There’s a reason why shows like Storage Wars and Auction Hunters are our guilty pleasure. What could be more exciting than buying an old, decrepit storage unit and discovering something worth millions? Even if it’s not worth a lot, it probably has a pretty cool backstory. They’re like modern-day treasure chests.
That doesn’t always happen, but abandoned storage units are definitely full of unique and shocking items. From rare old Hollywood items to creepy evidence of murder, abandoned storage units are the gifts that just keep giving.
James Bond’s Submarine Car
Back in 1989 on Long Island, a man paid $100 for the contents of an abandoned storage unit. Inside, he found a white sports car. Pretty cool, but nothing to be too excited about.
It was only when he was towing the car home that other drivers started telling him over the CB radio that it was the submarine car from The Spy Who Loved Me. The man ended up selling the car for $1 million to Tesla founder Elon Musk.
Nicolas Cage’s Lost Million-Dollar Comic Book
Cage is a huge fan of comics and was devastated when his copy of the rare Action Comics #1 was stolen from his house in 2000. Nearly a decade later, a man bought an abandoned storage unit and found the comic.
The man had no idea what he was holding and took it to an appraiser who happened to be the same man who sold it to Cage in the first place.
Evidence Of A Murder
A man was bidding on a storage unit in Colorado when he noticed the unit had old police lights in it. When he finally got ownership of the unit, he found mountains of evidence, including a bloody rope, an axe, and blood-soaked socks.
He took the findings to the police and learned that the evidence was from the unsolved death of a 17-year-old girl named Candace Hiltz.
A Full Blown Meth Lab
Apparently, secret hidden meth labs aren’t just a thing on Breaking Bad. Two men bought a storage unit in Rancho Cordova, California for $80. They opened it to find a much more expensive operation.
The two men found pipes, beakers, gas masks, and chemicals. When they called the police, they found a 5-gallon drum in the back of the unit half-full of meth.
A Vintage Harley-Davidson Motorcycle
Finding any motorcycle would be great, but finding a vintage 1927 Harley-Davidson is even better. That’s what happened for a couple who bought a storage unit in Melbourne, Australia. The vintage motorcycle even came with a sidecar.
The couple had it refurbished and it sold for a nice little price tag of $424,000.
Long-Lost Michael Jackson Tunes
One lucky buyer of Joe Jackson’s personal storage unit stumbled upon a goldmine of Michael Jackson songs. Over 250 songs were discovered in the unit that were likely recorded by MJ when he was between contracts. That means the songs couldn’t be claimed by any record labels.
Some songs even featured other legendary singers like Tina Turner.
A Human Leg In A Smoker
A man in South Carolina opened a barbecue smoker to find a human leg. It sounds dark and twisted, but it turns out the leg wasn’t removed from a dead body.
A man named John Wood came forward and claimed the limb. Wood lost the leg in a plane crash that killed his father, so he embalmed it as a memory of his dad.
Abandoned Old Space Equipment
At a storage auction in Cape Canaveral, Florida, one man ended up with a unit that was out of this world. The abandoned unit had old NASA equipment stored in it, including an actual NASA rocket and a space shuttle countdown clock.
The equipment was stored there when the space program was underway and forgotten about it when the program folded.
Newspapers Announcing Elvis’ Death
Another rare find on Storage Wars came in 2010. The episode had one of the cast members buy a unit full of old newspapers. Luckily, the person had some patience and found one newspaper announcing the “King Elvis Dead.”
Experts estimated that the newspaper could fetch more than $100,000 at auction. Not a bad haul for the day.
An Entire Murdered Family
A man in Seattle bought a storage unit hoping to find some antiques, and instead, he opened the first box to find piles of clothes. He moved the clothes around and was hit with a terrible rotting stench. A little further digging led to a human skull.
The storage unit ended up holding the remains of Barbara Bender and her two sons. Her husband Mark ended up being arrested and he confessed to the killings.
Michael Jordan’s College Recruitment Letters
The man who bought an abandoned storage unit in North Carolina didn’t expect to find much. Instead, he found a treasure trove of multiple Michael Jordan documents.
Among them was the original recruitment letter for Michael to go play college basketball at the University of North Carolina. The document sold for $50,000.
Burt Reynolds’ Personal Memorabilia
Even celebrities don’t have enough space to hold all their stuff. In 1999, the man with the mustache defaulted on the units he owned and they went up for auction. Inside them were hundreds of memorabilia from his movies and television shows.
In a nice twist of fate, a group of fans came together to buy the units and started a Burt Reynolds museum with the contents.
Aretha Franklin’s Famous Dresses
After a devastating fire in her Detroit home, the Queen of Soul didn’t want to take any chances. She began storing her iconic stage outfits in a Michigan storage unit. Eventually, she stopped paying for the unit and it got sold to the highest bigger.
We’re sure they ended up turning a profit on that unit.
A Live Hand Grenade
It’s pretty common to find old guns or ammunition in abandoned storage lockers, but one man in Michigan found a live hand grenade. Luckily, the man knew what he saw and immediately called the police.
The entire bomb squad had to arrive on scene to remove the hand grenade. Hey, at least the rest of the unit’s contents didn’t go up in flames.
The Original Spiderman Comic
One of the few wins from a cast member of Storage Wars came back in 2010. Darrel Sheets paid $2,700 for a unit and ended up finding thousands of comics inside. Among the comics were the original Spiderman #1 and the original X-Men #1.
Darrell managed to sell the entire stash for $130,000.
Lost Photos Of Amelia Earhart
One lucky California woman stumbled onto a piece of history when she found never-before-seen photos of the famous missing aviator. Many experts said they could help them analyze the plane and clothing she was wearing ahead of her takeoff.
The photos ended up selling for more than $1,000 each at auction.
A Fake ID Operation
It’s one thing to buy an abandoned storage unit and find a fake ID. It’s another thing to find a floor covered in fake IDs and sensitive personal information. That’s exactly what happened for a Colorado man.
He took the evidence to the police and it soon came to light that a woman named Dawn Philbin and an accomplice had used the unit for an illegal ID operation.
President Truman’s Cane
Most storage unit auctions are blind, but the people selling this unit knew exactly what was inside. The storage unit belonged to a WW2 general and included authentic war documents and even a cane believed to be Harry Truman’s.
The unit sold for $27,000 and the contents inside totaled more than $100,000.
$1,100 is a pretty steep price for an abandoned storage unit, but it turned out to be a pretty penny for a San Jose man. Inside the unit, he found a large blue Rubbermaid tub.
The container held hundred of old Spanish coins and silver bars that ended up being worth more than half a million dollars.
A $34,000 Stamp
A lady up in Canada purchased an abandoned storage unit. The contents were mostly worthless except for a single stamp hidden away. The stamp was from 1851 and sold for 12 pence. On todays gripping stamp market, it sold for $34,000.
I’m impressed she even found a little stamp in the midst of a huge storage unit.