Debra Goddard, a woman from West London, bought a glass ring at a boot sale back in 1986 for merely $13. For 33 years, she believed it to be pretty much worthless, until she had to sell a lot of her belongings when her mother lost all her money due to a relative’s fraud. It was then when Debra found out that the ring had a 26.27-carat diamond. “When I went to the jeweler, he nearly fainted and said, ‘Do you know what this is? It’s a diamond.’ I sat up all night looking at it, wondering what to do,” Debra told the media. The woman brought the ring to an auction and earned a whopping $607,900. Debra revealed that she spent most of her money on her mother, as she believed “it’s karma for the bad things that happened and my mum being robbed of everything.” She revealed that she’s taken her mom to “holidays in Barbados, see Tom Jones, Celine Dion in Vegas and bought a fur coat.”
You know that awesome feeling when you find a dollar in the pocket of your old coat? Well, this is just that, except the finds that you’re about to read about are worth a little bit more than a dollar. From people who found trash on the side of the road that wound up being worth thousands, to inherited goods that were way more valuable than originally thought, these 20 stories are all about luck.
It really makes you think whether you should go thrift shopping or even dumpster diving because apparently, you never know what treasure is hiding there (check out our posts about fascinating finds in thrift stores to get the idea.) But before you do that, scroll down below to read about these 20 lucky people whose old items (found, bought, or inherited) turned out to be worth a fortune. In addition to this, drop us a comment about whether you ever came across something highly valuable in places you didn’t expect to!
Back in 2007, one Californian man was barely getting by on disability checks after losing his leg in a car accident. “I had kids to take care of, no money. Nothing saved up or nothing like that,” Loren Krytzer looked back on that time. Around the same time, he inherited an old blanket after his grandmother died, which nobody in his family wanted. “I don’t want that, that dirty old thing,” he recalled his sister saying. One night, in 2011, Loren was watching an episode of Antiques Roadshow in which one man was shocked to find out that his First Phase Navajo blanket was actually worth around half a million dollars. The appraiser then explained that such textiles were super expensive even in their own era. “I paused it and I went and got the blanket and I’m sitting there holding it. … I’m lining up the lines on the TV with the blanket, seeing if they match,” Loren recalls. And he realized that they were nearly identical. Soon enough, Loren Krytzer walked into the California auction room unemployed, broke, and depressed, to walk out a millionaire—the old Navajo blanket from the 1800s that nobody in his family wanted turned out to be worth $1.5 million.
In 1776, 500 copies of the Declaration of Independence were printed and only 23 copies were known to still exist before 1989. That same year, one man in Philadelphia bought an old painting at a flea market for $4 because he liked its frame. After it broke, the man discovered a document that appeared to be a copy of the Declaration of Independence tucked away between the canvas and its backing. Later on, the document was sold for $2.42 million at an auction.
One scrap metal entrepreneur bought a golden egg for about $14,000, hoping he could make some profit when reselling the piece due to its precious metal content. Turns out, the scrap metal dealer found one of the eight missing Faberge imperial eggs at a flea market in the American Midwest.
The dealer began to suspect he had something truly rare after reading an article online about an imperial Faberge Easter egg made for Russian royalty. He contacted Kieran McCarthy of Wartski, who specializes in Russian artifacts, who confirmed that the egg was in fact genuine and negotiated its sale to a collector.
Both the buyer and seller of the Faberge Easter egg wanted to remain anonymous, and the price of the rare piece was also not disclosed. However, experts guess that the egg is worth somewhere up to $20 million.
When one fisherman’s anchor got stuck on what he thought was a rock during a storm, he took it with him as a good luck charm. The man found it back in 2006 in Palawan Island, Philippines and kept the 2-foot-long rock for 10 years at his house before it caught on fire and had to be cleared out. In 2016, he took the rock to a local tourism office in Puerto Princesca, where it was verified that the rock was actually a giant clam. Measuring at 1 foot wide and 2.2 feet long, the 34 kg giant pearl was said to be worth $100 million.
For years, one man in Edmore, Michigan used this 22.5-pound hunk of iron as a doorstop on his farm. When he bought the farm back in the late ’80s, the previous owner told him that the iron chunk was in fact a meteorite from the ’30s. Only 30 years later did the farmer contact a geology professor from Central Michigan University to take a look at the rock, which was later confirmed to be an actual meteorite. The professor, Mona Sirbescu, later told USA Today: “The story goes that it was collected immediately after they witnessed the big boom and the actual meteorite was dug out from a crater.” She told the media that the story was passed down orally, with no eyewitnesses to verify it. Now, the meteorite that was named “Edmore” is known to be the sixth-largest to be found in Michigan and is worth $100K.
Bought at an auction and kept in a cupboard for years, this small painting turned out to be worth almost half a million dollars. The postcard-sized painting was bought for merely 30 pounds (around $38) in the British city of Canterbury in the early 2000s. It depicts a 19th-century landscape, and has a faint signature on its back. The signature was what prompted its owner to show the painting to an antiques dealer and forgeries expert. “Our investigation confirms this thing has passed through a number of hands over the years and it’s never been sold—it’s a fresh-to-the-market, sweet little item,” the expert Curtis Dowling told Reuters. As it turned out, the landscape was painted by the 19th-century artist John Constable and is worth around $400,000.
One elderly woman in Compiègne, France was about to sell her house, so she invited an auctioneer to assess the value of her belongings. The expert Philomène Wolf had a week to determine whether anything was worth saving before going into the dumpster. The auctioneer quickly noticed a small painting hanging above the hot plate in the kitchen. As it later turned out, the painting dates back to the 13th century and is a work of an Italian artist, Cimabue. Known as “Christ Mocked,” the masterpiece comes from a series of only 11 paintings depicting Jesus’ crucifixion. The house owner said that she’d had it so long she could not remember when or where she got the painting. “Christ Mocked,” which the French woman believed to be just an “old religious icon from Russia,” turned out to be worth somewhere from $4 million to $6.6 million.
In the 1970s, a woman who was a keen plate collector bought a plate in Rhode Island for under $100. The plate looked pretty, so she hung it on the wall of her kitchen. For years, it has been sitting above the stove, as “all of [the] kids loved the smiley face.” Around 2010, the woman went into a gallery and saw a plate that looked similar to the one above her stove. She told someone in the gallery that she had something nearly identical in her kitchen. The woman recalled on a TV show: “The guy sort of gasped and said, ‘Over your stove?’ And I said, ‘Yeah, I have a plate collection.’ He said, ‘Do you know what you have?'” Apparently, she did not. What she did have was, in fact, a genuine work of Picasso from 1955. When she went to Antiques Roadshow, she learned that the plate could be worth somewhere from $10,000 to $15,000. “That’s fabulous,” the woman then said. See, it does pay off to collect things!
Back in 2015, a woman dropped off an old Apple computer at a recycling center in Silicon Valley. She found it inside boxes of electronics that she had cleaned out of her garage after her husband passed away. Victor Gichun, the vice president of the Clean Bay Area, said that the mystery woman didn’t want a tax receipt and didn’t leave any contact information. It wasn’t until a few weeks later that the workers of the recycling center opened the boxes only to discover an Apple I computer inside.
As the media then reported, it was one of only about 200 first-generation desktop computers assembled by Steve Jobs, Steve Wozniak, and Ron Wayne in 1976. The recycling firm sold the computer for $200,000 to a private collector. The company gives 50 percent of items sold back to the original owner and wanted to do the same this time, but the woman who dropped off the valuable item was impossible to trace.
Back in 2015, an unsuspecting man bought a photo in an antique shop in Freemont, CA for $2. As it later turned out, the picture featured the notorious Billy the Kid and members of the Lincoln County gang playing croquet together. Being only the second confirmed photo of the infamous thief of the 19th century, the 1878 photo was valued upwards of $5 million. “Billy the Kid is incredibly famous,” David McCarthy, a senior numismatist at Kagin’s (a company that specializes in Western Americana and rare coins) told ABC News. “[But] he wasn’t shooting people all the time. He had friends he cared about. He had women he chased. It (the photograph) opens up the idea about the humanity of a character like Billy the Kid.”
One woman inherited jewels from her great aunt, who was a wife of a congressman back in the 1920s. As they were examined on the TV show Antiques Roadshow back in 1998, the experts realized that she had a dual-diamond pendant that was worth $12,000, and a diamond and ruby ring worth $80,000. Moreover, a diamond bracelet with rubies was worth a whopping $165,000. In 2013, experts from the show told the media that the value of the items has increased since the first time the episode aired in 1998. By today’s values, the pieces are worth somewhere around $400,000.
In 2010, a woman from San Diego went to Antiques Roadshow. She brought in a satchel her great-grandfather, who was a lieutenant in the Army, had received from the Cherokee in 1846. The bag was a thank-you gift from a Cherokee warrior, who wanted to thank the said great-grandfather for being kind to his people. The woman had a letter from her great-grandfather to prove it, while the satchel itself was authenticated by an expert in tribal arts. “The bag itself probably dates to the 1820s. I think this bag, in its present condition, if it did not have this very important document that tracks its history across the country, would be about $25,000,” then said the appraiser Ted Trotta. With the document and restauration (that would cost up to $8000), the piece would be worth somewhere closer to $100,000. However, in 2013, the restored value of the bag went up to $145,000!
Five years ago, a woman brought in a set of old baseball memorabilia she had found in a desk drawer to Antiques Roadshow. The woman said she had inherited the collection from her great-great-grandmother who owned a boarding house in Boston in the mid-19th century. The collection comprised cards for Boston Red Stockings players and a letter signed and addressed to the said great-great-grandmother. “To see them all in one group like that,” the executive producer of the show then said. “None of the experts associated with Roadshow have ever seen them all in one place that way.” When the big moment of the show came when the appraisers announced the worth of the collection, the woman was overwhelmed with emotion. $1 million! That’s how much the baseball memorabilia was actually worth. The woman was understandably ecstatic, as she had assumed it would be worth no more than $5-10 thousand.
Back in 2011, Thea Jourdan went to a secondhand shop and bought herself a brooch. “I had bought it from a junk shop for £20, so I knew it was just flashy old tat,” she told the Daily Mail. Oh, how wrong she was. As it later turned out, the stone on the brooch was a topaz weighing 20 carats. And it was surrounded by 27 diamonds. Its color—a rare fiery pink known as Imperial—was once exclusively reserved for Russian royalty. The appraiser informed Thea that the actual worth of the brooch was close to £4,000. “As my discovery proves, you never know when you might stumble across a valuable gem,” Thea then told the media. Who are we to disagree?
One Arizona resident was visiting a Phoenix Goodwill back in 2015 in search of a used push golf cart. There, he came across a variety of old watches. One of them attracted his attention—he noticed a $5.99 watch with a dial that read “LeCoultre Deep Sea Alarm.” Coincidentally, the man was a watch collector who had a particular interest in vintage watches. He realized that the watch might be worth way more than $5.99, but wasn’t sure about its exact value. Therefore, he decided to take it to an authorized retailer in Scottsdale, Arizona. It was there that the man discovered that the timepiece was a rare 1959 LeCoultre Deep Sea Alarm, one of the first watches ever to feature an alarm used by divers. Quickly enough, after sharing his find on a “Vintage Watches” Facebook page, the man was overwhelmed by emails from collectors from all around the world, eager to buy the LeCoultre Deep Sea Alarm. Eventually, he sold it for $35,000. Not a bad profit from something that you got for merely $5.99, right?
A woman bought a small painting in a flea market in West Virginia back in late 2009 because she liked its frame. Along with a box of trinkets, she paid $7 for it. Marcia Fuqua, the buyer, was unaware that the oil painting was valuable and stored it in a garbage bag for two and a half years. It was only when her mother, who’s an art teacher and painter, urged her in 2012 to get the painting appraised. Marcia took the painting to an auction house, where it was verified that it was an authentic Pierre-Auguste Renoir. Painted in 1879 in the impressionist style and named “Paysage Bords de Seine” (“Landscape on the Banks of the Seine”), the painting turned out to be worth somewhere between $75,000 to $100,000. However, after media reported the story, Baltimore Museum of Art came forward saying that the painting was stolen from them. The Federal Bureau of Investigation then took custody of it. As it later turned out, it was stolen from the museum in November 1951, and no one is sure how it got to West Virginia. The court ruled that Marcia Fuqua had no ownership rights of the painting, given that a property title cannot be transferred if it resulted from a theft.
“Holy smokes, that was a pretty good day!” We’d surely say the same if we discovered a violin among some trash by the side of the road in San Antonio, Texas, which would later turn out to be a 1922 Giuseppe Pedrazzini violin. This was precisely what happened to one Texan. He first took the instrument to a dealer in San Antonio to authenticate it and assess its value. “My wife has a violin that belonged to her grandfather and we thought that we could use it for parts to repair it,” the finder explained. Initially, he was offered $1000 for the violin. But when Peter Shaw of Houston dealers Amati Violin Shop appraised the violin for an episode of the PBS show Antiques Roadshow, the numbers were a tad different. As he explained, once cleaned and restored, the instrument could be worth as much as $50,000.
The unknowingly valuable hoard of brass doorknobs and other goods had been stored in a basement for 40 years before one English carpenter went to buy them. Brian Cairns thought the ornate items would be worth £60,000 in scrap. When, upon closer inspection, Brian realized that the brass goods might be vintage, he sent them for experts to evaluate. The haul that included thousands of brass doorknobs and knockers, handles, light switches, ornate wall brackets, chandeliers and bowler hat stands, have been identified as an Italian vintage made by Valli and Columbo. All dating back at least 65 years, they have been valued at a whopping £2M. “These are items that you would never have thought you would have the chance to buy. I think I was just lucky,” Brian told the media back in 2015.
One businessman from England was rummaging through a garage sale in Las Vegas when he came across some $5 sketches. One of them was a depiction of the singer Rudy Vallee, who was famous back in the 1930s. Andy Fields, the businessman, purchased the sketches from a man who claimed they were his aunt’s, who used to watch over Andy Warhol as a child. Carrying on with his business, the man didn’t think much about it until he reframed the picture. On the back of it, he found a signature—as you guessed it, it was none other than that of the famous Andy Warhol. The sketch shows pre-Pop Art Warhol’s style, and could possibly have been made when the artist was merely 10-11 years old. A valuer told Andy Fields the sketch could be worth somewhere around $2 million, but the businessman didn’t want to sell it just yet.
The Advantages of Online Casino Welcome Bonuses
When it comes to online gambling, the industry is thriving in 2020. Although casinos are banned in many countries, people still find ways to enjoy their favorite games of chance. However, considering the level of competition on the market, it may be difficult for a beginner to find a good online platform and take advantage of all offers. In this article, you will learn the benefits of casinos’ welcome bonuses.
What Is a Sign-Up Bonus?
As we have already established, the industry is growing rapidly and companies are desperately looking for new ways to attract customers. A welcome bonus is often used by online casinos to get new leads and players in the future. However, the best casino bonuses can be easily used to the player’s advantage. Here are the main reasons you should not neglect this offer.
- It saves your money
Quite obvious, right? Well, this is the main reason why you should always use welcome bonuses in online gambling: it is always better to not risk your own money. It is especially true for beginners. Since they have no experience, it is fairly common for beginners to lose their initial investment and be done with gambling for good. However, if you use your welcome bonus as a way of getting the basics skills, the chances of success will rise significantly.
- It allows you to try several games
Another common issue beginners face is a lack of understanding of which types of games they want to try: slots, roulette, baccarat, blackjack, etc. If you use your sign-up bonus, you will be able to play several games and choose the ones you like better. Moreover, you can take advantage of a welcome bonus on several online gambling platforms. That way you will try out even more options.
- It will make future gambling more profitable
Besides beneficial sign-up bonuses, good online casinos usually have great loyalty programs. For instance, the company may double up to five first deposits on the platform. If you invest 100 USD, you will get 200 USD to your account. More money — more games — more chances of winning.
Although a welcome bonus is a great way of upping your gambling game, there are a few things you should pay attention to. Firstly, a good bonus does not equal a good platform. Before choosing a casino, make sure that the company is legal and trustworthy. Since there are many scams right now, it is essential if you want to save your money. Moreover, check the available deposit/withdrawal methods and their terms.
We hope that this article has shown the true power of online casinos’ welcome bonuses and how you can use them to your own advantage. Follow our tips while choosing a platform and enjoy the best gambling experience.
3 Key Mistakes to Avoid When Playing Blackjack
Blackjack is the most popular casino game in the world. The card game, sometimes referred to as ‘21’, accounts for an average of 31 percent of all casino table traffic – this is consistent both online and in physical casinos. For reference, the second most popular is roulette (24%) followed by poker (21%).
It’s easy to understand blackjack’s popularity. It’s a simple game to grasp and offers players a mix of luck and skill: luck in the cards that are drawn, skill over how those cards are dealt and a player’s eventual hand. Compare that to roulette, which is based entirely on luck, and poker, which has a huge skill element to it.
However, while the beauty of blackjack is in its simplicity, there are also a number of complexities to the game, and as is the case with almost anything in life, you learn more from mistakes than successes.
With that in mind, here are three key mistakes to avoid when playing blackjack that can significantly increase your chances of winning, while limiting your losses.
Choosing the Wrong Table
Before a single card is drawn, being at the wrong table – whether live or online – is the first mistake to avoid.
First of all, each blackjack table will have different minimum bet requirements so avoid choosing one that is out of your budget. For instance, if you choose a table with a $100 minimum bet and your budget is $200, you might only play two hands.
Secondly, check the payout odds on the blackjack table. These are typically 6:5 and 3:2 and will affect how much gets paid out when you hit blackjack and land other bonus wins. Where possible, choose a 3:2 table as it pays out higher.
Thirdly, choose between a virtual and a live table. This is not so much a mistake to avoid but more comes down to personal preference. Virtual tables allow players to play against an automated computer, so you can play at your own pace, while live tables are usually quicker paced as human dealers are keen to move the game along.
When to Hit and Stand
As a general rule, most blackjack players know to hit when the hand is 12 and to stand when the hand equals 17. However, there are plenty of variables to consider that could influence when to hit and stand. Getting these right can really boost your chances of beating the house, while getting it wrong could prove costly.
One key move to implement is to always hit on a soft 17 – when the two cards are an ace and a six. This means that if you draw a 10 or picture card (jack, queen, king), then you convert your hand into a hard 17. It also gives greater flexibility if you draw a smaller value card as the ace can be used as a one.
While many players adopt a strict ‘never bust’ policy, meaning they always stand when their hand equals 12 or more, this can be ill-advised as it depends almost entirely on the dealer going bust.
Instead, analyze the value of your two cards compared to the dealer’s first card and weigh up the risk factor in drawing another card before the dealer draws their second. As a strict rule, if your first two cards equal 17 or more, then stand – anything else can be hit depending on the situation.
When to Split and Double
If you are playing in a blackjack tournament, either online or live, learning when to split and double can make all the difference to your chances of success. The same also applies to individual games of blackjack.
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Splitting is when you split two cards when dealt the same value cards, so a pair of eights for example. Doubling is when you are given the option to double your bet after being dealt your initial two cards.
While it can be tempting to split and double at every opportunity to increase your winning, doing at the right time is the key.
It is not recommended to split when:
- You are dealt two picture cards or two 10s
- You are dealt two 9s
- You are dealt two 5s
- The dealer holds a 10 or picture card
It is best to split when:
- You are dealt two 8s
- You are dealt two aces
- The dealer holds a 5 or 6 (as this is the highest probability of a bust)
Similar to knowing when to hit and stand, take a brief moment to assess the dealer’s drawn card compared to your own two cards and determine whether the probabilities are in your favour.
Likewise, knowing when to double down – when not to double down – can change the complexities of your blackjack game. A simple rule to know when to double is if your two cards equal 10 and the dealer’s card is between 2-9. Additionally, if you hold an ace, you can consider a double as these have the flexibility of playing as 11 or 1. But if the dealer’s card is an ace, ignore the double.
Blackjack may be a simple game but there are some important strategies to keep in mind next time you head to the virtual or live table. The game itself is still rooted in luck so there are never any guarantees to long-term success. However, by keeping these three important rules in mind, you can at least avoid making avoidable mistakes.
Top 5 Entertainment Activities for College Students
The life of college students is sometimes too complicated. They have to face tons of homework assignments that steal their time. Many students get stressed because of continuous learning. They seem to forget how to relax. If you’re a busy student, you should remember that you’re still young and shouldn’t waste this precious life stage. You can undertake some entertainment activities sometimes. Take your friends and organize funny games to unwind and let off some pressure. We asked writing experts from a professional essay service Smart Writing Service to share their ideas and provide you with top-5 entertainment activities for college students you may like.
Who Are You?
Students, especially freshmen, don’t know each other perfectly. They may be taken by surprise when some of them tell something quite unexpected about their hobbies, preferences, and so on. If you want to know other students better, suggest playing a game called “Who Are You”.
Form at least three teams. If there are many folks, you can form more teams. Choose a speaker of the game. It may be even one of your teachers or professors. All groups will be given topics to discuss. The speaker is supposed to announce a new topic every few minutes. You may discuss and answer the following topics:
- What is the greatest challenge you are facing?
- What do you like or hate most about yourself?
- What is your greatest value in life?
- What emotions do you express easily?
- What is the most valuable thing in friendship?
- Who you want to become in five years?
- What is your major objective for next year?
- Is there something you want to improve about yourself?
- What motto do you try to live by?
- Where would you like to travel?
- If you were to study abroad, what country would that be?
Students should write their answers on index cards. The speaker should gather the answers of every student and shuffle them. Afterward, he/she redistributes them randomly to students. Each person should guess whose card he/she is holding. Play this game after you spend some time together and already know at least something about one another.
Another fun activity is “Sentence Completion.” Most people like it because it’s commonly accompanied by laughter and good mood. It’s necessary to prepare a list of sentences. Those sentences should have a beginning, but with no end. Every student should finish the sentence he/she gets. Oftentimes, students give funny answers. At times, they are quite serious, and we can learn something important about other students. Here are several sentence beginnings you may choose:
- Before I came to college, I was interested in…
- When I was a child, I wanted to become…
- The best moment I remember most about high school is…
- My favorite pet is…
- The things I value most are…
- Five years from now I hope to be…
- My greatest personality trait is…
- My favorite subject at high school was…
- If I could change one thing in the world, it would be…
- My greatest fear is…
- After I graduate from college, I…
The Reception Line
You may likewise try another entertaining activity for college students. It is called “The Reception Line.” Gather all the mates eager to participate. Divide yourselves into two groups. If you form more, it won’t fit the rules of the game. Each person talks to the person in front of him/her until he/she must move. The person at the end of one line goes to the end of the other line. This method makes it possible to meet new people. Thus, students will learn more about each other. You can make shifts every next topic or set a limit. For example, the pair should discuss 5 topics and afterward move to change partners. Here are some interesting topics to discuss:
- Where would you like to travel?
- What motto do you try to follow?
- What is your favorite movie?
- What music do you like?
- What is your favorite hobby?
- Why did you choose this college?
- What do you like about college life the most?
You can likewise suggest a game, which offers only two options. It’s called “Take Sides.” Create a list of questions with two answers. Students should obligatorily choose one of them. Afterward, you may discuss the answers. Let everyone explain his/her choices. Thus, you’ll learn more about each other, and it will bring you closer. Here are several suggestions:
- Watermelon or banana?
- Sweat or bitter?
- Short trips every weekend or a journey around the world for three months?
- Partying or hiking?
- Listen or speak?
- Rock or pop?
- Morning or night?
- Superman or Batman?
- Robocop or Terminator?
- Harry Potter or the Lord of the Rings?
- Los Angeles or New York?
- Liberal or conservative?
- American football or ice hockey?
My Most Embarrassing Moment
You can likewise tell each other about the most embarrassing moments. It’s important to be honest and don’t imagine a story that never took place. All the participants should agree on this term. Commonly, it is a very entertaining activity. Students tell funny stories they’ve been through. It commonly makes them closer.
These activities for college students are very simple to follow. They are really entertaining. Mind that we have mentioned only 5 of them. However, you can try a hundred activities more. Use our examples to have fun and relax. They may inspire you and your friends to look for other entertaining activities.