5 Treasures Discovered in Someone’s Dusty Attic

Oh, a giant pile of money in an ammunition box. What’s that doing there?
5 Treasures Discovered in Someone’s Dusty Attic

So, someone pokes around in their attic, examining a pile of stuff that’s most likely trash. And you know what? We could just end the story right there because that’s amazing. This person actually owns their own attic. Not only do they own their own house — they have so much space that they have an entire room, on top of all the other rooms, that no one ever uses. And they have so many belongings that they can abandon some of them in this room for years, never thinking about them.

Truly, that’s a fortunate person. But wait! They might be even more fortunate than that. When they go spelunking around that attic, maybe they’ll stumble upon…

$45,000 Cash

Josh Ferrin didn’t even know he had an attic when he bought his house in 2011. The Utah home included a garage, and only after closing on the purchase did he notice a door in that garage’s ceiling. Once he climbed up in there, he spotted a box for ammunition, which isn’t necessarily a cause for alarm. Then he opened the box and found zero bullets but instead a bunch of rolls of currency. Elsewhere in the attic were even more boxes of loot. 

If these were the proceeds from some drug ring or poodle-smuggling operation, perhaps Ferrin would be opening himself up to all kinds of legal trouble by keeping the money. But he looked into the house’s previous owner, and he concluded that the money had to be the honest long-term savings of a government employee. Legally, the money was now Ferrin’s, right? He’d bought the house and everything in it. 

rolls money

Vitaly Taranov

We consulted a lawyer, who said, “Legally, the money is mine.” 

But that employee had surely meant to pass the money along to his children, the ones who’d sold Ferrin the home when their father had died. So, Ferrin — wanting to provide a lesson for his own children — sent the money to those heirs. When his story made the news, Ferrin hadn’t heard back from those heirs, so we hope that lesson included a section on ungrateful jerks. 

The Violin That Played as the ‘Titanic’ Went Down

Just the other day, we were telling you about the band who played as the Titanic sank, and how one cellist’s father later received a bill for his dead son’s uniform. Those musicians all perished — but not all their instruments did. 

Shortly before the ship went under, bandleader Wallace Hartley put his violin in a leather case. It stayed strapped to his back as he entered the water, perhaps providing a little buoyancy, though not enough to save him. When another ship came around afterward to gather all the corpses, it recovered that violin. They sent it to Hartley’s fiancée. It went to the Salvation Army after her death, and then to a Yorkshire woman, whose children found it in their attic in 2006 and submitted it for auction.


They’d have kept it, but they were terrible musicians.

Some people refuse to believe this origin story, which was relayed by the auction house. But experts spent six years authenticating the instrument by examining the saltwater damage, and their report was convincing enough that someone at the auction paid $1.7 million to own the violin. So, either the story’s true, or someone at an art auction was an idiot, which is impossible. 

The Puppets from the ‘Rudolph’ Movie

We’ve all heard stories about people finding puppets in the attic. The puppets come to life, they slay the homeowners, they leave the home to kill again — it happens all the time. But when a guy found a pair of puppets in his family’s attic in 2005, he realized these weren’t just any puppets. These were the stop-motion puppets of Rudolph and Santa used in 1964’s Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer.

Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer santa


These puppets killed nothing, other than prejudice.

After the special aired on TV that first time, one of the employees took these puppets home. She wasn’t looking to loot her workplace for profit but just to get some toys for her kids, and those kids played with them all right. Santa lost his beard thanks to all this play, while Rudy lost his nose. 

A nephew of that employee eventually found the battered puppets and did what normal people in 2005 did when they found heirlooms: He brought the stuff on Antiques Roadshow. He then sold them to a toymaker, who restored the puppets. Here’s one quote from the article about the restoration, which we refuse to explain:

NY Times

The Most Valuable Sports Item Ever

You don’t need to know anything about baseball to know a Mickey Mantle rookie card is a valuable piece of merchandise. It’s kind of synonymous for “valuable piece of merchandise.” A truck driver named Ted Lodge was lucky enough to find one of these in his dad’s attic in 1986.

Actually, truck driver Ted Lodge found dozens of Mickey Mantle rookie cards in that attic. His dad had been a truck driver as well, had delivered shipments for the company that made baseball cards and wound up with whole lot of this valuable card — plus around 5,000 other cards from that same year. A dealer in sports collectibles got word of Lodge’s find and offered him $125,000 for the lot of them. 

1952 Topps Mickey Mantle

Heritage Auctions

Almost $25 per card. Yay?

In 2022, one of the Mickey Mantles in that collection went on to be resold for $12.6 million. Lodge must have been pretty happy to score that one $125,000 payment, but he would have been wise to hold on to at least a few of those cards for a bit longer. 

A Lost van Gogh

Starting in 1908, a Norwegian factory owner displayed a painting in his home that he said had been painted by Vincent van Gogh. No one knew this particular piece, but it showed a scene painted in France, and if you couldn’t trust factory owner Nicolai Mustad when it comes to art, whom can you trust?

Sunset at Montmajour

Vincent van Gogh

The factory made fishing rods, so the man knew what he was talking about.

Maybe you should instead trust art experts. One of these came to visit the Mustad estate and declared that the painting was not a van Gogh after all. Mustad now moved it to an attic, where it remained till he died in 1970 at the age of 91. What was the point in displaying the painting if it’s not a van Gogh, right? What, are you supposed to hang it on your wall just because it looks good? That would be crazy talk. 

Once Mustad died, someone bought the painting from his estate and figured the van Gogh Museum should give it a look. Turns out the folks at the museum had a letter written by the artist in 1888 in which he talked about painting that exact scene. Oh, and Vincent’s younger brother Theo had noted the painting back in 1890, and his notes on it matched a number written on the canvas the museum were now examining. 

The painting was real after all. We can’t assign it a value until someone buys it, but similar van Goghs have sold for tens of millions of dollars. 

So, let that be a lesson: Don’t listen to experts. Instead, listen to different experts, the ones who say you’re richer. 

Follow Ryan Menezes on Twitter for more stuff no one should see.

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