30 Cheap But Valuable Purchases That Defied All Expectations

Published 1 month ago

In a world where the value of things often seems to correlate directly with their price tags, it’s refreshing to stumble upon an exception. Reddit, the digital agora where opinions and anecdotes flow freely, recently hosted a thread that sparked a wave of tales about serendipitous bargains turning into treasures beyond measure.

The question posed was simple yet intriguing: “What is the cheapest thing you bought that turned out to be very valuable or expensive?” Here, we delve into the depths of these anecdotes, uncovering stories of unexpected riches and hidden gems.

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Image source: antiyoupunk

Not me, but my friend’s grandmother was at a yard sale and bought a framed sketch cause she thought it looked neat. Turned out to be a genuine Picasso sketch. No idea what it was worth, but she paid like a dollar for it. I should also add that his grandmother was already filthy rich, so she just hung it up and was like “meh, that’s neat”.


Image source: jasta2

I purchased a tiny glass bird at a yard sale for .25 cent. Turned out be a signed hand blown Mirano piece that I sold on ebay for $800.


Image source: Imaginary_Office7660, Sarah Brown / unsplash (not the actual photo)

I took the cheapest art class at a local art school for “continuing ed”. It wasn’t cheap but relative to the others it was, anyway it got me so invested I ended up using the skills professionally and personally, made some great friends and boosted my confidence.


Image source: stickman07738, Hannah Murrell / unsplash (not the actual photo)

I brought a small glass orb for ~$25 at a street fair as I thought it was cool. For four years it was sitting on my desk, a client came into my office and stated if it was authentic it is valuable. Appraised over $10K – not on my desk any longer.


Image source: Scared-Tomatillo-203, K E / unsplash (not the actual photo)

I paid 50 dollars for my Dogs adoption fee. He ended up barking for help when I had a seizure caused by medication.

Priceless puppy!


Image source: lizard_crunchwrap, Margarita Kosior / unsplash (not the actual photo)

My dog was a long term resident at the shelter so she was only $10, but she’s so incredibly valuable to me. ❤️?.


Image source: Sunnyfloralprinces, Emiliano Vittoriosi / unsplash (not the actual photo)

Bought a lottery ticket for $2.

I won about 800k from it

Bought a house with that money and now I work a regular job while saving for retirement.


Image source: grandwahs, Eva Bronzini / pexels (not the actual photo)

Maybe not *cheap* but in 2012 I bought two bottles of high-quality bourbon (Pappy’s) for $250 each as I knew it was popular and reputed to be good, and I wanted to try it.

I drank one bottle over the course of the next year, but saved the other. Well that remaining bottle is now worth in the vicinity of $5k and I’m very hesitant to actually drink it.


Image source: Thomas3816, Fang-Wei Lin / unsplash (not the actual photo)

A book by Don Miguel Ruiz called, “The Four Agreements.” $12.99 at Barnes and Noble.

The book sums up 4 life lessons to live by and ever since reading it, I can honestly say I’ve been a much happier person with little to no stress in my life.

For those who don’t want to read between the lines, the 4 agreements are:

Don’t take things personally.
Don’t make assumptions.
Be impeccable with your word.
Always do your best.


Image source: edwinodesseiron, Nicolas J Leclercq / unsplash (not the actual photo)

After my office chair broke, I was going to go to a cheap furniture store (the range) to get another crappy chair for €150, which was the most I could spend at the time. But on the way there I stopped by a second hand furniture store in my town, and they had a sturdy looking office chairs (steel wheel frame instead of plastic, fairly comfy, seemed like they’ll last some time), for €50. I bought one, and few months later decided to look up what kind of chair is it. Turns out it’s a Herman Miller Mirra 2, which seem to retail for around **€1300 more** than I paid.


Image source: biscobingo, Jp Valery / unsplash (not the actual photo)

My daughter bought a painting for $0.50 at a thrift shop and found an envelope with $1,000 in back of it.


Image source: Natalia_Kozlova, Eugene Chystiakov / unsplash (not the actual photo)

My boyfriend bought me a cheap graphics tablet for maybe $50 or something. He knew that I loved to draw. With this tablet, I found a job as an artist and made my dream come true.


Image source: Ok-Fox1262, Saeed Sarshar / unsplash (not the actual photo)

Only cost me like £20 to marry my wife. There is nothing else I will ever have that is more valuable to me than her.

The best things in life are (nearly) free.


$25 notary fee to get out of the Mormon church.

Image source: roundyround22


Image source: photoguy423

Bought a first edition of The Shining by Stephen King for $1 at a local library sale and sold it for $500 a few years later.


Image source: countofmontycrinkles, Onur Binay / unsplash (not the actual photo)

Saved up $150 for a Roomba. They accidentally sent me the model that was $700 at the time. 6 years later and David still works perfectly fine.


I went to an auction last year, looking for tools. They had an old busted up jukebox. I had no interest in it. They started bidding at $500 before going down to $25. I bid and no one else did. Dragged it home and was trying to figure out what I was going to do with it. A jukebox broker I had chatted with before the auction got a hold to see if I ended up buying it. He then gave me $2k for it. I owned it for about a week.

Image source: cbru


Image source: lovelyrusse, THE ORGANIC CRAVE Ⓡ / unsplash (not the actual photo)

I once bought a bag of chips and there was this event on their company where they put random amounts of money in random bags and I bough the bag for like a buck and won 100 pretty worth ngl.


Image source: hawaiiturret, Irene Kredenets / unsplash (not the actual photo)

I got a bag for 10 bucks at a thrift store which would cost like 200 in an actual store.


Bought a comic for 2 bucks from a Lyft driver cleaned it pressed it then sent it to get pressed again and graded at cgc worth 2k last time I checked.

Image source: No-Difficulty4418


Image source: Kolipe, Scott Major / unsplash (not the actual photo)

Bought a McIntosh receiver and speakers at a garage sale for $500 total. They were from the 90s.

Most likely were $10-$20k brand new.


Image source: HonestFalcon4444, KOBU Agency / unsplash (not the actual photo)

I got a box of vinyl records from a family friend. Went on Discogs to add them to my existing collection.

One was an original press of some obscure folk musician. Apparently pretty rare. They were going anywhere from $300-$900. I had a guy message me asking for photos/videos. I sent him some, he asked the price, I said name me an offer. He said $500, I said sold. He was a mega fan and super happy, and I was happy to have $500.


Once bought a box load of Christmas decorations at an auction house for $40. It was full of gold, silver, crystal and hand blown glass decorations from harrods and other fancy stores. I’m in New Zealand so they came half way round the world.

Image source: apple5masher


I bought a bra for a girl when I was 16, cost about $18 I think.

Well, 25 years and two kids later we joke about it every now and then, and I still think about my idiot self as a teen thinking I’d get to take that bra off some day if I was lucky.

Image source: I-LiveHereNow


I used to buy comic books for less than a dollar when I was a kid back in the 80s. I think most were like $.60. Anyway, my current collection is worth hundreds of thousands of dollars because I also bought those plastic bags and acid free cardboard backs and all of them are in mint condition.

Image source: PunchBeard


Image source: MicroCat1031

Bought a nice beach painting in a thrift store in Florida.

The artist was Alfred Hair https://www.floridahighwaymenpaintings.com/highwaymen/alfred-hair/

Of the Florida Highwaymen https://backusmuseum.org/highwaymen

The painting is a twin to one that hangs in the National Gallery. https://nmaahc.si.edu/explore/stories/highwaymen-segregation-era-florida-artists-sold-and-often-painted-roadside

More importantly to me is that the purchase led to me meeting and making friends with several of the Highwaymen. .


I won U2’s first single, 1000 of which were released only in Ireland in 1979 and hand-numbered, from the radio show competition that determined which track would be on the A-side. Had I paid for it, it would have been £1.49. Today I’m negotiating selling it for between $3000-$5000. Not too shabby.

Image source: maxplanar


Nothing crazy but years ago I was throwing a mad hatter tea party for my daughter and decided to get teacups at the thrift store so kids could take them home after if they wanted.

Found a set of 11 cups and saucers for $0.99 each and loved them. I’d wanted mismatched for the kids but loved the design I bought them for myself. Tried to search them online to see if I could find a 12th and maybe a tea/coffee pot/carafe and found them listed individually for around $20-40 and the pots for over $150.

Didn’t ever buy the 12th and with my luck they’re full of lead but still pretty.

Image source: TeslasAndKids


Image source: Sconniegrrrl68, NIKHIL / unsplash (not the actual photo)

1) studying for finals in college December 1989 I bought a six pack of Diet Pepsi….won a free 2L and the brand new Nintendo game boy (all for spending about $2.75) 2) bought a barely worn pair of Prada Mary Jane’s at a thift store in Chelsea NYC for $40. They were going for $800 brand new 2) bought a Russian fox fur hat for $12 At a thrift store…retaiing for $1200 4) won a lot of 6 silver necklaces at auction for $9.25….one was a vintage Tiffany and Co. worth about $300 5) found an inch long pin on the ground going out to catch a bus….cleaned it up, 18k Tiffany and Co. bumblebee pin with ruby eyes. My late father always said, “I’d rather be lucky than good,” and that is my motto as well!


Image source: RecognitionExpress36

A late 17th century printing of Ben Jonson’s play “The Alchemist”, found at a thrift store for fifty cents.

Saumya Ratan

Saumya is an explorer of all things beautiful, quirky, and heartwarming. With her knack for art, design, photography, fun trivia, and internet humor, she takes you on a journey through the lighter side of pop culture.

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cheap things, cheap things turned out valuable, good fortune, luck, lucky people, valuable things
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