Those gold coins found by a California couple, valued at $10 million, may be the spoils of a long-ago heist from the Federal Mint. While things may not turn out as hoped, they’re not the only ones with a potentially lucrative, surprise discovery. Here are five more tales of found fortune.
Yellow Diamond Teen
Tana Clymer’s family trip to Arkansas’ Crater of Diamonds State Park was worthwhile, to put it mildly. There, the 14-year-old discovered a 3.85 carat canary diamond. A diamond she got to keep, as per the rules of the park, which permit you to leave with any precious stones you find. Let the vacation bookings begin!
Safe of Gold
When locksmith David Molick broke into a battered old safe hauled for scrap, he discovered a trove of silver and gold coins, with an estimated value of $2.5 million. Unfortunately for Molick and the scrap collector who brought him the safe, no finders, keepers. The coins were returned to the family who’d owned the safe. Moral: always check before you toss.
North Dakota Oil Boom
Opportunity knocked for west North Dakota farmers in the form of geologists telling them they were sitting on a fortune in black gold beneath their land, sparking a huge oil boom. In a mixed blessing, boom has sent housing prices skyrocketing throughout the state , and underscores that it’s not always what’s on the land but in it that might make you an overnight millionaire.
Don’t have North Dakota’s luck? A similar boom may be coming to a place near you.
Gem hunter Terry Ledford found a South Carolina stone so stunning, it rivaled one owned by Russia’s Catherine the Great. The 65-carat emerald is valuable not only for its size, but for its exceptional color and clarity. Though the owners of the farm where it was found haven’t allowed public access to shovel for stones in years, it still makes for a pretty–and expensive–dream.
Seattle Construction Mammoth
Not all valuable finds sparkle. A construction crew excavating a site stopped work when Joe Wells, digging with a shovel, came across a tusk. Paleontologists think the tusk belonged to a mammoth living in the area 16,000 years ago, an incredibly rare and valuable find.
And not everybody dreams of sudden riches. Though the landowner could privately sell the tusk, he’s donating it to the Burke Museum.