Ever since Del boy and Rodders found their 'Harrison Lesser Watch' and sold it for £6.2m at Sotheby's, We’ve been fascinated by real stories of people who ‘unknowingly’ had things lying around in attics, cellars and even garden sheds that turned out to be worth thousands. Even millions.
Each time it happens (and it really does happen often), it plants a seed of ‘possibility’ in our heads that has us brushing away cobwebs in seldom visited parts of our houses. So far, nothing worth mentioning. But, that doesn’t dampen our hopes – maybe we just don’t know what’s worth looking for?
Hidden in Plain Sight
A lady in Compiegne, France, was preparing to sell her house and brought an auctioneer in to evaluate her belongings. The auctioneer’s eye was immediately drawn to a painting hanging above a hotplate in the kitchen. Let us just say that again so it sinks in - a hotplate! In the kitchen!
Long story short – it was a 13th century depiction by Florentine artist Cimabue.
This masterpiece known as ‘Christ Mocked’ is a long-lost part of a series of crucifixion paintings.
It sold at auction for $26.8 million.
We know, right? My point is, for eight hundred years or so, imagine how many people have looked at or walked by this picture completely oblivious to its value.
And, it’s not only artwork that can rake in the reddies. A guy cleaning out his childhood home in Reno found an unopened Nintendo ‘Kid Icarus’ video game in a shopping bag. The receipt for $38.45 was still in the bag. The game sold online for $9,000.
Or the lady who bought a ring for £10 in the 80s and found out last year that it's actually worth over £700,000. We could go on all day. There are literally hundreds of these rags to riches tales. Just watch some of the shocked faces on the antiques roadshow.
Our favourite, however, is very recent and completely whisky related (shocking!).
28 Years of ‘Birthday Whisky’ Gifts - Thanks Dad!
Pete Robson from Milnathort in Scotland shares the same passion as you and me. So, in 1992 when his son Mathew was born, he cracked open a bottle of 18-year-old to ‘wet the baby’s head’ (of course).
Now, we all know how creative our minds get with that glass in hand, so the ideas began to flow …
"I thought it would be interesting if I bought one every year and he'd end up with 18 bottles of 18-year-old whisky for his 18th birthday"
A sound plan. But we all also know that the creative spark usually dims out the next day right? Pete’s didn’t. Instead, he played out his whisky plan without the slightest clue of an amazing future outcome.
Pete gifted his son Mathew an 18-year-old whisky every year for his birthday.
“It wasn't the only present he got from us. It was just meant to be a unique present, but it was a little bit of luck that we kept it going”
28 years down the line, Pete has spent around £5,000 on 28 bottles of Macallan single malt.
Image Credit: SWNS
Mathew was under orders to never crack the seal …
“Each year I received it as a birthday present, I thought it was quite a quirky little present as I was slightly too young to start drinking. But I was under strict instructions, never, never to open them and I tried my hardest and succeeded. They're all still intact”
His collection is now worth more than £40,000 and has been put up for sale. Whisky broker Mark Littler, described it as a ‘perfect set’.
“The value of Macallan has risen massively over the last five to 10 years. To have such a vast collection of bottles is the real selling point. There has been a lot of interest already in the collection” (mostly from buyers in New York and Asia)
Image Credit: SWNS
Mathew is planning to use the money as a deposit on a new home.
Never Mind the Lotto – This Really Could Be You
According to the Knight Frank Wealth Report, rare whisky was the best performing collectable over the last decade, experiencing an average annual 54% rise in value.
Definitely food for thought there, but what’s highly collectable today, may become less so tomorrow AND vice versa. So, maybe you’re already holding some liquid gold without knowing it?
Your fortune could well be hidden in plain sight.