6 Valuable Relics That Were Used As Literal Doorstops

Relics relegated to the role of the most-kicked item in the household
6 Valuable Relics That Were Used As Literal Doorstops

At one time or another, weve all uncovered some heirloom that had been squirreled away and wondered if we’ve just stumbled upon an early retirement. Some quick research, though, typically disabuses us of that notion — with old coins mostly worth nothing more than face value. 

So you cant fully blame people for having a significant artifact residing, unsold, in their living room. Ming vases would look lovely as home decor, after all, even if their price tag demands bulletproof glass. 

If, however, youre thinking of relegating something that could have any value at all to the role of a simple doorstop? Do yourself a favor and see if the Pawn Stars want it first. Because you certainly dont want to end up like the following people, who found out they were using a nest-egg-in-waiting to fill a job thats well-performed by literal scrap wood.

A Bronze Urn Worth 15,000 GBP

Whenever I unearth something that looks incredibly old, I follow one simple rule: If it has dragons on it, Im checking to see if its magical, expensive or both. It’s a rule that could have saved a man named Matthew Collinson a good portion of a years living expenses. Even worse, the urn in question had passed through multiple pairs of eyes that should have known better. 

It was first spotted holding a door open at an auction house, which means it was in direct eyesight of professional appraisers on the regular. Geologist Hugh Lambert offered to buy it for basically spare change, and he then passed it on to his grandson — not as an investment, but for use in gardening. Collinson finally wised up enough to bring it by Antiques Roadshow when they came through town, and learned it was a burial urn pushing 1,000 years old, with an estimated value of 10,000 to 15,000 pounds.

A Ceremonial Dagger Worth $65,000


A dagger is another object that, if it seems ancient, Im having appraised immediately — partly for the chance of a financial windfall, but also just to verify that its not haunted. For all I know, it could have been sucking up the blood of human sacrifices back in the day, and is going to release a demon on my family the first time the moon hits it right. 

In 2002, a farmer dug up the dagger, which was bent in half, and saw potential in it to stop a door. Something it certainly could do, but may have been a little overqualified for. Later, the farmer was about to toss it in the regular old garbage when a friend (who I hope got a cut) saw it and recommended he take it to an expert. It was identified as a 3,500-year-old ceremonial dirk, which a museum promptly purchased for $65,000.

A Meteorite Worth $100,000

I suppose I can blame this suddenly fortunate fellow a little less. A meteorite is a very special rock, but a rock nonetheless. So when a Michigan farmer was told the rock holding open the door of the barn hed just purchased was a meteorite, he wasnt completely stupid to chalk it up to nothing more than a fun story. Not to mention that a meteorite does seem like one of those classic items youd excitedly haul to an auction house only to be told it was worth less than your gas money — that is, if its not just a hunk of frozen airplane waste

Here, though, curiosity created a very fat cat when the farmer brought it to Central Michigan University and found out it was possibly worth a cool $100K.

A Chinese Imperial Vase Worth 1 Million Pounds


In the reverse of the last entry, this is 100 percent indefensible. Even if you knew full well a vase was nothing more than porcelain kitsch, its still objectively a terrible choice of doorstop. Why would you use an item most famous for tipping over to bear weight? Its like making a ladder out of dry spaghetti. 

Thankfully, before anyone destroyed a fortune with an errant toe-stub, they brought someone in to look at it. This inspector discovered a seal on the bottom belonging to 18th century Chinese Emperor Qianlong. Further investigation determined it to be an imperial vase that could auction for up to a million pounds. Meaning that they would have been financially wiser holding the door with a literal 25-pound gold ingot.

A Marble Bust Worth 2.5 Million Pounds

Again, youd have to think that anything made of marble, much less a bust, is worth having somebody appraise. Even if its of some hideous, cursed-looking creature, why not calculate what you could get in raw materials alone? 

Apparently, nobody took enough of an interest to do so when it came to a bust of former English MP Sir John Gordon. In an insult both to their bank account and to Gordon’s memory, they instead used it to prop open a shed beside a football pitch. It was eventually moved to a town hall for display, with a new value of 250,000 pounds given. Only when Sothebys came by to inspect their assets was the proper price relayed: 1.4 million pounds. A number that almost doubled again with an offer from an overseas buyer for 2.5 mil.

A Doorstop Worth Dying For


As they say, you cant take it with you. So, theres no value any object could meet that would overshadow the life of the owner. Your life, in theory, should always be worth more than your money, hence the famous robbers ultimatum. 

Thus, it was a highly inadvisable value proposition for Thelma Bonnett to use what turned out to be a live, primed mortar shell to keep her front door ajar. Though thats not even the worst purpose its served since its production in World War I. According to Bonnett, she and four of her siblings regularly used it as a toy when they were younger. 

And you thought lawn darts were a dangerous thing to toss around.

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