We have all heard stories about people finding treasures in rubbish and most of us have seen Antiques Road Show where many such stories have come to life. For most of us when we look at the waste that’s all we find, but for some very lucky people there have been some magnificent finds.
Nick Dimiola – the Lucky Bin Man
The first story to tell is that of Nick Dimiola. Nick owned a waste removal service and was one day contacted about removing rubbish from the estate of a deceased artist. His crews cleaned up the ‘junk’ and the last item they took out was a large cardboard trash barrel filled to the brim. This, among other things, was taken back to the warehouse to be sorted before going to the dump. Upon closer inspection a few days later, it was found that the bottom of the ‘trash can’ was filled with ancient Mayan Art valued at over $16,000. Not a bad haul for a bin man.
Just a few years ago a man who was known for dumpster diving in New York City happened upon the dumpster of his dreams. While searching the ‘dumpster’ he found a very expensive laptop that seemed almost new. Once home he started it up to find it in excellent working condition. After a few hours he found out exactly why it was thrown away. This laptop belonged to the infamous Goldman Sachs trader Fabrice Tourre and contained hundreds of secret emails regarding his mortgage fraud scheme. Our ‘dumpster diver’ made a nice penny turning this item over to prosecutors, and Fabrice Tourre learned the hard way that you never throw away important items, especially if they can be used to convict you.
House Clearance Hits Gold
Everyone has heard about re-claiming storage units that have lapsed in payment – made famous by the television show “Storage Wars” and there are always a few good finds to be had, but the majority of these re-claimed units are mostly rubbish that has to be hauled away at the new owner’s expenses. Well, one winning bidder for a lapsed storage unit paid $1,100 for the unit and had to figure out how to haul away over $500,000 in gold bars and silver bullion. Sometimes it pays to take a gamble.
Kentucky Recycler Strikes It Lucky
A Kentucky man in 2009 was cleaning out a house and decided he would recycle as much as he could so among the waste he found old barrels he could use to sort the items. One particular barrel he used for metal and a few months later when he took that full barrel to the recycling centre he noticed something odd. When he threw out the metal, the bottom of the barrel was stuffed with U.S. Savings bonds valued at over $20,000. It pays to recycle, people.
Not long ago in the great state of Pennsylvania a woman was cleaning out her house and was actively throwing away decades of ‘junk’. She decided though that some of the ‘junk’ might sell and thought a ‘yard sale’ would be perfect. Among the items for sale was a very old and ugly painting that she put a price of $4.00 on. After a few hours a man happened by and decided he liked the frame and might be able to restore it. He paid the $4.00 and took it home. Once home he took the frame apart only to find that it wasn’t worth saving but the folded up piece of paper that fell out from behind the painting was. It turns out that folded up piece of paper was one of 24 known original copies of the Declaration of Independence. It later sold at auction for $2.42 million.
Next up we have Elizabeth Gibson who was walking home from work one day in New York City and happened to see a painting sitting on the ‘curb’ along with the other rubbish to be picked up. She didn’t know what to make of the painting but she liked the colours so she took it home with her. Doing a little research on the artist she found that she had picked a masterpiece out of the trash. The painting was “Tres Personajes” painted by a famous Mexican artist named Rufino Tamayo. It sold at auction for $1 million. Not a bad haul at all.
Discarded Scratch Card Nets $1 Million
Lastly we have the story of a Massachusetts man who made a regular habit of dumpster diving at his local area convenience store. You see he had it in his mind that people would often throw away winning lottery tickets and from time to time he would find winning tickets that would net him a few dollars. Then on one day in 2005 he literally hit the jackpot when he found an unclaimed scratch off ticket worth $1 million dollars. Not all was great though as the original owner came forward and successfully sued the man in court for $140,000. Still, over 3/4 of a million dollars isn’t bad for a few minutes digging in the rubbish.
From Trash to Treasure: 7 of the Most Valuable Items Ever Found in the Dumpster: http://www.hometowndumpsterrental.com/blog/from-trash-to-treasure-7-of-the-most-valuable-items-ever-found-in-the-dumpster