Cage's house in 2000 and its whereabouts remained unknown for over a decade, until it was found inside an abandoned storage locker. Eventually the comic was returned to Cage and put up for auction - it sold for a record-shattering $2.16 million.
  • Unreleased Jackson Five Work Found in Storage Unit - Millions

    Photo: Robert Ball / flickr / CC-BY-NC-ND 2.0
    A storage unit that had been abandoned by Michael Jackson's father turned into a treasure trove for two treasure hunters. The unit contained over 250 previously unreleased tracks from the King of Pop, and since they were recorded between record deals, no record company had a claim to them. Not to mention, some of the songs were reportedly collaborations with Tina Turner. According to estimates, the collection is worth millions.