Whether throwing something out by mistake or binning an item that you didn’t realize had any value, it’s likely that at some point you’ve chucked old junk in the bin that was worth some money.
It’s an accident we’re all prone to occasionally, but as these examples below show, some people have made some very costly mistakes when throwing away what they deemed was rubbish.
Here, we’ve selected some of the most valuable items that have been thrown out with our worthless junk.
Take a look at the list below, and see for yourself the life changing amounts of money that have ended up in bins, or even worse, landfill sites.
1. First edition Harry Potter novel
One of J.K Rowling’s first interviews was with a man named Nigel Reynolds, who received a first edition copy of ‘The Philosopher’s Stone’ as a thank you. Reynolds didn’t believe the book to have any worth and binned it, but since his mistake first edition copies have been known to fetch upwards of £50,000.
2. Hard Drives
James Howells will count himself one of the unluckiest men in the UK, after throwing out an old hard drive before realizing that it had contained £4 million worth of Bitcoins. James was never able to retrieve the drive from the Newport landfill site it went to, and with the currency locked by a privacy key all the money is forever lost.
3. Blueprints to the Freedom Tower
One of the most carelessly binned items on this list is the blueprints to the Freedom Tower. Back in 2008 a homeless man found detailed blueprints of the soon to be built Freedom Tower in New York stashed in a bin. Although there was no real monetary value to them, the blueprints were described as ‘priceless’, and were extremely lucky not to end up in the wrong hands.
A 938 Brough Superior 750cc BS4 was one of eight abandoned bikes discovered in an old barn in Cornwall, and was eventually sold at auction to a German bidder for over £300,000.
The story goes, one lucky man in America came across a tattered old violin in a bin, and decided to get it for his wife. After taking it to an antiques roadshow to see if it was worth cashing in for a new one, he found that it was crafted by famed violin maker Giuseppe Pedrazzini, and was worth $50,000.
6. Lottery Tickets
Edward St John from Massachusetts hit the jackpot after finding a discarded lottery ticket hidden away in a bin worth $1 million. Intent on trying to win it back, the original owner of the ticket attempted to sue him for the winnings, but is thought to have only received $140,000 as a settlement.
7. $5 million of diamonds
Talk about a diamond in the rough – a security guard was caught attempting to sell $5 million worth of diamonds on the black market. He found them after they’d been inexplicably thrown out.
8. The declaration of independence
An American collector was stunned after buying a cheap painting at a yard sale for $4, getting it home and discovering that there was a copy of the American declaration of independence attached to the frame.
A cleaner in Italy was left red-faced after disposing of a contemporary art piece back in 2014, not realizing that what she thought was rubbish was part of an installation. Although there was no definite value, the cleaning company had to use insurance to pay for the artworks, which cost them €10,000.
10. Early Apple computers
A first edition apple computer looks more like a typewriter than a laptop, and naturally they’re worth quite a bit. Unfortunately, nobody told one Californian resident who handed it into a recycling center, where it was eventually auctioned off for $200,000.