Penelope Wilson
Penelope Wilson
November 17, 2020 ·  4 min read

7 Accidental Finds That Made Millionaires Out of Ordinary People

Why don’t I ever get this lucky?”

Why can’t I visit my favorite thrift store, buy a cute ring for $1, and it would turn out to be worth millions the next month? Well, I’m not giving up just yet. Anybody, anywhere, and at any time can get remarkably lucky with these things – but don’t spend your life waiting for a free fortune.

Some people, however, have had their fair share of amazing luck and it’s all the awesomeness you need to see today. Imagine picking up something that looks like thrashed foil and it turns out to be pure gold worth hundreds of thousands of dollars! The 7 accidental discoveries below are proof that good luck really has no patterns. 

The Hoxne Hoard

A British farmer named Peter Whatling had lost a precious harmer in 1992. He needed it back and asked a friend who owned a metal detector to assist in the search. His friend, Eric Lawes was scanning the ground when he found a large silver coin. Lawes began to dig seriously in the same spot and later discovered a huge box filled with thousands of coins, a golden necklace, and other jewelry.

Archeologists examined the stash and identified it as the Hoxne Hoard, the largest hoard of late Roman silver and gold. It actually turned out to be the largest collection of gold and silver coins from the fourth and fifth centuries.

Lawes turned his find over to the British Museum and received a $2.3 million reward for it. He shared the score with his friend, Whatling, who never found his hammer. [1]

A Royal Opal

An Australian guy, Bobby, was working as a miner many years ago when he found a blue-green stone in a bucket full of regular brownstones. He thought it was cute, so he decided to keep it a souvenir.

Fourteen years later, he showed it to a specialist and it discovered that it was an incredibly rare black opal. He sold it for $3 million at an auction later on. [2]

An original copy of the Declaration of Independence

A guy from Pennsylvania waltzed into a thrift store one day and left with a $4 painting he intended to use for decorative purposes. Upon examining the frame, he discovered a document at the back that turned out to be one of the 25 official copies of the Declaration of Independence made in 1776. It was later sold for $2.4 million at an auction. [3]

Gold belonging to ancient British Lords

He was at the right place, at the right time, with a metal detector.

An amateur archeologist, Terry Herbert asked his farmer friend based in Staffordshire, England to let him search his fields. Herbert wanted to find coins and other small items of variable value.

At the end of his search, he discovered four thousand ancient artifacts that cumulatively weighed 4.5 kg. Experts believed they belonged to 12th-century British lords and commanders who may have used their property as sacrifices to the ancient gods. The find was estimated to be worth $5.3 million. [4]

A wall of coins

A group of kids from Pennsylvania were playing in an abandoned old house in the city of Windber. They found several coins stashed closed to a wall in one room and decided to show their find to their parents. Their parents broke the wall apart and 8,500 coins fell out. Many were antiques issued between 1793 and 1857. The total value of the stash was well over $200,000. [5]

Envelopes with money

In 2009, a woman in Cleveland named Amanda Reece invited her old school friend, Bob Kitts, a builder, to redecorate her house. While Kitts was breaking down the tiles in the bathroom, he found two metallic medicine chests filled with wads of cash stuffed in envelopes. The envelopes were addressed to P. Dunne News Agency and the cash totaled $182,000.

A conflict broke out when it was time to split the money. Reece wanted to give Kitts 10% since it was her home, but Kitts wanted 40% since he’d discovered the stash. The pair found themselves in court and they were later ordered to split the money equally. [6]

Free Gold

Metal detectors are starting to look like essential items.

A farmer in Australia was walking around his home with one of these devices when he heard a loud beep. He dug out some little pieces of gold and was convinced there was more down there. He dug until he came up with 5.5kg of gold. The find was vetted and valued at $315,000. [7]
Photo Credits: Brightside


  1. “A Search for a Lost Hammer Led to the Largest Cache of Roman Treasure Ever Found in Britain.Smithsonian. Lorraine Boissoneault. Retrieved November 15, 2020.
  2. $3 Million Black Opal Goes on Sale in Las Vegas.” WSJ. Rebecca Thurlow. Retrieved November 15, 2020.
  3. Declaration of Independence Found in a $4 Picture Frame.NYTimes. Rita Reif. Retrieved November 15, 2020.
  4. Experts Awed by Anglo-Saxon Treasure.NY Times. John F. Burns. Retrieved November 15, 2020.
  5. “Treasure trove of rare coins found in dilapidated home.” The Tribune Democrat. Randy Griffith. Retrieved November 15, 2020.
  6. Finding Cash in Walls, and Reaping Grief.” NY Times. Associated Press. Retrieved November 15, 2020.
  7. “Australian amateur prospector finds massive gold nugget.BBC. Retrieved November 15, 2020.