Of course all of us dream of living the big life. To achieve that dream, we work hard, try to make smart investments and some play the lottery, hoping that their life might change overnight. While some of us try and try and try, there are many who become millionaires, right in their backyards. These people were lucky enough to find extremely valuable items that were hidden in their backyard for decades or even centuries. Here, we are listing the top 10 amazing finds that made people rich overnight.
1. A Chicago man found $150,000 in a bag from his backyard.
Wayne Sabaj, 51, was living an ordinary life. In 2011, after being unemployed, the man was trying to save up a few bucks by gardening his own produces. One day, as he was picking broccoli, he found a mysterious bag. After unearthing the bag, he discovered that it contained stacks of cash. He took the bag to his father, who was also unaware of it but neither men were happy about the find. The Sabaj’s thought that the money could have been abandoned by some bank robbers and did not want the law enforcement catching the wrong people.
So, the family called the nearest police station and informed them about their find. When authorities examined the bag, they discovered that it contained $150,000 and were able to trace the notes back to their neighbor Delores Johnson. Apparently, Delores considered the money to be cursed and wanted to get rid of it. However, her daughter heard of the news and claimed that it rightfully belonged to her. The Sabaj’s took it to court where a legal battle ensued but before the verdict was announced, Wayne Sabaj passed away from diabetic complications.
Upon hearing this news, his father suffered a cardiac arrest, but thankfully survived. Wayne Sabaj’s son finally talked to Delores Johnson’s daughter and the two came to an agreement to split it equally and drop the lawsuits. (source)
2. Couple walking their dog in the backyard accidentally stumble across more than 1,000 gold coins valued at $11 million.
In 2013, the dream of finding buried treasure came true for one California couple. John and Mary were walking their dog in the backyard when they stumbled across a rusted can sticking out of the ground. Eager to see what was inside, the couple dug it out and opened it. To their surprise, it was filled with gold coins. John and Mary dug the surrounding area and discovered seven more cans containing precious coins. After going through all the cans, they discovered more than 1,000 gold coins, some of which were extremely valuable.
The couple were quick to hide their discovery and contact Don Kagin, a historian and restoration specialist. Kagin spent months bringing the coins back to their mint condition and upon closer inspection, realized that the 1,427 coins were minted between 1847 and 1894. The collection was valued at $11 million. While the couple sold a majority of them at an auction, they did save some for themselves as souvenirs. (source)
3. Austrian man digging his backyard stumbles across 650-year-old jewelry and ornaments worth millions.
In 2007, Andreas K. was gardening when he came across some unusual objects. The man discovered several rings and ornaments that were covered in dirt. Although he kept them aside, he did not think much of it. Andreas left his find in a wooden box and left it in his basement. Finally, in 2009, as he was cleaning his basement, he stumbled upon the artifacts again. This time, the dirt had dried off and the stones were clearly visible. Knowing that they could be worth at least a few hundred dollars, he took some pictures and posted them to Reddit.
Archaeologists who were browsing the site immediately recognized the value of his find and informed Andreas to inform the Austrian Federal Monument Agency. What Andreas had actually discovered was more than 200 rings, brooches, and other ornate objects, that were more than 650-years-old. His find was worth millions and the Austrian Federal Monument Agency was delighted by this. However, Andreas kept the findings to himself and plans on loaning a few of the items to one of Austria’s museums. (source)
4. Australian farmer searching for rusty nails in the backyard unearths 12 lbs (5.5 kg) of gold that was worth $315,000.
An Australian farmer who was trying to get rid of rusty nails in his backyard became rich overnight after he discovered gold. With the help of a metal detector, the man who wished to keep his identity a secret was scouring the area when his device beeped. Thinking it was a nail, he started to dig. Instead of nails, he dug out little nuggets of gold. The surprised man kept digging and in a few hours, he had managed to unearth 12 lbs (5.5 kg) of gold that is worth $315,000. Since the gold nuggets are at their most pure state, they are worth more. According to many prospectors, it is unusual to find more than 2 lbs of gold in the same exact spot. (source)
5. Idaho couple discover $46,000 worth of silver coins during a backyard renovation project.
James and Brytten Sievers from Rupert, Idaho, have been living in their house for over five years when they decided that the backyard needed some renovation. The couple got into an argument on where to dig, and finally, James agreed with his wife. As he started digging, his shovel hit something rock solid. After removing the object, the couple discovered that it was a plastic tube that was filled with silver coins. The coins were dated 1982 and after some research, James discovered that a man named Clint Nelson had lived in the house in 1982.
Without hesitating, James called Nelson and informed him that he had discovered something that belonged to him. Even though James offered to return the silver, Nelson allowed him to keep it. Nelson explained that the silver was given to him as a gift but when the price of silver plummeted, he buried them. Although he retrieved four other similar tubes, he had forgotten about the fifth one. For his honesty and restoring Nelson’s faith in humanity, James was allowed to keep the silver. However, James, who felt like it was necessary to share, drove to Nelson’s house and split the silver with him. (source)
6. A man from Suffolk, England, lost a hammer in his backyard. With the help of his friend and a metal detector, they searched for the missing hammer but discovered $15 million worth of buried treasure instead.
In November 1992, a man who lost his hammer called Eric Lawes, who was a metal detectorist in the village of Hoxne in Suffolk, England. Eric built his own metal detectors and with the help of his own invention, he decided to help the man find his missing hammer. As he searched the land, he found that one particular spot was giving an off the charts reading. Eric began digging and discovered a wooden box that was filled with 24 bronze coins, 565 gold coins, 14,191 silver coins, hundreds of gold and silver spoons, jewelry, and statues, all dating back to the Roman Empire.
Archeologists named this treasure the “Hoxne Hoard” and it was brought to the British Museum for display. Although it’s price is estimated to be worth $15 million, since the museum received it, they rewarded Eric $2.3 million; which he split with the landowner. After the amazing discovery, Eric went back and helped the man find his lost hammer. (source)
7. In 1978, two kids from Los Angeles were digging dirt when they discovered a brand new Ferrari buried in their backyard.
The youngsters had been playing in the backyard of the home, digging in the mud, when they unearthed something different. After hitting the roof of the car during their excavation game, they ran to the street and waited for a police officer to pass. When Sgts. Joe Sabas and Lenny Carroll of the Lennox sheriff’s substation were passing by their home, the kids flagged them down and informed them of their find. When detectives arrived at the scene, they discovered that it was a Dino 246 GTS Ferrari, estimated at $18,000 ($75,000 in today’s money).
After a bit of investigating, it was discovered that the car was stolen four years earlier and buried in the yard by the thieves. It was originally bought by Rosendo Cruz of Alhambra, CA in 1974, who reported it stolen, three months after the purchase. An investigation concluded that there was no foul play and Rosendo was reimbursed by the insurance company. Miraculously, four years later, the car reappears but nobody who lived in the area at the time reported seeing anything strange. The then-current residents also claimed no part in being involved with the incident.
Although authorities unearthed the vehicle, they are not sure how it managed to be buried. However, they believe that it was part of an insurance scam where the thieves who stole the car were supposed to destroy it but they fell in love with it and decided to bury it to unearth in the future instead. (source)
8. A New York couple found a safe in their backyard that contained $52,000 in cash, gold and diamonds.
For years, Matthew and Maria Colonna-Emanuel lived paycheck to paycheck. In their backyard, they usually saw a piece of metal box sticking out of the ground, which they thought was part of a cable or electrical box. However, one day, the curious couple decided to figure out what it was and started digging. To their surprise, it was an old safe that contained wet money, and a lot of jewelry in plastic bags. “Hundreds of dollars, jewelry, diamonds, engagement ring. Dozens of rings, gold with jade. It was stunning,” said Matthew.
The safe also contained a piece of paper with an address that lead to their neighbors. “First, I knocked on the door and I asked them if they were ever robbed and they said they were,” Matthew said. According to the New York Police Department, a burglary was reported at their neighbors’ home the day after Christmas in 2011. The only thing taken was the safe. It had a large amount of cash, jewelry and other items inside: a total of $52,000 worth of property, police said. Although the police said that they would never be able to trace the valuables, thanks to Matthew and Maria, it has finally been discovered.
When asked why they didn’t keep the loot for themselves, Maria said, “It wasn’t even a question. It wasn’t ours”. “The reward is karma. Good karma.” added Matthew. (source)
9. A Los Angeles man discovered $175,000 worth of contraband, buried in his backyard.
In 2012, in the Silver Lake neighborhood of Los Angeles, Mack Reed was preparing himself to install some solar panels at his residence. When he opened the underground access vault in his backyard, he made quite the discovery. Reed stumbled across an army-green bag stuffed with approximately $175,000 worth of contraband. Within the bag was 60 jars, additional bags and packages of all varieties of the herb. A scared Reed called LAPD but was told by the operator that everyone in his district was “out on an emergency”.
Instead, the operator asked if he wanted to carry the bag himself to the nearby police station. Reed, a former reporter for the LA Times said in his blog about the ordeal, “Yeah, uhhh … I don’t think driving around with 20 pounds of contraband in my car is really a good idea”. Finally, a supervisor arrived at the scene to investigate and asked Reed if he ever posts anything on social media when he leaves town. To his surprise, Reed recalled that he had indeed posted a photo from the Grand Canyon over the Thanksgiving weekend.
The suspects were closely following his accounts and using his house to store contraband upon his absence. After the police confiscated the substance, Reed feared that it would be dangerous for his family to have strangers coming in and out of his house. So, he left a note at the scene that read, “We found it and called the LAPD. They confiscated it and now are watching the place. Sorry”. (source)
10. Doctor who was inspecting a hole in his backyard discovers treasure valued at £54,492.
In 2013, Dr. Owen Johnson, 53, was inspecting a hole that was created by his gardeners in the backyard. As he looked inside, he noticed that it contained a ceramic pot. The doctor immediately dug around it and removed the pot, only to discover silver coins spilling out. Johnson had discovered nearly 600 coins from the mid–17th century, along with a note that read, “When you see this, remember me”. The doctor immediately contacted the Wakefield Council, who valued the coins to be worth £54,492 and purchased it. Today, the hoard can be seen at the Pontefract Museum. (source)