Check out the most expensive things found in weird places! You won't believe some of the accidental discoveries and treasures that were discovered by lucky people on this top 10 list!
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10. “Three People” Painting
Elizabeth Gibson, from New York, was walking around Manhattan in 2003, when she saw a large, colorful art piece sitting between two garbage bags in the street. The painting looked like a modern art piece, and Elizabeth decided to take it home. She wasn’t sure why she decided to take it, because she wasn’t all that into modern art, but according to her own testimony - she felt the painting had a strange power.
Elizabeth Gibson spent the next four years gathering information about the painting, trying to figure out who it was by and why someone had thrown it away! Finally, she came across a website where she learnt all about it. It was an abstract work, done by a Mexican artist, and the name of the painting was “Tres Personajes”, or “Three People”. Turns out it had been stolen 20 years ago from a storage unit and was the subject of an FBI investigation. How it got from a Houston storage unit to the streets of Manhattan remains a mystery. It was auctioned off by the original owner at Sotheby's and was purchased for a staggering $1,049,000!
As for Elizabeth Gibson, she got a $15,000 reward, as well as an undisclosed finders fee from Sotheby's. Not bad for your casual morning walk to get your coffee in Manhattan, right? That’s New York for you!
9. Bathroom Cash
When Bob Kitts, a remodeling designer from Cleveland, Ohio, was hired as a contractor to work on a house, he probably wasn’t expecting this! While he was tearing down the walls of an 83-year-old home, he discovered lockboxes hanging inside. Inside were envelopes filled with cash from the 1920’s that amounted to $182,000! The return address said “P. Dunne News Agency”. As it turned out, the money belonged to a businessman named Patrick Dunne, who put the money behind the bathroom walls during the Great Depression.
When he found the money, Bob Kitts decided to share the information with Amanda Reece, the homeowner and former classmate who had hired him to do the renovation work. They both agreed that the smartest thing to do would be to have the bills appraised. Due to the fact that some bills were pretty rare and collectible, the total worth could be half a million dollars!
But then things went sour. Amanda offered Bob 10% of the findings, but he wanted 40%. From then on, both of them, and Patrick Dunne’s estate (which includes 21 descendants), have been involved in legal issues on how to split the money. They have since all accused each other of leaving threatening messages and of being greedy. The courts have determined that everyone will get a small fraction of the find. If you had been Bob and had been the one to find the money, what would you have done?
8. Munich Artworks
Considered the greatest art theft in history: 650,000 works were looted from Europe by the Nazis during and after WWII. In 2010, Cornelius Gurlitt was found acting nervous and suspicious on a train from Zurich to Munich. A lot of “black” money is taken back and forth on this train and officers are on the lookout for suspicious passengers. Cornelius was found in possession of €9,000 (which is not illegal) and was flagged for further investigation. What they found out was that Cornelius Gurlitt was the son of art dealer Hildebrand Gurlitt, one of the Nazis’ approved art dealers. Hildebrand Gurlitt had managed to gather a large collection from Jewish art dealers and collectors. When he died, all of his belongings were inherited by his son, Cornelius who lived as a recluse.
It was known in society that Gurlitt had a large collection of looted art, but it wasn’t until 2012 that tax authorities managed to get a warrant and came to investigate Gurlitt's apartment. What they found was a surprise!! Inside were 1,300 pieces of missing art from the period of Nazi rule in Germany.
The majority of art found in this apartment had been considered destroyed, but it was all hidden in this Munich apartment. The whole collection was estimated at around one billion euros.
When Cornelius Gurlitt died, the majority of his inherited artwork went to a Swiss museum. To learn more check out Raiders of the Lost Art on Netflix!
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