Amazing Thrift Store Finds

Courtesy NY Daily News
Courtesy NY Daily News

Recently I read about this man who walked in to a neighborhood Goodwill thrift store looking for a golf cart. While there, he took a look at the watches in the display case and discovered one that looked a bit out of place. He had recognized its unique quality and upon further inspection discovered that it was a rare diving watch. 





Excitedly, he plopped down the asking price of $5.99 for the timepiece, rushed home and sold it for $35,000!

I guess it pays to be alert and “know” what’s out there.

While I thought this had to be a pretty rare occurrence, I soon learned of a couple more incredible thrift store finds.

At another Goodwill store in North Carolina, the buyer was unbeknownst to his find. He paid 58 cents for a black and yellow, collegiate sweater emblazoned with “West Point” on the front.

vince lombardi west point sweaterDays later, the man and his wife were watching a documentary on the legendary Green Bay Packers football coach, Vince Lombardi when they saw him wearing a familiar sweater.

“Honey, doesn’t that look like the one you picked up at the thrift store the other day?”

“Sure does.”

The rare find is expected to fetch $20,000 at auction.

Lastly, a doctor shopping her neighborhood thrift store happened upon a suit that appeared too good to be true. What looked like an authentic astronaut suit worn by Canadian astronaut Chris Hadfield turned out to be the real deal. The doctor reached out to Hadfield via Facebook and he confirmed it was his old suit.

He’s just not sure how it got there.

My finds

While I haven’t had the fortunate as these thrift store shoppers, I do keep my eyes peeled on various items that I have familiarity with when perusing the aisles. During our last Goodwill Smackdown, I did happen upon a nice board game that fetched me a whopping $10 profit.

I also thought I had a rare find when I stumbled upon an old Ben Hogan putter. But that turned out to be a dud.

I’ll continue to hit up the thrift stores and enjoy that excitement of the “hunt”.

Have you ever stumbled upon a rare thrift store find or something unusual? 

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3 comments

  1. Andy says:

    A nice little summary of this. I think it bears mentioning that these types of scenarios seem limited to areas of the country where the population is much older and there are estates that need to be quickly liquidated after the person passes away.

    Here in the NY Metro area, stuff like that never seems to happen; while for example, my parents recently moved to Arizona (in a retirement community no less) and found a painting in a White Elephant (a kind of Good Will of sorts) that they bought for $25 that turned out to be worth over $500.

    • Aaron says:

      Yeah – these finds are pretty rare. I think most thrift store have folks looking through stuff brought in before the set it on the floor for purchase.

      • steve says:

        Yes, and a lot of these guys or girls are pretty clueless. I’ve seen some very nice things here in Calgary in Canada from Professor’s houses near the University. Location is everything, of the store I mean, find upscale areas in big cities, then locate the Goodwill stores – the larger ones. I have in ten years found quite a few things – people assume it’s all gone thru by “experts,” but think to yourself, when was the last time that the intellectual level of any clerk at a Goodwill store or guys in the back manhandling the mass of clothing, was PhD level. I have found books alone, worth hundreds in the University bookstore, for five bucks, Yale University sweaters, designer watches, furniture (small things – lamps – etc) framed art, etc. Yes it’s mostly junk in those shops, but it’s fun to find something you know about, that’s worth much more, I have done it, so I know it’s possible. There are a lot of really crappy thrift shops, so I know what you mean, but there is always one large one in any big city – and if you are there on a weekday (Saturdays things get busy) when a shipment comes in – you can find things. There are guys that are buyers, they comb thru these places in denseley populated areas like California and Florida, and sell them online. You have to know something about the particular thing you are collecting for resale, of course, but there are experts who do this. People die, and estates sometimes dump things and ship them to thrift stores.

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