10 Times People Did Not Realize the Worth of their Discoveries

by Unbelievable Facts3 years ago0 comments

6 A ceramic Chinese bowl that a New York family picked up for $3 at a garage sale turned out to be a 1,000-year-old treasure worth $2.2 million.

A New York family picked up a Chinese bowl from a garage sale without realizing that it would make them millionaires. The 5-inch-diameter bowl, which is made out of ceramic with a saw-tooth pattern on the outside, turned out to be a 1,000-year-old treasure. The bowl was purchased in 2007, and the family kept it on their mantel until 2013.

It was sold in a Sotheby auction for $2.2 million to Giuseppe Eskenazi, a famous dealer of Oriental art. Experts say that the bowl belonged to the Northern Song Dynasty that ruled China between 960 and 1127. The only other bowl similar in design and size to this one has been a part of a collection in the British Museum for more than 60 years. (source)

7 A man bought a photograph on eBay for just $AU13 without realizing that it was an actual and rare 19th-century portrait of the infamous outlaw, Jesse James. The photograph turned out to be worth more than $AU2 million.

Justin Whiting purchased a tintype photograph from eBay for just $AU13 in July 2017. He actually noticed a similarity of the photograph to a Jesse James photo that he had seen earlier. Whiting said, “I noticed the picture for sale — it was $13. It was a bit blurry on the site, but when I got it, it was a lot clearer. I thought to myself: ‘Gee whizz, this could be a real photo!’ I’ve been obsessed with American outlaws for years and read lots of books and study their faces.”

Once he received the photo, he contacted forensic experts to establish its authenticity. The experts told him that his eBay purchase could be worth at least $AU2.6 million. Jesse James was a famous outlaw and a notorious bank and train robber. Experts confirmed that the concerned photograph is a genuine portrait of the outlaw taken when he was just 14. (source)


8 A man was rummaging through a garage sale looking for a barber chair when he stumbled upon two deteriorated boxes of items for $45. He later found the boxes contained 65 glass-plate negatives from iconic photographer Ansel Adams that were worth $200 million.

Rick Norsigian was looking for an antique barber chair at a garage sale when he saw two deteriorated boxes laying there. He negotiated with the owner and bought the boxes in 2000 that contained photo negatives for $45. He left them under his pool table for almost four years before he realized their worth. After enough research, he realized that the contents of the boxes might have belonged to Ansel Adams, the famous American landscape photographer and environmentalist. He then moved them into a bank vault for safekeeping.

Patrick Alt, a photography expert, helped confirm the authenticity of the negatives. Alt says, “It is my belief that he brought these negatives with him for teaching purposes and to show students how to not let their negatives be engulfed in a fire. I think this clearly explains the range of work in these negatives, from very early pictorialist boat pictures to images not as successful, to images of the highest level of his work during this time period.”

It could be a while before Norsigian will be able to reap the benefits of his discovery, but experts have stated the negatives could fetch at least $200 million. (source)

9 Back in 1938, a 12-year-old boy found a huge black rock that he brought home. His father used it as a doorstop for nine years without realizing that it was a 1,156-carat sapphire, world’s largest sapphire. Later, when the sapphire was cut, its value jumped to a whopping $1 million dollars.

1,156-carat Sapphire
Image credit: Greyloch/Flickr

Even a precious gemstone would appear to be a simple rock unless it is polished. So, it was evident that when 12-year-old Roy Spencer found a large black rock in 1938, he never realized that it could be something more than just a rock. The boy’s father was a miner, but he had never seen a sapphire of this color, so even he didn’t realize the value of the rock and used it as a doorstep for almost nine years!


Years later, the dad learned about the different colors in which sapphires come. He put it up for sale which caught the attention of Armenian-born jeweler Harry Kazanjian. Kazanjian paid $18,000 to the miner and bought the sapphire.

For two months, Kazanjian studied the sapphire to find out the best way to cut it. His hard work paid off, and the expertly carved 733-carat black star sapphire was worth $1 million in 1949. The sapphire was named “The Black Star of Queensland” and is now a majestic pendant framed by 35 diamonds. It is worth $80 million and is one of the most famous sapphires in the world. It received fame when it appeared on television worn by Cher, the American singer and actress. The sapphire is still owned by the Kazanjian family. (1, 2)

10 A California man inherited a family heirloom from his great-grandmother. He thought it to be useless and left it in his closet for almost seven years before he discovered it to be a Navajo blanket from the 1800s worth $1.5 million.  Apparently, the man’s family considered the blanket to be “a dirty old thing.”

This is kind of a true rags-to-riches story. Loren Krytzer was broke and unemployed and surviving on disability checks when he became the bearer of $1.5 million. The money came from a family heirloom that has been sitting in his closet for seven years!

Krytzer inherited a blanket from his grandmother. When his grandmother died, Krytzer went to her home to get the books that she had promised him. He noticed that most of the things were already taken by his mother and sister. The only thing left at the house was a bag that contained two blankets – a Hudson’s Bay blanket and a Navajo blanket. Krytzer had once seen his grandmother lay out the blanket when her cat was having kittens. Krytzer’s sister took the Hudson’s Bay blanket and left the Navajo blanket calling it a “dirty old thing.” Krytzer picked it up and kept it in his closet and a reminder of his grandmother.

Krytzer lost his leg in an accident and was living on just $200 a month. A glimmer of hope came to his dark life in 2011 while watching Antiques Roadshow. He saw that a similar blanket to the one his grandmother had that was said to be worth a half a million dollars. All the auctioneers he went to turned him away. Only one, John Moran Auctioneers, agreed to have a look. They found that it is one of the finest and rarest Navajo chief’s blankets existing in the world. The blanket sold for $1.5 million at an auction. And to this day, this blanket is the most expensive item the company has ever sold at an auction. (source)

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