Warehouses, self-storage facilities and shipping crates all hold an air of mystery about them, particularly when you start wondering what might be held inside them. Popular shows such as Storage Wars, Auction Hunters and the like facilitate the growing interest around finding lost valuables hidden away inside otherwise forgotten storage containers, and storage auctions are now a popular and growing format in the US and the UK.
Of course the vast majority of the time buying a storage container will net you little more than some unwanted furniture and worn clothes, so unless you’re running a warehouse consultancy or have some insider knowledge you’re unlikely to find anything truly valuable. But even with that said, there’s always the chance that you could uncover something that will make you rich – and potentially even famous.
In this post we look at 5 of the most valuable finds from locked storage containers, demonstrating that it is possible to make your fortune from this increasingly popular form of modern-day prospecting:
The Day Elvis Died
In 2010 a storage unit was found to contain a huge collection of newspapers all dated August 16th 1977, the day Elvis Presley died. This might not seem like the find of the century, but they were in such good condition that the entire collection was valued at $90,000.
Pieces of Eight
In 2011, a storage locker was sold on Storage Wars for $1,000, and was then opened and found to contain a hoard of pirate treasure, including Spanish gold dating back to the 16th Century. One box of coins – which was so heavy it needed three people to lift it – was valued at more than $500,000.
Action Comics #1
In 2011 a bidder at a California storage auction found a near-mint copy of Action Comics #1 inside the container he had purchased. The comic was sold via an online auction for more than $2,000,000. In an interesting twist, it was found that the comic had previously been owned by Nicholas Cage, who reported it stolen in 2000.
In the third season of the hit US show Storage Wars, the contestant Darrell purchased a sealed container for $3,600. The storage unit was then opened and found to be packed with original artwork by Frank Gutierez, including drawings, paintings and modern works. The entire collection was valued at close to $300,000.
The Beach Boys Haul
In the late 00’s, a radio station based in Florida purchased a sealed locker at an auction for around $300, with the contents being listed as ‘documents and papers’. When it was opened, those documents were found to be handwritten lyrics, photographs, music sheets and contracts all belonging to The Beach Boys. Despite an eight-year court battle where the band members tried to claim ownership of the contents of the locker, the collection was eventually sold at auction for more than £6,000,000.