Many little kids dream of driving a big tank, but none of them probably imagine it’ll become a reality, or that they might even find an even bigger surprise hidden inside the tank. For Todd Chamberlain, though, the dream of operating a tank became a reality, and so did his amazing discovery. He was working on the tank at his farm in England, and then found an even bigger surprise when he looked inside!
Is the Tank for Real?
But, first, you might be wondering how and why a man would want to purchase a full-sized tank, particularly when he lives on a farm. After all, a tank is not an inexpensive purchase, nor would it be cheap for operation and maintenance. And, really, what would a farmer need with a tank?
Fortunately, there are answers to all those questions, and you’ll find that it’s easier than you might have ever imagined to buy (and drive) a tank. In fact, with companies like Tanks-alot, you can learn to drive or even tour London in a tank (or another military vehicle). It’s no longer just something you’d see in the movies. It’s a real-life adventure.
A Man and His Tanks
Collector Nick Mead really is living the dream of many tank enthusiasts. From his farm in Helmdon, England, he runs a whole business around tanks and related “crushing” adventures. Technically, he runs his business as Tanks-alot, the perfect name for a business that supplies those massive (and even smaller) military vehicles for a whole range of movies and TV shows. So, when you see a chase scene featuring a tank in your favorite movie, it could just be one of his vehicles.
Of course, he also offers those vehicles for private events and driving lessons, which means that it’s quite possible for you to have a tank experience yourself!
The Experience of Driving and Riding
There’s something about the experience of driving a tank that really does take adventure excursions to a whole new level. Just imagine being able to ride a huge tank and crush all the cars in your path. It’s gotta be exhilarating, as it is something that’s really outside of the standard hiking trip or even the safari.
Nick Mead’s farm was the perfect location for Tanks-alot, and he also had a whole team that supported his tank-experience business. So, he was able to build his clientele and his fleet of military vehicles. When he really started looking into it, he discovered that he was able to purchase (and collect) vehicles from around the world. But, he also discovered that the tanks could also contain unexpected surprises.
Tanks-alot is also reflective of the 150 vehicles that Nick Mead has collected on the farm in Helmdon, England. His arsenal represents the military prowess of the British, U.S., and Russian armies. And, he is such a tenacious and adept collector that his Challenger 1 is the only tank of its kind that’s currently owned by a collector, anywhere in the world.
The fact that Mead’s been able to snag the tank is impressive enough, but his ownership of the UK-built tank becomes an even more intriguing conversation piece because it’s still deployed for battle-combat use by the British military. But, his monumental discovery didn’t end there. In fact, there was much more mystery and treasure to come…
From Russia with Love
It may sound like a James Bond movie, but some of the mystery surrounding a Russian tank lends itself to 007-type shenanigans. When Nick Mead found a Russian T-54 tank, built by the Chinese, he immediately jumped at the opportunity.
As he explained to the Daily Mail,: “I saw it advertised and I had this idea of doing a From Russia With Love experience, where people would come and drive three Russian tanks.” He couldn’t possibly know what kind of treasure that special new tank would really represent. How could he? It’s really one of those discoveries you’d expect to find in the plot of a star-studded movie.
Bringing the Russian Tank Home
Joe Hewes was the 23-year-old owner of the Russian T-54 tank, and Nick Mead immediately negotiated the barter-exchange of Abbott self-propelled gun and an army lorry, with a combined worth of nearly $39,000 USD. If Hewes had known what was hidden in the gas tank of that huge vehicle, it’s unlikely he would have allowed the tank to go for such a low price tag. After all, it really was a treasure trove.
The discovery also makes it clear that nobody really gave the tank a very careful examination after its relatively few driving miles in battle-combat use. If anyone had really scoured the tank, they would have discovered the mountain of treasure inside, even as carefully ferreted away as it was. More on that in a moment…
Back-History of the Russian Tank
It’s not always easy to track the history of military vehicles, though it may be easier to track down the personnel who manned the tank, with the advent of social media. Although many military campaigns have some element of secrecy associated with them, soldiers do tell tales, and that storytelling can sometimes be tied into the full resource management dimension.
The back story is sketchy. From the mileage indicator, it’s clear that the Russian T-54 tank put on a relatively sparse 1,500 miles on its odometer. The vehicle was deployed in Iraq, which inspires a vision of the treasure-troves that Saddam Hussein left behind when he was summarily removed from power.
What about the Treasure Troves?
You may remember the photos that emerged from Iraq around the time when the coalition invaded Iraq in 2003 and removed Saddam Hussein from power. He famously had gold-plated guns, rolls of “money” toilet paper, and bunkers (and palaces) full of gold and riches. He’d formally seized power, as a dictator, in 1979. The intervening years are rife with reports and rumors, both verified and more elusively unverifiable.
Still, the rampant stories include violent mass-murder and rape, horrible acts of inhumanity and torture, and wholesale thievery. It’s probably not a surprise, then, that so much gold was unearthed after the dictatorship was finally brought to an end, and you similarly wouldn’t be shocked that gold is still being unearthed in the strangest of places. Would you really expect to find bars of gold in a tank?
Tank Battles in Iraq
It’s also important to understand where the tank has been, and how it could have possibly become the repository for millions of dollars worth of gold bars. Tanks really did play an important role in the Iraqi conflict, and historians have said that poor use of tanks in battlefront activities was a contributing factor in the heavy losses on the Iraqi side.
In one battle alone, the coalition forces destroyed 14 Iraqi tanks. The distance the tanks traveled was also not extensive. With such short-range battles at play, it’s not really that surprising that the Russian T-54 tank had only 1,500 miles on the odometer when Nick Mead purchased it from Joe Hewes.
Live Ammunition in the Tank
When Nick Mead took on the Russian T-54 tank from Joe Hewes, you’d expect that the tank might require some maintenance. Every vehicle does at some point, and the tank was probably built in the 1980s. It’s unclear what other maintenance was done up to the point when Mead added it to his fleet of military vehicles.
But, when Mechanic Todd Chamberlain first started working on the tank, he uncovered a stash of live ammunition, which they promptly reported to the authorities. So, the Russian T-54 tank was obviously used as a repository to hide things. He couldn’t have known just how many treasures (millions of dollars worth of gold) he really would unearth.
Discovering the Treasure Chest
Mechanic Todd Chamberlain continued to root around in the Russian T-54 tank, as he cleaned it up and prepared it to be deployed as part of the Tanks-alot fleet. One of the external fuel tanks wouldn’t move, so he worked on it with a crowbar. He felt something heavy and cold in the fuel tank on the old tank, so he pulled it out.
He expected to find more ammunition or weapons (or similar, rusty-old junk), but he was in for a much bigger surprise than that. It turned out to be a bar of gold bullion, hidden in the fuel tank of the tank, though it’s unclear how long it had been there. As he searched further, he discovered that the bar was not alone.
The Find of a Lifetime
You may have heard those stories about gold miners, or even seen the look on their faces after they found that one really big stash of gold in the river or in a mine. If you look at Todd Chamberlain’s face, in the photos that were captured after he found the gold bullion, that look of absolute ecstasy can only be compared to a treasure hunter who has discovered the find of a lifetime.
On his face is a mixture of joy, surprise, even a little bit of disbelief. It’s one of those stories that nobody would believe if you told them. It’s a tall-tale that really has its roots in a real-life experience.
The Gold Kept on Coming…
When Todd Chamberlain was first trying to figure out what was in the fuel tank, he’d told Nick Mead, “I’m thinking this is the guns to go with them. I reckon it’s full of guns. Which could be a problem for us.” After all the munitions they’d already found, the discovery of guns would have made sense. The fact that they kept pulling out bars of gold must have felt a little scary, as well as exhilarating. After all, somebody’s got to know that the gold was there, right?
So, that’s part of why they filmed the process of removing the gold from the tank. They wanted to be sure that nobody would suspect that they were in any way involved in the theft or ferreting away of the gold.
$2 Million Gold
You can well imagine how excited Todd Chamberlain and Nick Mead were when they discovered the hidden stash of gold. It’s not often that you hear about, let alone experience, a treasure-hunt discovery. So, this was quite a discovery. It also raised lots of questions.
Who owned the gold? Did anyone? Were they responsible for reporting it? And, really, why was it there in the first place? There were also questions about whether it had come from Iraq, and how (or if) that could complicate the discovery? There really were more questions than answers, and so Nick Mead did the only thing he felt that he could do: He reported the find to Emergency Services.
Calling Emergency Services
You may be one of those people who is joining the critics of Nick Mead. Why did he call it in, you might wonder? Some think it was the right thing to do, while others say that it was simply insane? Why didn’t they hide it? Why did they give away all that gold, particularly when it represents $2 million? That’s enough gold to really change a life. Or they could have given it to a good cause if they were feeling guilty about the unexpected windfall.
But, yes, they called it into Emergency Services. They wanted to do the right thing. And, at least, they did get their few minutes of fame out it!
Why Report It?
For Todd Chamberlain and Nick Mead, there has to be something exhilarating about discovering that much gold. Beyond the initial discovery, and the viral reception that the story has inspired, there’s also been that undercurrent of safety and also of the reality that there’s not a clear sense yet of where the gold came from, or who the previous owner was.
You might guess that it was part of the Saddam Hussein treasure troves, but there’s no clear indication of that fact. Because of the many potential negative side-effects, it really made sense for them to report it, and see what happened then.
Gold-Treasure Weigh In
In all, Todd Chamberlain found 5 bars of gold, with the total worth (based on weight) coming out to $2.5 million. Nick Mead asked his colleagues what they would do with their shares of the money, and the answer was that they’d like to buy Range Rovers, and answers like that.
When you’ve got a good life, and you work with people you like, there’s really nothing that the gold can buy that you don’t already have. Of course, others said they’d buy a tank, which just means that they really are perfect for their jobs.
How The Tank Ended Up In The Hands Of An Ebay-er
It’s safe to say that neither Todd Chamberlain or Nick Mead ever expected to find $2.5 million worth of gold bullion in the fuel tank of a giant tank. The discovery of the “live” munitions was surprising enough. So, when they reported it, they told the operator, “We’ve found umpteen bars of gold bullion in an Iraqi tank.”
As the story goes, it’s guessed that the gold might have come to be in the tank when Iraq invaded Kuwait in 1990, since wholesale looting took place. The United Nations had ordered Iraq to return everything that had been stolen, but a good deal of property was never returned. In fact, the summary end of the report was that two Northamptonshire police officers arrived at the farm to take the gold bars away for investigation. So what exactly happened to lead up to this point?
Was The Gold Looted From Kuwait?
The whole story is also a reminder of where the gold came from as well. The investigators, who came to call, believed that the gold bullion was all part of the gold that was looted from Kuwait when Iraq invaded in 1990. When the conflict was resolved in 1991, Iraq was forced to return all the loot that had been taken from Kuwait, but obviously, some of the gold never made it back to the original owners.
And, of course, the gold may have had a different origin altogether. Remember, Saddam Hussein famously had gold, riches, and money located in his palaces, but also hidden away in bunkers for future use.
The Tank Goes On The Market After The Persian Gulf War
After the Russian T-54 tank was put to use by Saddam Hussein’s Iraqi forces in the Persian Gulf conflict, the tank was not just destroyed. Instead, the history of the vehicle would suggest that the tank was captured and sold off when the Coalition invaded and put an end to Iraq’s advance.
Apparently, many tanks were sold to the Iraq Army during the 1980s, and then auctioned off to the highest bidder after the conflict. It’s easy to imagine that the tank could have ended up in any number of places. Nick Mead ended up with the Russian T-54 tank because he was able to transact the trade that brought it home to his farm in England.
How Gold Got In The Fuel Tank
It’s difficult to know exactly how the gold got inside the fuel tank, but the Tanks-alot team certainly thought about it a good deal. Nick Mead surmised: “They must have cut a hole in the fuel tank and rammed it full of gold bars.”
Regardless of why they did it, and also how they accomplished it, there’s still the positive attitude that Mead and his team had when the whole experience was over. Mead told reporters: “Even if I don’t get any of the gold back I will still have my beautiful tank.” That’s a whole lot of love going on. He must love his collection quite a lot.
So, Who’s Nick Mead?
Nick Mead is usually the name that’s associated with this gold-and-tank treasure story. All the headlines proclaim that he is a collector and military aficionado, who bought a tank on eBay. He’s also the owner of Tanks-alot, so he was the direct owner of the tank. Then, of course, you already know the rest of the story, about how they discovered more than one-million dollars worth of gold in the fuel tank. He’s the boss of the operation, which is why he was also why he was the one who called the police in to take over the investigation, and to cart off the gold bars.
So, Who’s Todd Chamberlain?
Todd Chamberlain is a military enthusiast and mechanic, so it has to come as no surprise that he holds a key position in the Tanks-alot crew. He also had the tenacity to keep working on the tank, even when the problem and solution did not seem obvious. Chamberlain had already located that stash of munitions, so he really was expecting to find more hidden items in the tank, but he was guessing it would be more weapons or similar military-grade paraphilia. That’s why they were filming their actions when they dug into the fuel tank.
Unpacking the Gold Bars?
Todd Chamberlain and Nick Mead thought they might just have to show what they had found (and saw) when the bomb squad came to call. They’d learned from experience that it’s great to have videography when it comes to unusual discoveries on tanks. They’ve probably learned that lesson even more so now.
Of course, you might also think that videotaping the discovery also limited their ability to keep the gold bullion, though. At least one commenter has said, “Delete the video and buy a car.” In other words, the concept is that if they hadn’t captured their exploits on video, they would have been able to keep the gold and lived the high life. Who would have even known?
Turning Tarnish To Glimmer
It wasn’t just about taking the gold out of the fuel tank though. Todd Chamberlain and the Tanks-alot team cleaned the gold bars up. You can see how dull they were when they first took the gold out of the tank, and then the after-effect, when they’d cleaned it up to a glittery gleam. There’s that look of satisfaction when they see that it really is the gold bullion as they’d imagined it. And, really, who could resist taking photos and video of the “real” gold-looking bars, before calling it all into the police, for inspection and removal.
What Else Could They Have Done?
Yes, they could have kept the gold, but there’s some question about whether they would have really been able to use it. Would they really have been able to live the life of luxury you might imagine after the discovery of a gold treasure? Ultimately, Nick Mead told reporters: “We didn’t know what to do. You can’t exactly take five gold bullion bars down to Cash Converters without questions being asked, so we called the police.”
Yes, they Todd Chamberlain and Nick Mead might have been able to find a way to sell off the gold, but would they have been forced to rely on some illegal, black-market buyer? Then, what would have been the long-term ramifications? Would there always have been a secret fear of being discovered? How would they explain the mysterious appearance of so much money?
The Whole Team of Tanks-alot Knew
You’ve also got to think about the reality that the whole team of Tanks-alot employees knew about the discovery. It really couldn’t have been kept a secret for very long, and it was exciting news. You can probably guess that at least one of them called their friends and/or family immediately to share the exciting news.
While it’s an amazing discovery, and anyone would have been thrilled to have been the lucky person to find it, there’s also that sad history associated with the gold. It was the product of invasion, looting and killing. There may just be a part of the Tanks-a lot team who felt it must be the right move to return the gold to its rightful owners.
The Story Goes Viral
Of course, going back to the whole disbelief and amazement part… Who could possibly believe that you could find $2.5 million dollars worth of gold bullion in the old rusted-out fuel tank of a Russian tank? It sounds far-fetched and even improbable.
That is probably why we’re all so fascinated by the story. You want to read it, talk about it, and share it. It’s intriguing, and it may just remind you of all those favorite treasure-hunting stories and books you’ve read and enjoyed. Then again, Treasure Island doesn’t have anything on the real-life pursuit of mounts of treasure.
The Next Discovery
What this tank treasure shows more than anything is that you can find unexpected surprises almost anywhere if you’re curious and tenacious enough to pursue those niggling things. They say not to pull the thread, but when you do, you might just find that there really was something there.
Todd Chamberlain kept working to figure out what was in that fuel tank, and he discovered millions in gold. It may not have changed his life, but then again, it could just be the story that will inspire us all to go on a tank ride around London. Whatever the outcome, he’s come upon an unexpected adventure that he’ll never forget. Just think, $2 million in gold.
Your Treasure Awaits
The other exciting reality is that there are other treasure troves that are out there, just waiting for you (or someone else) to find. Yes, you may have heard about modern-day pirates, but even if they weren’t leaving behind their modern-day loot for you to find, there’s every reason to believe that you could discover a treasure hidden in the most unusual spot possible. After all, who would imagine that there was gold in an old, rusted out Russian tank. It would seem improbable, right?
Then, too, who would expect to find a buried treasure in your field?
Treasure Trove Found On The Farm
Metal detectorist Eric Lawes went in search for a lost hammer, but found a whole hoard of lost treasure instead. He discovered 14,865 Roman gold, silver and bronze coins, along with 200 items of silver tableware and gold jewelry. It’s listed as the largest collection of gold and silver coins from the fourth and fifth century.
It’s unclear who originally owned the hoard that was buried in a wooden box, but it probably was just part of the treasure that a family left behind (or hid) for an unknown reason. The Hoxne Hoard is now owned by the British Museum in London, and the most important pieces are on display.
California Couple Discovers $10 million
A unnamed California couple was walking their dogs when they noticed 5 metal cans filled with rare coins. It’s called the Saddle Ridge Hoard. As they explained: “I saw an old can sticking out of the ground on a trail that we had walked almost every day for many, many years. I was looking down in the right spot and saw the side of the can. I bent over to scrape some moss off and noticed that it had both ends on it.” The 1,427 coins are in mint condition, most uncirculated, circa 1847 to 1894. Several of the rarest coins are worth $1 million, but the whole collection is impressive. The owners are selling off most of the collection.
Contractor Bob Kitt was doing some work on the bathroom of an old house, when he discovered an unexpected surprise hidden in the walls. It turned out to be Depression-era money, valued at $182,000. There was only one (rather significant) drawback: Both the contractor and the home owner, Amanda Reece, wanted and really needed the money. (Reece claimed that she was going bankrupt.)
Of course, since the two could not agree, the courts got involved, and the media blitz from the story also brought more claimants out of the woodwork. Instead of sharing it two ways, the court split it up even more (with the descendants from the original owner, Patrick Dunne). It’s probably not the outcome either of them would have hoped for, but at least everyone got something from that unexpected bathroom treasure trove.
While gold hoards have been discovered at home or in close-by fields, they’ve also been uncovered flying the friendly skies.
Gold Found In Airplane Bathroom
Yes, airplanes can go around the world, which also means that they can be the logical means for transporting gold and other treasures. In 2013, two gold bars were discovered in the Jet Airways bathroom when the crew was cleaning after the flight from Bangkok to India had landed.
The gold bars were valued at $1.1 million, and they were confiscated by Customs officials, who proceeded with a formal investigation. Higher import taxes had apparently inspired smugglers to go to extreme lengths to transport the gold around the world.
Money Found In A Used Desk
Rabbi Noah Muroff found a used desk on Craigslist for $150, but then couldn’t fit it through his study door. So, he took the desk apart, and found an unexpected surprise. A bag fell out of the desk while he was dismantling the furniture. Inside the bag, he discovered $98,000 in cash.
Rabbi Muroff didn’t hold onto the cash for long, though. He took his four kids with him when he went to return the money to the original owner of the desk, which appears to be a huge surprise to her. She told him that she was “speechless.” She said: “You could have kept the money and nobody would have ever known.”
Giving The Money Back
Rabbi Muroff and his wife had decided not to accept a reward for a good deed, but the original owner gave him an envelop with the $150 they’d spent on the desk, and also included a note: “I do not think there are too many people in this world that would have done what you did by calling me. I do like to believe that there are still good people left in this crazy world we live in. You certainly are one of them.”
The money was part of an inheritance that had been passed down to the desk’s owner. She’d misplaced the money, and had no idea that it was safely hidden away in the desk. The experience was unforgettable for the Muroff family, as well as for the original owner. Sometimes thrift castoffs can be worth even more than just a small bag full of money. Just look what Michael Sparks discovered.
Authenticating The Declaration
Michael Spark rummaged through the junk at a thrift store, and came home with salt-and-pepper shakers and an old worn copy of the Declaration of Independence, or so he though. Upon further inspection and investigation, he discovered he had uncovered #36 of 200 copies of the original Declaration of Independence, commissioned by John Quincy Adams in 1820 (only 35 copies were previously known to exist). After he authenticated the rare collectible Declaration of Independence, he preserved it. The final price at auction ended up with a value of $477.650.
Thrift Store Couch Hides Painting
Thrift-store finds seem amazing, even though you might not believe you’d actually be the one to make the discovery of an authentic Declaration of Independence manuscript. But, as you delve deeper, you’ll find that there are even more amazing discoveries from thrift stores, garage sales and other similar repositories.
In this case, a German student purchased the couch for $215, only to discover that there was a painting, entitled Preparation to Escape to Egypt, hidden in the couch. Although the artist was not determined, the painting sold at auction, valued at $27,630.
Uncovered $3.7 million In Inherited House
An unnamed individual inherited a plush home in Evreux, a town south of Rouen. It might have been nice to inherited the property, but the house hid unimaginable riches, beyond what he could have possibly imagined. The auctioneer said: “There were 5,000 gold pieces, two 12-kilo gold bars and 37 ingots each weighing one kilo.”
The riches were ferreted away all around the house, in the most unexpected places. His first treasure discovery was a tinplate box that was affixed under a piece of furniture, but it didn’t end there. He search everywhere and found gold and valuables valued at more than $3.7 million.
What Curse Is This?
These odd and off-the-beaten-path finds, discoveries and treasures usually come as a complete surprise. The explorer never hoped or really planned to find them, though there is that element of metal detection that does come into play with some of these treasure stories.
Still, the treasures were left by someone, whether family, friend or a complete strange. And, it’s not difficult to imagine that the person who left it probably intended to return for it someday. There’s that element of lost connections, and the dream of what all that money can do for the adventurer who happens to find it. Like so many of the tales about the pirates and their ill-gotten loot, though, treasure also continually carries with it a curse. Just look at all the bad luck, hard feelings and lost opportunities that seem to erupt around those who decide to keep the gold. If there really is a curse for treasure hunters, perhaps you should take care when you seek out all those treasures that are just waiting to be found.
Gold Coins Galore
Back in 2013, a couple from California was going on their daily walk with the family dog. However, this time they noticed something different. In their backyard, they discovered eight buried cans which contained 1,427 coins. According to coin expert, Don Kagin, the coins are not only rare but they are also in mint condition which makes them an even more uncommon find. The coins range in date from 1847 to 1894. Don appraised the coins to value around $11 million. The lucky couple who discovered the treasure decided to remain anonymous. They ended up donating some of the money to charity, keeping a few of the coins, and selling the rest on Amazon.
A Fountain of Coins
While cleaning an abandoned home in Pennsylvania, Jeff Bidelman, the owner of Rare Collectibles, came across quite a surprise hiding away in the wall. The man was on the job to help clean an old home as well as appraise the furniture in the home, but no one could have imagined what was found. The daughter of the homeowner had told Bidelman that there were rumors that people would throw money in the wall. Soon he found a hole in the wall and asked if it was okay if he tore down the wall. Bidelman recounted to Mashable, “I kicked the heck out of it, ruined the front of my leather shoes and [coins] came pouring out.” There was over $200,000 worth of coins hidden away in the wall, that is currently being stored in the owner’s trust fund.
The Thrift Store Find
Like many college students around the world, sometimes your home furnishings can be hard to come by. One such student thought she had a good find back in 2007 at a flea market in Berlin when she found a used couch for only $215. However, she got a little something extra with her purchase. The couch happened to be a pullout couch that had quite the stowaway stored inside. When she got the couch home and opened it she found a relatively small oil painting inside. The painting was 10 inches by 15 inches. While art dealers were unable to identify the artist, they were able to tell the piece was probably painted during the 17th century and was probably a close associate of the painter Carlo Saraceni. The name of the piece is “Preparation To Escape Egypt”. The painting was later purchased at an auction for $27,630 in Hamburg, which undoubtedly came in handy for the thrifty college student.
Stowed Away Cash
In Cleveland, Ohio, another man involved in the construction of a house came across quite an interesting find. Bob Kitts, who is a contractor that works primarily in remodels, was demo-ing a house. After he tore down the bathroom wall he made quite the discovery. Inside the walls were multiple envelopes with a return address of P. Dunne News Agency, that were all still in good condition. Inside the envelopes was old cash, lots of it – $182,000 to be exact. Apparently, P. Dunne referred to one Patrick Dunne, who was a businessman who had lived in the home from years before during the Great Depression.
A Tricky Find
Bob Kitts quickly told the homeowner, Amanda Reece about the exciting find of Depression-era cash in the wall. The two went on to have the money appraised, and it was worth even more than they initially thought almost half a million dollars. This was because some of the bills were historical and were very rare finds that collectors covet to have for their own collection. Soon there were three parties involved, including Bob, the owner Amanda, and the family of Patrick Dunne. Unfortunately, as with many such cases involving money soon various legal issues and arguing over who could keep what broke out and there is no current info about who has laid claim to the cash.
Ancient Coins In A Barley Field
Back in the late 1990s, two cousins were having a good time out at their family farm in England. Martin Elliott brought along a metal detector and showed his cousin Kevin the proper way to use it. While the two were playing around with the equipment they came across way more than they bargained for. Soon they had unearthed silver coins. However, it was from where the coins originated from that was a completely amazing and unexpected find. First, there was a huge amount of them. The massive amount of coins, 9,213 of them, were actually ancient silver coins called denarius coins. See what happened next.
Amazing Ancient Coins
Actually, the two cousins’ inadvertent discovery was the largest collection of Roman denarius coins ever found. The majority of the coins were quite common as far as Roman coins go, but two of them were very rare and had never before been found in England. As of 2000, the coins were said to be worth around $426,856, a number which has probably only gone up in value as of today. The coins were later purchased by the Somerset County Council which is the local government in the Southwest of England as they were quite noteworthy artifacts.
Declaration of Independence in Flea Market?!
In 1989, a financial analyst bought a painting at a flea market in Adamstown, Pennsylvania. He spent a minuscule $4 on the purchase, which was of a pastoral scene. Actually, the man really only bought the painting because he liked the fame. After he took it home, he was inspecting his buy and discovered a tear in the canvas. As he tried to take the frame off of the painting it ended up falling apart, which then led to him finding a folded-up document that had been stored behind the painting and the frame. The document appeared to be a very old copy of the Declaration of Independence.
An Original Copy
While the man had no idea if the copy was legitimate or simply looked to be old, it certainly seemed like a noteworthy find. He showed the document to a friend who was a collector of Civil War memorabilia who urged him to have it appraised. After the man did this, he was stunned at the results of the appraisal which uncovered the document was a Dunlap broadside. A Dunlap is an extremely rare document that is one of the first five hundred official copies from the very first printing of the Declaration of the Independence that was printed in 1776. Before this finding, there were only twenty-three similar copies and only two of them were owned by private owners. The Philadelphia man definitely got more than he bargained for with this find. The document was later auctioned off by Sotheby’s for $2.42 million. Years later the TV producer Norman Lear bought the document for $8.14 million.
Money In The Storage Unit
With the popularity of shows like Storage Wars, many people flocked to try their hand at buying storage units. For one man, the venture definitely paid off. A man named John attended an auction held by American Auctioneers which was featured on A&E’s popular TV show Storage Wars. John bid on an abandoned storage unit. If you’ve ever watched the show, you often aren’t able to see exactly what lies inside the unit before buying it. He ended up bidding $1,100 and had no idea what was inside. It turns out there was a blue Rubbermaid container that held rare coins and several gold and silver bars. It turns out that the find was worth around a reported $500,000.
French Soldiers Find
In 1799, French soldiers were on an expedition with the infamous Napoleon in Egypt. At the time, Europe, and particularly France was experiencing a burst of “Egyptomania” where people were particularly obsessed with the ancient culture. While the men attempted to knock down walls to build a fort, they came across an astounding find. They certainly didn’t think they would find something like they did. The men found, what is now called “The Rosetta Stone” which is completely invaluable within the linguistic world. The find gave historians the ability to finally decipher Egyptian hieroglyphics. The stone has the exact same text in three different languages which allowed scholars to understand hieroglyphics for the very first time.
In England in 2001, Cliff Bradshaw was out searching with a metal detector. Interestingly, Cliff had agreed with the owner to search the fields but was not trying to find anything in particular. Cliff ended up finding something called the Ringlemere Cup. The ancient cup came from between 1700 BC and 1500 BC. It had become weathered with quite a bit of damage over the years but was still decipherable. There have only been around seven other similar gold cups from the same time period. Later, the cup was purchased from Cliff Bradshaw and the Smith family by The British Museum for $520,000.
Buried Video Games?
Today’s gamers love everything from PCs to various forms of X-Box, the Wii, and Playstation. But back in the 1980s, it was all about the Atari. With the release of Steven Spielberg’s hit film ET, Atari released a game for lovers of both gaming and ET in a game called ET: The Extraterrestrial. However, the game was a complete failure and it was later reported that thousands of copies were crushed and buried in Alamogordo New Mexico. Many believed that the story of the destruction was just an urban legend. However, years later a documentary was made called Atari: Game Over. In 2014, excavators descended on Alamogordo and were able to find 1,300 games cartridges. People still wanted the games and the sale of the cartridges has now made around $108,000. Now that’s an unexpected find!
The Uncle Sam Diamond
In 1924, a worker by the name of W.O. Basham was walking around when he somehow came after a miraculous find. He thought he found a huge gemstone and immediately took it in for inspection. It turns out that the diamond was the largest diamond to ever be found in the United States. The diamond was given the name of Uncle Sam. The diamond in its rough state weighed an astounding 40.23 karats. It was later faceted twice and at the end, it was a 12.42-carat emerald cut gem. The diamond has very little impurities and has very few inclusions. The stone was later temporarily displayed at the American Museum of Natural History before being sold to a private collector in the 1970s.
Diamonds In A Chair
This is certainly one thrift store find that you wish you could come across. Angela Milner- Brown and her husband Agnes from Scotland had an unwitting discovery when they found what had been hidden inside an old chair that they bought for $7 years before at an auction. Years later they found out that they had a fortune in their own home the entire time. Somehow, they discovered that there was almost $7,000 worth of jewelry hidden inside that old chair they bought for a steal years before. If only we could all find money inside our old furniture!
The Hidden Mural
Keith Haring was a famous American artist as well as a social activist. He became very famous in the 1980s within popular culture and celebrities of the era. His art primarily reflected New York City and a multitude of issues including birth, death, sexuality, and war. He was also very political with his work which has remained to be some of the most recognizable within the 20th century. Keith passed away due to AIDS at only thirty-one years old. In 2010, architect Todd Ernst had undertaken a home renovation in New York City’s Tribeca neighborhood. He found a previously unknown mural housed in the townhouse. The mural definitely did the space a favor and it was put up for sale at $13.95 million!
The Insane Garage Sale Find
In 2013, a family browsing a garage sale near their house bought a random white bowl for $3. Little did they know that the bowl was actually an ancient Chinese bowl worth an unimaginable fortune. The bowl remained in their home for several years after they bought it before they decided to have it appraised. They were shocked to find that the bowl was a “Ding” bowl that originated from Northern Song Dynasty pottery. It was appraised at $200,000 to $300,000. The bowl is an estimated 1,000 years old. There is a similar bowl that has been on display at the British Museum in London for 60 years. The New York family’s lucky bowl ended being auctioned for $2.2 million.
The False Wall Find
Norman Rockwell was a beloved American artist, his work is extremely recognizable as far as paintings go. In March of 2006, an interesting painting was discovered behind a false wall in a home that had been owned by the cartoonist Don Trachte Jr. The Trachte sons were going through the home after his death when they saw a gap in the wood paneled wall. After the Trachte brothers moved the wall, they found a remarkable site – an original Norman Rockwell painting. Apparently, Don Trachte Jr. had been displaying copies of the paintings for years to ensure that his ex-wife could not get her hands on the original in the divorce. The painting was called “Breaking Home Ties” and once was shown on the cover of The Saturday Evening Post in 1954 and was the second most popular cover ever. The painting was originally purchased for $900 in 1960 and was later auctioned by Sotheby’s on behalf of the Trachte sons for $15.4 million.
Comic Book Surprise
In 2013, a house flipper in Minnesota made an unwitting discovery worth more money than he could have imagined. David Gonzalez was a contractor who thought he had his work cut out for him with a rundown property. While David went about the demolition process, he knocked down a wall and found something remarkable. Behind the wall was a very special comic book. The comic was an original copy of Action Comic Number 1. This comic is the first ever issue in the series Action Comics. This comic book is particularly remarkable because it features the first ever appearance of the now iconic superhero, Superman. The comic in and of itself is essentially considered to be the beginning of the superhero genre and it’s considered to be the most valuable comic book in all history. David Gonzalez’ find ended up garnering him a comic book worth $175,000. This home flip definitely paid off!
A Star Wars Find
Back in 2011, Steven Hoffer of San Francisco was visiting his parent’s house and going through their attic. He discovered multiple dust covered boxes which held a magnificent surprise. This find is a bit different than the rest, in that Steve was aware of what was in the box but had forgotten about it since childhood! Inside the many boxes were 50 mint condition and first edition Star Wars toys from back in the 1970s. Steve Hoffer’s previously forgotten and now rediscovered toys were now worth a hefty $10,000. If only all of our forgotten toys were worth a small fortune!