Forget pirate maps, people are finding treasure just by checking abandoned storage units! It’s better than finding vintage baseball cards in your grandma’s attic. We’re talking cold hard cash and a stash of gold!
When someone stops paying for a storage unit, storage facilities usually wait 60 days and then sell the contents of the unit at auction. Bidders don’t really know what they’re getting because they’re only allowed to glance at the contents from outside, but the potential can be very tantalizing. Auction winners who roll the dice could potentially uncover hidden treasures worth 1,000 times their bid!
No, NPP is not in the business of selling abandoned storage units (more like discounted moving units and practical products for business), but it’s such an exciting subject. Everybody loves buried treasure, right? Here’s a quick look at the most valuable storage unit finds of all time. Maybe it will inspire you to find storage auctions near you:
A complete collection of Sports Illustrated magazines worth $100,000
A Dallas man spent $300 thinking he was going to get used Hyundai auto parts. He also found a complete collection of Sports Illustrated magazines in very good condition, including autographed copies. The storage locker also held old reel-to-reel tape interviews with famous sports-related people, including the former owner of the now-defunct football team the New Jersey Generals, Donald Trump.
$300,000 stashed cash in a teddy bear
A homeless couple was looking for a couch to use in their Arizona desert camp. They found an auction unit with a “ratty old couch” with a teddy bear perched on one of the arms. They bid the minimum $10 and no one else was interested. As they packed away the contents of the unit, they discovered that the teddy bear was packed with $300,000 in tightly wound bills. They kept the cash, paid their taxes and hired a lawyer to defend their claim on it.
Gold, silver & coins worth $500,000
Whether or not the auctions on the Storage Wars were staged, Storage Wars contestants Dan and Laura Dotson run real-life storage auctions. A bidder at one of their American Auctioneers events paid $1,100 for a storage unit and discovered a cache of treasure that would make a pirate green with envy. In an anonymous blue Rubbermaid container they found $500,000 in silver pieces of eight and silver and gold bars. The load of precious medals was so heavy, it took three men to remove it from the locker. Yarrr, now that’s a lot of pirate booty!
Willem de Kooning paintings valued at $2.5 million
An art auctioneer intrigued by a large collection of art bid $15,000 hoping to find a few paintings he could resell. Among the stockpile of 200 ‘minor works by minor artists’ he found five masterpieces from the master abstract expressionist Willem de Kooning. They had been lost and abandoned during a restoration process and the restorationist had passed away. The new owner had them carefully repaired and put them to auction, fetching millions.
$7.5 million in cash locked away
The biggest reported storage locker find of all time was $7 million dollars. One lucky bidder spent $500 on an auction with a safe in it, not knowing what was inside. When the locker was sold, the original owner was notified, and they sent a lawyer to contact the winners and offer them a finder’s fee of $600,000 to give it back. The buyer declined and the lawyer doubled the offer to $1.2 million. The winning bidder accepted and ended up taking home $1.2 million without any additional challenges from the previous owners.
As exciting as these finds are, keep in mind that they are exceptional. There are no guarantees that there will be anything valuable in a storage locker and auction winners are required to remove all the contents within 24 hours. NPP members might consider using the PODS moving and storage discount to get their haul to a safe place where they can unpack and peruse the contents on their own schedule.
More than 300,000 NPP members coast to coast save on products and services, such as Verizon wireless, Sherwin-Williams, OfficeMax, Priceline hotels and more.
If your company is not already an NPP member, join NPP for free today! It’s an easy way to realize your own potential treasure. Reduce your costs with negotiated discount prices and enjoy a boost to your bottom line.