If people rent storage units but then fail to return to reclaim their possessions, the unit contents may be auctioned off by the storage company. These types of auctions have been popularized by television shows like Storage Wars and Auction Hunters. The aim of hopeful bidders is to strike it lucky, finding long-lost or overlooked treasures in abandoned storage units. Below are 10 lucky looters who struck proverbial gold.
10: Model Grand Piano
What seemed like a potentially unwise bid turned out to be a big win for one storage hunter. A bid of only $275 was made for a unit that appeared to contain just outdated salon supplies and products. $275 earned the bidder $11,625 when he found a fully functional antique model grand piano at the back of the unit.
9: Ivory Figurines
by Bevolee (CC BY 2.0)
Bids were low on a series of units known to have been owned by a hoarder. The units were piled to the ceilings with plastic bags, apparently filled with junk. After waiting for most of the mess to be picked off, a wily bidder put down only $300 for a measly bedroom set, knowing that the wicker bed would cover that alone. To his surprise, the successful bidder also discovered a cache of ivory and rhino-tusk figurines in a dresser drawer. The figurines net him a cool $12,100.
8: Collectible Toys
A bidder reluctantly parted with $1,700 for a unit, after the bidding price was driven up. His win came in the form of old collectable figurines, which sold for a total of $12,800. Apparently the bidder was amazed that anyone would pay that much for the relics.
by tiffa130 (CC BY 2.0)
After a bout of petty raising, a Storage Wars bidder found himself bidding far more than he would have liked to on a unit. To his surprise, a cache of jewellery resulted in a healthy return of $16,675 on his bid of $1,100.
6: DIY Equipment
Thanks to one bidder’s knowledge in the field of DIY home improvements, he made a clued-up bid on a unit filled with what looked to the others like nothing more than broken and dusty old construction equipment. Inside, the treasure trove of wood, tiles and tools brought his total gain to a staggering $18,000.
5: Antique Guns & Cars
by Vasnic64 (CC BY 2.0)
One of the largest ever storage unit auctions occurred in Dallas, Texas, with bids made on over 800 units. One unit was stacked to the brim with the stuff of antique hunters’ dreams – antique Winchester rifles and antique slot cars, which won the lucky hunter $20,000.
4: Empty Vending Machines
Using a bit of subversive strategy, a contestant on Storage Wars drove down the bidding price on a lot filled with empty vending machines by going on and on to fellow contestants about how worthless they are and how they’re out of date. He then picked up the lot for an easy $1,350. After unpacking the brand new state-of-the-art vending machines in the back, he found himself $27,650 richer.
3: Rare Newspapers
by Ivy Dawned (CC BY-SA 2.0)
Having spent only $750 on a unit filled with seemingly water-damaged and moth-eaten newspapers, a Storage Wars bidder ended up netting a healthy profit of $89,250 – the show’s largest win. Among the old papers was an edition announcing Elvis’s death.
2: Civil War Era Antiques
One bidder struck it lucky in a storage unit auction in Manassas, Virginia. The unit was known to have been previously owned by a World War II general, and housed plenty of memorabilia and documents from the time. With such gems on offer, the initial bid was $10,000. Bob, the winning bidder, stumbled upon documents signed by former US presidents, a cane formerly owned by Harry Truman, rare artworks and other items of historical significance, valued in total at approximately $100,000.
1: Rare Comic
the Photographer (CC BY 2.0)
The comically priced 1st edition Superman comic that takes the #1 spot was eventually sold at its own auction for an incredible $2,161,000. The story behind the comic itself is just as incredible. A grade 9.0 collectible, it rose from obscurity after a 1992 Sotheby’s auction sold it off for $82,500. After this, Hollywood superstar Nicolas Cage bought it for around $150,000 in 1997. In 2000, Cage reported that the mint-condition comic had been stolen. It remained missing until one extremely lucky bidder found it in a San Fernando Valley storage auction.