Hidden Gems | Vintage

7 Times Garage Sale Items Were Actually Worth Small Fortunes

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Next time you're out pursuing a weekend garage sale, don't quickly turn a blind eye to knick-knacks and trinkets, because they could be worth a small fortune.  

If you watch enough Antiques Roadshow, you know that some of the strangest items can get the highest bids at auction.

From old baseball cards, to scripts, electronics and furniture you could come across a treasure at a local garage sale and not even know it!

Check out these amazing finds these lucky people had unexpectedly.

$25 Card Table Garage-Sale Bargain, Is Sold for $541,500

A card table that Claire Wiegand-Beckmann bought for only $25 at a garage sale proved to be a good investment. As it turns out the table was an 18th century rare find and sold for $541,500.

"I'm flying," 71 year-old Claire said after the sale.

The retired teacher had bought the table at a garage sale more than 30 years ago and had it in her home in Bergen County, New Jersey.

"I've always been a garage-sale enthusiast, but I never expected to get this much for anything," she said.

The table was purchased by Israel Sack Inc., a New York dealer of fine American antiques, which as it turned out, was only 1 of 6 made by the Boston furniture maker John Seymour & Son.

$25 Painting Sold for $79,500

Wanda Bell, an antique collector purchases a painting for only $25 at an auction near Nashville 8 years ago. She named it "Uncle George" after bringing it home.

Wanda was able to sell the painting to Connecticut antiques dealer, Wayne Pratt. The work of art was believed to be one of the best-preserved examples of New England artist Sheldon Peck's early work. Entitled "Portrait of a Dark-Haired, Blue-Eyed Gentleman", the painting dates back to about 1830.

"I am very sentimental and I will miss him," said Bell. "But I am delighted it is going to someone who will appreciate it."

$2.48 Declaration of Independence Copy Sold for $477,650

When Congress put William J. Stone up to the job of creating 200 copies of the Declaration of Independence in 1820, Michael Sparks from Tennessee never anticipated being in possession of one of them.  

It was believed that only 35 of those copies were in existence today until Michael found the 36th reproduction.

Shopping at a garage sale, he purchased salt and pepper shakes along with the document for $2.48. After examining what be believed to be a reprint copy, he noticed an engraving that was far too intricate for a mass-produced version. After his suspicions were verified, he sold the 36th copy in existence for $477,650.

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