TOP 10 > Flea Market Treasures

Ten Amazing Finds from $100,000 to $33-Million

TOP 10 > Dumpster Dive Treasures

Top 10 Flea Market Treasures are rare items bought at flea markets, antique fairs, and car boot sales. The list is illustrative of the amazing finds we've reported, or followed in the news.

#10 - $100,000


$50 BUY YIELDS *199,000%

PARIS, FRANCE - In the 1970s, woman traveling with her husband on a business trip picked up an art deco sculpture for $50 at a flea market. Antiques Roadshow valued the sculpture at $100,000. Making a *199,000% return possible, on her $50 investment.

The woman tells the story of finding her rare 1930s sculpture, by Demetre Chiparus (1886 - 1947), in this 2-minute video shared by Antiques Roadshow. You can also see the full valuation on Antiques Roadshow's website, here.

#9 - $132,000


$60 BUY YIELDS *219,000%

LONDON - A painting bought by a taxi driver at a flea market for $60, fetched $132,000 at Roseberys. Making a *219,000% return, on his $60 investment.

Indian miniature painting.

The rare 19th century painting, known as a large Indian miniature painting, depicts one of the holiest sites in Punjab, India. You can read our full story here.



#8 - $133,000



NETHERLANDS - A vintage 1936 painting of 'fruit' picked up at a flea market, later fetched $133,685 at Bonhams. The painting's flea market price was never disclosed. However, we think it's safe to bet it was considerably less than the auction price.

Painting, entitled; 'Basket of Fruit' by the Australian artist John Wardell Power.

The full story of the painting, entitled; 'Basket of Fruit' by the Australian artist John Wardell Power (1881–1943) can be read about in Art Daily or in Bonhams press release.

#7 - $159,000


$38 BUY YIELDS *418,000%

UNITED KINGDOM - A wristwatch used as a prop in a James Bond movie was found at a flea market for $38 (£25). The watch later sold at Christies for $159,000 (£103,875). A *418,000% return on a $38 investment.

James Bond Wristwatch
The watch was worn by Sean Connery as James Bond in the 1965 movie, Thunderball. You can read the full story of the discovery in the Daily Mail, or the Metro.

#6 - $267,750


$15 BUY YIELDS *1,700,000%

NEW YORK - A rare necklace bought by a woman at a Brooklyn flea market for $15, fetched $267,000 at Christie's. Making a *1,700,000% return on her $15 investment.

The necklace by Alexander Calder.
The necklace, was by Alexander Calder (1898 - 1976), a highly sought after artist. You can read the full story in the Art Market Monitor or on the Huffington Post.



#5 - $450,000


$1 BUY YIELDS *44,000,000%

NEW JERSEY - A man bought an old carved horn cup at a flea market for $1. The latest updated value has been set as high as $450,000. Making a *44,000,000% return on his $1 investment.

A woman shares the story of her husband finding the rare 17th-century carved Chinese Rhinoceros Cup in this 4-minute video shared by PBS. You can also learn more about it on Antiques Roadshow's site, here.

#4 - $847,000


$15 BUY YIELDS *5,000,000%

LONDON - A woman bought a $15 diamond ring at a flea market then wore it for nearly 30 years, thinking it was costume jewelry. She later found out it was real, and sold the ring for $847,000 at Sotheby's. That's a *5,000,000% return on her $15 investment.

The ring held an extremely rare 26.27 carat antique diamond. A summary of her story can be seen in our 1-minute video summary, or you can read our full report, here.

#3 - $2.4 MILLION +


$4 BUY YIELDS *59,000,000%

ADAMSTOWN, PENNSYLVANIA - A man bought an old painting at a flea market for $4 because he liked the frame. He later found a copy of the U.S. Declaration of Independence hidden in the frame, which he sold through Sotheby's, for $2.4 million. That's a *59,000,000% return on a $4 investment. However, it's also just the beginning of the story.

The same Declaration sold again nearly a decade later. This time for $8.1 million, to TV producer Norman Lear (creator of Archie Bunker) who took the document on a tour around the United States. He discusses the Declaration in the 2-minute video shared by the Sundance Channel. You can also read the full story by Antiques and the Arts, here.

#2 - $5 MILLION


$10 BUY YIELDS *49,000,000%

NORTH CAROLINA – A man bought an old cowboy photo at a flea market for $10, which is estimated to be worth more than $5 million. A *49,000,000% return on his $10 investment.

The photo, thought to be Billy the Kid (1859 - 1881) with the lawman Pat Garrett (1850 - 1908) , the man who ultimately killed Billy, can be seen in this 2-minute video by the Associated Press, or read our full story.
The necklace by Alexander Calder. Amazing Yard Sale Finds valued from $92,000 to $200-Million.

#1 - $33 MILLION


$14,000 BUY YIELDS *235,000%

UNITED STATES - A scrap metal dealer bought a gold egg at a flea market for $14,000 because he believed he could melt it down for a $500 profit from the gold. Thankfully, he researched it first and discovered it was a rarity worth $33 million. Making a *235,000% return on his $14,000 investment.

The golden egg, made by Faberge, and it's story of discovery is featured in this 3-minute video by CCTV News. You can also read the story in the Los Angeles Times, here.

*All returns are simple calculations based on highest known sales price, or estimate. Additional cost, time and currency fluctuations are not been factored.


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