Could you imagine if there was something totally shocking waiting to be discovered inside your home? There might be, because these 13 people all found hidden treasures – or unpleasant surprises – gathering dust in their attic:
The famous Dutch painter’s forgotten work The Sunset at Montmajour was hidden for almost 100 years in an art collector’s attic. After the collector died it was sold as part of his estate, and the home’s new owner didn’t stumble upon it until the 1990s. He had it checked by experts, but they called the priceless painting a fake because van Gogh had not signed it.
It took another two decades of research, including poring over the artist’s letters, to discover the painting was authentic. It turns out van Gogh probably didn’t like his work, which is why it was left unsigned.
In the 1980s, art gallery owner George Davis found a wooden box in the attic of his upstate New York home. Inside, he discovered a small wooden figure in a funny outfit. A little research later, he realized just what he had found in his attic.
The figure was a 70-year-old Faberge model commissioned by Czar Nicholas II of Russia for his wife Empress Alexandra. The figure’s blue eyes are actually tiny sapphires, and his trimmings are real gold. Davis eventually sold the figurine for more than $5 million.
A woman identified only as Tracy noticed strange things happening in her attic in Rock Hill, South Carolina. She heard bumps in the attic above her room, and noticed nails falling down from the ceiling. At first she guessed “there was some poltergeist stuff going on,” but the truth was even worse.
Tracy’s ex boyfriend had moved into her attic, making a bed out of the family’s coats. Cops later discovered he had been up there for weeks, spying on Tracy through an air vent. The kicker? Tracy and the man had split 12 years ago. Talk about obsessed.
In 1945, the Russians captured the Nazi government’s headquarters in Berlin. Inside, soldier found a number of boxes meant to be shipped to Hitler’s fortress in the mountains. Lew Beymenski, a Russian intelligence officer, helped himself to a souvenir.
Decades later his daughter Alexandra found what he had taken, hiding in their family’s attic. It was Hitler’s personal record collection. In case you’re curious, artists like Tchaichovsky, Alexander Borodin and Rachmaninoff all made the Fuhrer’s personal collection.
When Rudi Schlattener was a young boy, his family was forced to flee Chechslovakia and resettle in Germany. When he arrived, his father told him a secret, and made him promise that he would return to their family home. At the age of 83, Rudi kept his promise and returned home.
He went into the attic of his family’s villa – now a kindergarten – and pulled the hidden string his father told him about. It revealed a secret compartment, where his father had stashed all of the family’s possessions, hoping to return to his home some day and reclaim them.
Stephanie McCluskey called an exterminator to her home after noticing a wasp’s nest in her attic, but the worker’s discovered something even more dangerous up there. The bomb was a mortar explosive from World War 2, but thankfully it was disarmed.
“He said the good news is the wasps’ nest is gone,” McCluskey remembers, “but the bad news was that he found a bomb in my roof space with the propellers still on it.” The police were quickly called to dispose of it.
It was the find of the century for sports collectors. A unnamed man called a collectible shop to ask about his late uncle’s trove of football and baseball cards from the 50s and 60s. Buried in the collection was an unopened pack from 1948 that made collectors drool.
The series was the first released after World War 2 (because of paper rationing) and featured rookie cards for greats like Stan Musial, Yogi Berra and Ralph Kiner. The unopened packs sold for more than $500,000.
Talk about a one-of-a-kind discovery. Imgur user bellaluna went digging in his attic and found this strange wooden puzzle box. There were no clasps or knobs on the outside of the box, instead you have to slide open an edge and move a small piece of wood down to reveal a hidden drawer.
Inside he found a stash of jewelry, including a platinum ring with three diamonds, a gold ring with 27 diamonds, and a set of diamond cufflinks and tail buttons. While the cufflinks belong to bellaluna’s grandfather, the rings are a bit of a mystery, because his grandmother never wore them.
The artifact Alexander Kettler found in his attic in Diepholz, Germany wasn’t real, but it still raised a lot of questions. Kettler was convinced that “the Diepholz mummy” was a genuine treasure stolen by his grandfather from North Africa in the 1950s. Lab tests revealed it was actually made out of plastic and synthetic cloth.
So what was it doing there? “Unwrapping parties” were once a trend in Germany. Mummies were stashed with gifts, like an arrowhead in the skull of Kettler’s mummy, and guests would unwrap it to take them out.
Stephen Tull’s father was an insurance salesman who tried to write a book about the Civil Rights movement, and he interviewed a number of America’s leading figures as part of his research. But even his son was shocked by the taped interview he found tucked away in the attic.
It was labeled “Dr. King Interview Dec. 26, 1960,” and featured the a previously unheard interview with Martin Luther King discussing current events. It was such a rare find auctioneers dubbed it “a unicorn.”
Action Comics #1, the debut of the comic book hero Superman, is one of the rarest and most valuable comic books ever published. An issue of the 10 cent comic in good condition recently sold for more than $3 million. Even other early issues of the comic sell for huge amounts. So imagine Minnesota man David Gonzalez’s surprise when he found a copy of Action Comics #1 inside the walls of his home, along with other vintage comics.
He bought the fixer-upper for just $10,100, and discovered the comic was used as insulation between the walls, along with other pieces of “scrap paper.” Sadly the book was pretty worn, but it still fetched a tidy $175,000 at auction.
The name Stradivarius may mean nothing to you and me, but it’s a mark of quality for classical music fans. Antonio Stradivari was a violin designer who made incredible instruments during the 1700s, only 650 of which survive today. So when violinist Roman Totenberg had his Stradivarius stolen, it was a major crime.
Totenberg suspected another musician stole the instrument, but died before he could prove his suspicions. The violin was missing for over 30 years, until the thief passed away and the family found it locked inside a trunk in his attic. It was returned to Totenberg’s family, of course.
Josh Ferrin of Bountiful, Utah had just bought his first home and was giving it the once-over when he noticed something strange. A panel in the building’s roof had some carpet sticking out, and Ferrin opened it up to see what was inside. He found eight World War 2 ammo boxes stashed under the roof.
But Ferrin got another surprise when he opened the boxes: they were stuffed with cash. In total, he found $45,000 in rolled up bills. Incredibly, Ferrin tried to set a good example for his son and gave the money back to the previous owner’s family.
“I don’t believe you get a chance very often to do something radically honest,” he said, “to do something ridiculously awesome for someone else and that is a lesson I hope to teach my children.”
Share this list, then check your attic for anything worthwhile!