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20 Pieces Of "Junk" That Made Their Owners Rich On 'Antiques Roadshow'

PBS

Growing up, my family watched hours and hours of PBS - mainly because we couldn't agree on anything else.

As a kid I couldn't stand Antiques Roadshow, but now I can't stop watching it.

I guess we all dream of finding a piece of "junk" in the attic that turns out to be worth millions.

The popular antiquing show turns up at least one piece of hidden gold on every episode.

But these 20 garage sale finds and family heirlooms were worth a bundle for their lucky owners.

1.  Norman Rockwell's "The Little Model" - $500,000

Antiques Roadshow - Normal Rockwell painting
PBS

You read that right, someone inherited an original painting by the great American painter. Rockwell gave it to the current owner's great-grandmother as a gift.

2. Winston Churchill's cigar - around $1,000

Antiques Roadshow - Winston Churchill's cigar
Caters

The iconic British prime minister reportedly smoked this stogie while planning the historic D-Day invasion.

Other cigars chomped by Churchill have sold for up to $12,000.

3. Edgar Allan Poe picture - $50,000

PBS

Quoth the antique appraiser: this rare photo of the famous writer is worth a lot, despite its tiny size.

4. Gold-plated Luxus II camera - $620,000

Luxury Trump

This one-of-a-kind antique was dubbed "the rarest camera in the world."

Only four of the lizard-skin and gold cameras were ever made, and this was the last surviving model.

5. Prussian plate - $185,000

Antiques Roadshow - Prussian plate
Just Collecting

This antique's owner wanted to appraise her rare books, but brought along the plate that came with them, "just in case."

Of course, they discovered it once belonged to Prussia's King Frederick II.

6. Jardiniere vase - over $820,000

PBS

Unbelievably, farmer Terry Nurrish's children used this antique vase as a goalpost for their soccer games.

Appraisers revealed it had been made by the famous french designer Christofle, making it worth a pretty penny.

7. "Ozzy the Owl" vase - $25,000

Antiques Roadshow - owl vase
BT.TV

This funky vase held flowers for its owner - until they learned it was a rare piece from 1640.

Now Ozzy lives in a museum. What a hoot!

8. Navajo blanket - $750,000 to 1 million

Antiques Roadshow - Navajo blanket
PBS

The handmade blankets were made especially for Native American Ute chiefs.

This was one of the oldest and best-preserved blankets ever, until an even more impressive piece sold for $1.5 million.

9. Seymour card table - $600,000

PBS

The table's owner found this piece at a yard sale for just $25.

Appraisers told her that the table was worth a small fortune, because it was made by a famous designer.

Her reaction says it all.

10. Peanuts comic strips - $450,000

Antiques Roadshow - Peanuts comics
PBS

The late, great comics artist Charles Schulz famously gave away the original copies of his famous strips.

That made this collection - which a woman paid just $400 for - extremely valuable years later.

11. 1950 mobile - $400-600,000

Antiques Roadshow - Calder mobile
PBS

All that for a few bits of plastic and string?!

In fact, this was one of the first mobiles ever built, made by the toy's inventor Alexander Calder.

12. Clyfford Still painting -  $500,000

Antiques Roadshow - Clifford Still painting
PBS

Take our advice: before you give a painting away, find out if it's worth anything.

This housewarming gift made its new owner rich, once she discovered the American master had painted it.

13. Diego Rivera painting - $800,000

Antiques Roadshow - Rivera painting
PBS

Oh, and check behind your office door too.

That's where this extremely valuable painting was left hanging for years.

14. Jade bowls - $1.5 million

Antiques Roadshow - jade bowls
PBS

An art collector picked these masterfully carved Chinese bowls up for dirt cheap during the 1930s and '40s.

The investment paid off for his children and grandchildren.

15. Van Dyck painting - $673,000

Antiques Roadshow - Van Dyck
BBC

This portrait by the Flemish artist was labeled a fake, which allowed a priest to snag it for only $500.

But the original owners were the ones who got faked-out, because it was 100% real.

16. Rhino horn teacups - $1.5 million

Antiques Roadshow - rhino teacups
PBS

A man picked these quirky pieces up in the 1970s, just because they caught his eye.

He had to ask for his asthma inhaler when the appraiser told him they were priceless masterpieces.

17. Boston Red Stockings memorabilia - $1 million

Antiques Roadshow - baseball cards
PBS

Before baseball cards were a global craze, someone was smart enough to hold on to these vintage collectibles.

The set also included a sheet of autographs from the players.

18. Original Honus Wagner baseball card - at least $780,000

Antiques Roadshow - Honus Wagner
PBS

Speaking of expensive baseball cards - this one is famously rare, because only a small number of Wagner cards were ever made.

Wagners in good condition regularly sell for more than a million dollars.

19. Patek Philippe pocket watch - $1.5 million

Antiques Roadshow - pocket watch
PBS

Pocket watches aren't in style these days, but this one was specially designed for the American entrepreneur George Thompson.

20. "Antique vase" - $50,000

PBS

Hey, they can't all be winners.

This kitschy piece of art was identified as a rare piece by a famous artist.

Then, it was revealed as a child's art project from the 1970s - meaning it's actually worthless. Too bad.

Have you ever made a great find while antiquing?

I write about all sorts of things for Shared, especially weird facts, celebrity news, and viral stories. CONTACT: zachary@shared.com