Every serious bargain-hunter has a story or two about an amazing op shop or garage sale find. From dollar-rack designer clothing to a full kitchen set at a fraction of the normal price!
Sorting through endless rows of preloved jackets or digging through boxes of household goods in search of hidden treasures is part of the thrill of second-hand shopping. When you find something great, it doesn’t just feel like you’re buying something. It feels like an achievement.
At Nimble, this got us wondering: what are the greatest vintage hidden treasure finds of all time?
So we scoured the net and came up with seven of the savviest scores from around the globe. Strap yourself in for some blockbuster bargains!
A True Master – A bit of sporting history for $5
The Masters, a prestigious golf tournament held in Augusta Georgia, rewards its annual winner with cash and the iconic green jacket. While I’m sure most winners have their jacket mounted somewhere in a trophy room, in 1994 one was found at a Toronto thrift store and purchased for the hefty sum of $5.00!
Quick question, who’s paid more than that for their morning coffee?
The jacket was sold at auction in 2017 for just over $139k. An op shop master without a doubt!
Fancy a cuppa? A historical artifact for just $4
One lucky and local Sydneysider took a chance on an interesting looking carved cup they found in a local op shop. It had a little chip on one of the ends, but the anonymous buyer still thought it looked interesting enough to hand over $4. As it turns out the cup was carved from a Rhinoceros’ horn, making it worth a LOT more.
Called a libation cup, the 17th-century Chinese relic was quite the find. It was purchased for two gold coins and sold in 2013 for $75k. Would you have dished out the dough for this little cup?
We declare this an incredible find! The rarest of documents for $4
A man shopping for some old artwork got more than he bargained for at a flea market in Pennsylvania. He purchased a framed artwork, unbelievably not even for the actual picture, but for the unique frame. However, upon trying to remove the frame from the canvas, it fell apart and revealed a folded piece of paper hidden inside.
The piece of paper as it turned out, was a genuine copy of the Declaration of Independence (a document so famous it’s in a movie with Nicolas Cage!)
With only 500 known to be created and less than 30 known to be in existence, this lucky lad turned his 4 dollar purchase into $2.42 million at an auction in 1991.
What could be hidden behind the frames at your local op shop?
The unicorn of Nintendo games
Bandai’s Stadium Events could be the rarest Nintendo Entertainment System (NES) game of all time.
It was released for a brief time before being recalled and then replaced by a similar game World Class Track Meet. You might wonder what’s so exciting about an old video game no one wanted to play? Well, few copies are known to exist and depending on the condition they can fetch upwards of $40k.
One copy was found and purchased by a lucky bargain hunter at a North Carolina thrift shop for $7.99. The shopper who couldn’t believe what she was seeing, quickly snatched up the coveted title without even letting the cashier take it out of her hands to scan it up!
She managed to find a buyer for $20K. And just think of how many times our parents told us that “games were a waste of money!”
A picture is worth more than a thousand words (much more)
Even if you don’t know a lot about art, you’ve probably heard about a guy called Picasso, right?
One shrewd gentleman in Ohio bought a print in an op shop when he spotted what looked like Picasso’s signature in the corner. The print, which was promoting an art show of Picasso’s work was purchased for $14.14.
Not long after making his find public, a private collector purchased the unverified piece for $7k. While there is some debate if it is really Pablo’s work or not, no one can argue with turning $14 into 7 thousand!
Time is a valuable thing
We’ve all seen the classic bin of watches in our local op shop. They’re usually filled with cheap quartz watches that are scratched up with missing parts and generally not worth looking at.
Well, next time you spot one it might be worth a second look. One lucky punter in an Arizona thrift shop, took the time (get it?) to look through the watch pile and was rewarded big time.
He found a one of a kind model of a rare brand: the Lecoultre Deep Sea Alarm Automatic. Sounds alright, huh? Well, what’s even more impressive was he was able to turn his $5.99 find into $35k.
We can all agree he must have had a great time (wink) and has given us all something to watch (last one we promise) out for.
A big bowl of cash for three bucks
This one is special because the bowl is pretty underwhelming to look at…wouldn’t you agree?
Would you give that a second look if you saw it sitting on the shelf?
Well, a New York family who purchased the bowl at a garage sale risked their $3 dollars on a hunch. After having the bowl reviewed by experts, it was found they had picked up an extremely rare piece of Chinese history.
From the Ding dynasty, the bowl was over a thousand years old, and the only other similar piece known in existence is in a museum. Initially, the bowl was expected to sell for $200-300k but surprised everyone when it sold for $2.2 million.
3 dollars into $2.2 million, on a little bowl, now THAT is crazy.
And there you have it! Nimble’s 7 most valuable second-hand discoveries. Do you know of any we’ve missed? Or maybe you’ve made one of your own? Either way, drop us a line in the comments below!
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