Everyone has a ‘trash to treasure’ story or at least knows about one or two. Let me tell you about mine…
When I was younger I was tasked with cleaning out my grandmother’s attic. She walked me through and gave specific direction on which items to keep and which to throw in the dumpster in the schoolyard next to her house. One item in particular she asked me throw away was a big box of dolls she had kept from when my mother was a child. Grandma didn’t want them. Mom didn’t want them. So they were headed to the trash pile.
The next day my Uncle came by the house and noticed the attic was clean and organized. He complimented me on a job well done and asked what I had done with the big box with all the dolls and records in it. I let him know I had thrown out the box of dolls as instructed, but didn’t see any records. He turned white as a ghost. Then sprinted towards the schoolyard dumpster only to find that the trash had been picked up already!
My uncles record collection was in that same box. He was a pretty serious collector at one time but sold off most of them when he moved out. He kept a handful of the most valuable from the Beatles, Rolling Stones, and Bob Dylan with some rare songs… the ones that I threw away. I don’t like to think about the amount of money I may have thrown away that day. But rather I hope the treasure found a person that deserved them. I was definitely on the wrong side of that ‘trash to treasure’ story.
Here’s a few of our favorites that had million dollar endings…
Million Dollar Can
Back in 2005, Edward St. John of Blackstone, Rhode Island found a $1 Million winning Texas hold em’ scratch off ticket in the trash can outside the White Hen Pantry convenience store. That ticket was “trash to treasure” for sure that day!
St. John soon learned that finding a million dollar piece of trash wouldn’t come without any headaches. Kevin Donovan of Massachusetts soon claimed that he was the one who purchased the ticket originally and the prize belonged to him.
The Massachusetts Lottery Commission rejected Donovan’s claim citing that tickets are ‘bearer instruments.’ Whoever signs the back and turns it in is the rightful owner. It’s your standard grade school ‘finders keepers’ scenario.
As expected, Donovan and his family didn’t like this ruling and pushed the issue to the courts. St. John and the Donovan family eventually settled rather than go through the grueling court process. St. John was 83 years old and wanted to enjoy the money while he still could. He surrendered $143K in the settlement.
What would you have done?
Get the whole story HERE
A brightly colored work of art in someone’s curbside trash can caught the eye of Manhattan resident Elizabeth Gibson on her morning walk through the Upper West Side. Although Gibson didn’t quite understand the abstract painting at first glance, she said she could feel is was an important work. She took the painting home and spent the next several years trying to find out more about the painting and artist.
Elizabeth finally discovered some information about the painting on the ‘Antiques Roadshow’ website. The
painting was titled ‘Tres Personajes’ and was described as the missing masterpiece from famous Mexican artist Rufino Tamayo.
The painting was originally purchased by an American collector in 1977. It was reported stolen from a storage container during a move years later.
Gibson received a $15,000 reward for turning the painting in to the collector’s widow and received an undisclosed percentage when the painting sold at auction. ‘Tres Personajes’ sold for over $1 Million. I’ll bet Elizabeth Gibson sure was glad she went with her gut that day and brought the colorful painting home.
Check out the whole story HERE
What’s Your Trash to Treasure Story?
The Clean Cans team loves a good story. Don’t forget to share your ‘trash to treasure’ story in the comments. It can be easy to overlook valuables when we’re cleaning out an attic or storage locker. You never know what kind of treasures you could be discarding. But one thing is for sure, it’s much more pleasant to retrieve your accidentally discarded valuables from a fresh smelling, sparkling clean trash can from Your Neighborhood Can Cleaning Service!