Sometimes, a fortune falls into a person’s hands seemingly out of nowhere. Whether they were cleaning out an attic, tripped across something interesting at a flea market or yard sale, or uncovered a treasure during a remodel, sometimes a valuable find can catapult a person into a new tax bracket without much warning.
These seven discoveries did just that, leaving their finders rich after they found what amounts to a real-life treasure.
4,000 Artifacts – Staffordshire, England
Terry Herbert, an amateur archeologist, asked his friend if he could search his fields with a metal detector, ultimately discovering around 4,000 artifacts with a total estimated value of $5.3 million.
Wall of Coins – Windber, Pennsylvania
A house in the town had sat empty for over 20 years, effectively abandoned. When some local children discovered several old coins near a wall, they told their parents about what they found. The parents busted into the wall, revealing hundreds of coins, including some rare ones that made the collection worth around $200,000.
“Royal One” Opal – Australia
A miner named Bobby tripped across a blue-colored opal in a bucket of stones. He decided to keep it but didn’t show it to a specialist until 14 years later, who identified it as a rare black opal. According to experts, based on a report by Bright Side, the original cost of the opal at auction was $3 million.
Envelopes of Cash – Cleveland
During a remodel he was completing for Amanda Reece, Bob Kitts discovered two metal medicine cabinets behind the tile in a bathroom. Inside were envelopes filled with cash, addressed to The P. Dunne News Agency. In total, $182,000 was discovered.
Reece and Kitts couldn’t agree on a fair split of the find, leading them to go to court. During the process, P. Dunne found out about the cash, further complicating the matter. In the end, the court decided to divide the money equally between the three.
“Hoxne Hoard” – Great Britain
A farmer, Peter Whatling, looking for a missing hammer with the help of a friend who had a hand-made metal detector. The friend, Eric Lawes, discovered a small wooden box filled with jewelry and hundreds of old coins. The find had an estimated value of $15 million, though the artifacts were given to the British Museum instead of sold.
Lawes was given a cash prize for the find, worth approximately $2.3 million. He shared the windfall with Whatling, whose hammer was never found.
The Declaration of Independence – Pennsylvania
A man purchased a painting at a garage sale for just $4. When he went to change the frame, he found a document behind the painting, which was identified as one of the 25 original copies of the Declaration of Independence. It later sold at auction for $2.4 million.
Gold – Ballarat Australia
After walking across some desert islands, a local farmer found small pieces of gold. He kept digging, discovering a large chunk, weighing 5.5 kg, that had a value of $315,000.