Treasures worth thousands, and sometimes millions, of dollars turn up at thrift stores every now and again. It pays to keep your wits about you when you are browsing through the heaps of old items, as there can be precious antiques, great art, and more mixed in with the rest of the junk!

Get inspired to scour your local second-hand shops by stories of some miraculous finds.

Philadelphia Resident Scoops Calder Necklace

When Norma Ifill paid US$15 for a beautiful brass necklace she spotted at a flea market, she had no idea it was by the famous sculptor Alexander Calder. She ended up selling it for almost US$270 000.

A Sofa Bed Reveals a Hidden Treasure

A young woman studying in Berlin found out that, for a while, she had literally been sitting on a fortune.

In 2006, she purchased a second-hand sofa bed at a flea market in the German city for just over US$200, but she used it mainly as somewhere to sit when she first got it.

When she finally got round to pulling out the bed, however, she found a painting tucked away inside it. It turned out to be a work called Preparation to Escape to Egypt, dating back to the 1600s. The artist is unknown but it was auctioned the following year for almost US$30 000.

You can usually only find that kind of return by spending time at top betting sites in Australia!

The Poster That Turned Out to Be by Picasso

An Ohio man was looking through items in a thrift store in his neighbourhood in 2012 when he came upon what he thought was an old poster for an art exhibition by Pablo Picasso. Bodish liked the image and the condition it was in and, happily handing over the US$15 charge, took the picture home.

When he sat down to look at the poster more closely, he noticed red markings of numbers on a corner of the work. Well! He did some research and discovered that he had happened upon a print signed by the great artist himself. He sold that picture for a whopping US$7 000.

A Second Image of Billy the Kid is Unearthed

The infamous outlaw from the Wild West known as Billy the Kid was born into a poor Irish neighbourhood on New York City’s East Side in 1859. Before he was shot dead just 21-years later, across the country in Fort Sumner in New Mexico, he entered the pantheon of near-mythical gunfighters including the likes of Jesse James, Doc Holliday, and Wyatt Earp.

Mr Randy Guijarro was looking through boxes of old photographs in a curio shop in Fresno, California, in 2010 when he spotted some old tintype photos that looked interesting. He bought them for US$1 apiece and went on to discover what is one of just two authenticated pictures of The Kid. It shows the teenager playing a game of croquet with a woman and a young male, and has been appraised for US$5 million.

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