20 Times That People Stumbled Upon Valuable Lost Treasures Completely By Accident

By Matthew Castoral

Treasure hunting is the kind of fantastical undertaking that draws people to it in the same way that poker draws players to the table: you can win big, but you also stand to lose it all. Plenty of adventurers have failed in their quests for glory, but the worst part about coming up short is that there are others out there that came upon their fortunes without even trying.

Whether discovered in search of the mundane or simply by accident, these 20 incredible finds have become the envy of treasure hunters everywhere. After reading about the unlikely places from which these individuals unearthed their fortunes, you'll begin to wonder what kind of treasures may be hiding just beneath your nose...

1. Seven Ty Cobb Baseball Cards: Finding just one of the handful of Ty Cobb baseball cards printed between 1909 and 1911 is about as likely as winning the lottery, but imagine finding seven of them? This family discovered more than a half-dozen of the million-dollar cards while cleaning their great-grandfather's attic.
The Japan Times
2. A Modern-Day Gold Rush: For one California couple, an afternoon of gardening turned into a gold rush when they came upon a container filled with gold coins and sold them for $10 million.
Los Angeles Times
3. Norman Rockwell's Breaking Home Ties: It's no secret that divorce makes people do some crazy things, and that includes hiding your valuables from your ex-spouse. Cartoonist Don Trachte, Jr., who, amidst a messy divorce, concealed a famous Rockwell painting behind a false wall only to have it discovered by his sons and sold at auction for $15.4 million.
Mass Live
4. The Treasure of Panagyurishte: The Deikov brothers are responsible for this incredible find, as while they were mining the clay pits of Panagyurishte, Bulgaria, they unearthed several items that appeared to be made of gold. Well, they were, and 13,000 lbs of 3rd-century gold treasures were later excavated from the pit.
Bulgaria Travel News
5. Superman #1: As of today, only 50 known copies of Superman's first comic book appearance still exist, and one of them was found in the wall of a Minnesota home. Though the homeowner accidentally ripped the back cover while he was removing it, the comic still sold at auction for $175k.
6. The Terracotta Army: In 1927, a group of Chinese farmers digging a well discovered something strange in the dirt: a stone head. After unearthing the life-size statue it was attached to, the farmers realized that they had stumbled upon the tomb of Emperor Qin Shi Huang and his terracotta army.
Artsy