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Pirates’ Booty to Paris Hilton’s Stuff: Amazing Storage Unit Auction Finds

by Val Doty (10/08/12).

Storage units for auction. Which one might contain a treasure? Most of the time, there isn’t a great find, but every once in a while, a buyer hits the jackpot.

Since the emergence of reality shows such as “Storage Wars” and “Auction Hunters,” which glorify the winnings found in storage units, many hopefuls have jumped into the industry thinking they’ll get rich quick. Unfortunately, that’s not the case for most people (if it was, don’t you think everyone would be doing it?). However, that’s not to say it’s completely impossible to find that one unit in 1,000 with a treasure hidden inside. While it’s definitely not likely to find rare, one-of-a-kind treasures in a storage unit, some people do strike gold—literally. Here are a few examples to give you hope!

$500,000 in Gold Coins

A San Jose man discovered $500,000 worth of pirate treasure in a Contra Costa County storage unit he bought from American Auctioneers, the company featured on A&E’s “Storage Wars.” (Photo: A&E)

A much-publicized event in 2011 changed a California man’s life forever when he found $500,000 worth of Spanish gold doubloons in a storage unit he had purchased. The auction was run by none other than Dan and Laura Dotson of “Storage Wars” fame (this was not an auction featured on the show, however.) Laura later that day tweeted to confirm the event and congratulate the winner.

Action Comics #1

The copy of Action Comics #1 found in a storage unit. It is speculated that it could have been the copy stolen from actor Nicolas Cage’s home, but it was never determined. It sold at auction for $2.1 million.

A storage hunter received the surprise of a lifetime after discovering an incredibly well-preserved copy of Action Comics #1 in a storage unit. For those who don’t know, this particular comic book was printed in 1938 and features the first appearance of Superman. This particular Action #1 was speculated to belong to actor Nicolas Cage, whose copy had been stolen from his home 11 years earlier. Although it was never confirmed by Cage’s publicist if the copy was indeed his, when the comic book finally when to auction, it sold for a whopping $2.1 million.

Unpublished Photos of Amelia Earhart

In one of 18 unpublished photos of aviator Amelia Earhart found in a storage unit, shows her getting a haircut in Miami ahead of her doomed attempt to fly around the world in 1937.

While cleaning out a storage unit, a California woman came upon an old manila envelope. Assuming it was just junk, she casually opened the envelope to find 18 original photos of Amelia Earhart, thought to be taken as publicity shots before her first flight. Amelia Earhart was the legendary female pilot who mysteriously disappeared while attempting to fly around the world in 1937. The photographs were said to have fetched at least $1,000 apiece.

1966 Shelby Mustang GT350

This incredibly rare 1966 Shelby Mustang was found sitting among the trash in storage units claimed by the state of Texas.

An auctioneer in Texas was hired by the attorney general’s office to oversee the cleaning out of some storage units. All was going according to plan until he came upon a unit which contained an incredibly rare 1966 Shelby Mustang sitting among the trash. This Mustang, of which only about 1,000 were made, was stored among a unit filled with trash—almost perfectly preserved and untouched for 26 years. While the car was valued at over $200,000, unfortunately the auctioneer didn’t see any of that money since the unit belonged to the state of Texas.

Paris Hilton’s Belongings

Items from Paris Hilton’s storage unit were sold for $10 million to a concern that created the
Paris Exposed website.

Socialite Paris Hilton’s storage unit went up for sale in 2007 after her estate “forgot” to pay her bill. While the unit was bought for a mere $208 by Nabila Haniss of “Storage Wars” fame, it was sold for $10 million dollars to an entrepreneur who subsequently created a website, “Paris Exposed,” in which all of her personal belongings, including videos and photographs, were exploited for money.

Feeling inspired? Don’t get your hopes too high… but it’s always fun to dream! Some other folks have found units once owned by Madonna, Sting, Suge Knight and Dr. Jack Kevorkian, just to name a few. You’ll be amazed at what people will keep in their storage units and, hopefully, you’ll make a huge profit.

Val Doty is the content writer at Storage Unit Auction List, a website dedicated to bringing customers the best and largest listing of storage auctions on the internet. Storage Unit Auction List is paired with more than 50,000 storage facilities nationwide, ensuring auction listings in every state.


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2 Responses to “Pirates’ Booty to Paris Hilton’s Stuff: Amazing Storage Unit Auction Finds”

  1. Wow what a great article Val.

    I really enjoyed it. Not to mention that Storage Wars is one of my favorite shows on TV right now. I will definatley check your other blogs.

  2. Larry Quirk says:

    Great article but this falls in the same catagory of someone buying a Tiffany lamp at a yard sale for $20 – the chances of doing it are the same astronomical odds as winning the lottery. Even the Storage Wars shows say that they portray only the best of the outcomes for the profesionals (ie people with help, trucks and stores to sell the stuff in)and not the clunkers that probably make up the bulk of the auctions. The best thing to do is simply to veiw all this as only entertainment rather than a plan that would bring you that great find.

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