If there’s one good thing that came from reality TV, it’s the shows on the A&E Television Networks. Whether you believe they’re staged or not, popular programs like “Storage Wars,” “Pawn Stars” and “American Pickers” have revealed just how many cool and crazy things you can find while rummaging through your basement, cleaning out your grandma’s attic, or ransacking old storage units. Here are just a few of the most bizarre and cool treasures found in storage.
10. WWII Grenade
A man found a WWII-era grenade buried in his front yard in Sausalito, California. Even though members of the bomb squad determined that the military weapon was not active, they still destroyed it. Authorities assume a veteran must have brought it home from the war as a souvenir.
9. Barrel of Rum
You could spend all day browsing the online HVAC forums. If you did, you’d find all kinds of funny stories about the bizarre things handymen find in people’s homes. They commonly report seeing antique beer bottles and Coke cans. One guy claims he came across a full barrel of rum in a hidden sub-basement in Detroit’s Indian Village. The likeliest explanation is that it had been there since Prohibition.
8. $500K Pirate Coin Collection
When one “Storage Wars” team stumbled upon a hoard of old coins, they never imagined that it would end up being a $500,000 pirate coin collection dating between the 16th and 19th centuries that someone had acquired over time. Coin collecting is starting to look like a pretty hot hobby right about now, don’t ya think?
7. ‘Knight Rider’ Car
The UK Storage Company has a page on its website where it talks about some of the strangest items people have stored. One that the staff will always remember fondly was a replica of Michael Knight’s KITT, the high-tech black car from the “Knight Rider” television series. In case you’ve forgotten, Michael Knight was played by David Hasselhoff.
6. Rare Movie Posters From the 1930s
More than 30 classic movie posters from the early 1930s popped up in an attic in Philadelphia. After experts separated the posters, which were stuck together, and did some minor touch-ups, they valued them at $250,000. The haul included artwork for such iconic films as “Dracula” and “The Public Enemy.”
5. $45,000 in Cold, Hard Cash
Soon after buying a new house in Utah, a man discovered bundles and bundles of bills — real U.S. currency — above the ceiling in his garage. It took the man and his family hours just to count all the cash. When they figured out they had more than 40 grand on their hands, they had a big decision to make. Should they keep it? In the end, they made the brave move and gave it back to the family of the previous homeowner, who had been stashing the money away for at least a decade before he died.
4. $80K Faberge Brooch
On one episode of “Pawn Stars,” a woman brings in a diamond and platinum spider brooch she found while cleaning out a relative’s house. She asked $2,000 for it, walked out with $15,000, and lo and behold, that bad boy is valued at $80,000.There is still some debate about the authenticity of said spider brooch, but that’s Rick’s problem now, isn’t it?
3. Nicolas Cage’s Stolen Comic Book
It took a Los Angeles art detective 11 years to track down a rare Superman comic book that was stolen from the home of actor Nicolas Cage. The first Superman edition, which has an estimated value of $1 million, finally turned up in a storage locker in Southern California. The comic book dealer who sold the collectible to Cage flew in from New York to help authorities in L.A. identify it.
2. $70 Million Qing Dynasty Vase
Stop me if you’ve heard this one. A brother and sister crawl up into a dusty, old attic to clear out their dearly departed parents’ home … and come back down carrying an ancient Chinese vase from the Qing dynasty worth roughly $70 million. Nobody’s exactly sure how the ornate vase featuring fish and flowers made its way from China’s Jiangxi Province to an attic in London.
1. Original ‘Huck Finn’ Manuscript
Hollywood librarian Barbara Gluck Testa set the literary world abuzz when she made a remarkable discovery in one of her grandfather’s trunks. What did she find? Oh just 665 handwritten pages of Mark Twain’s “Huck Finn.” The manuscript now resides at the Buffalo and Erie County Public Library.
Mike Cushing is a freelance writer for Whitman Publishing, a leading publisher in coin collecting books and supplies. They also publish Vault Books of sports teams and historical events.