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20 Surprising Items Ever Found In Thrift Stores

Published 2 months ago

In a way, thrift stores are museums because they contain, or should I say, feature items that have stood for long on the shelves of their previous owners. The objects became “outdated” and “historical” because they were kept idle and left to age. And since this “old” object wasn’t frequently used by the former owners, they just decided to send it to a thrift store.

And you know the deal with historical objects, they can be seen as a rare find! They are treasures in some regard, just like some of the respondents in this Reddit thread said about their finds in thrift stores. Below, we compiled 20 of the most interesting and appealing treasures shoppers found in thrift stores. Check out our list below!

Once you’re done, you may want to see more interesting thrift shop finds here and here!

More info: Reddit

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#1 A Jellyfish Collection Of 27 Jellyfish In Different Sizes

Image source: Stokbakko, Pedro Szekely

My friend was working, when a man came in with his jellyfish collection. 27 jellyfish in different sizes. Yes, they were in glasses and with what we guess to be formaldehyde.

#2 A Fox Fur Stole With Glass Eyes

Image source: 3words_catpenbook

A fox fur stole, with real fur, shaped like the fox still, but with glass eyes. Nearly gave me a heart attack, lying there, looking at me!!

#3 A Castle Set With A Cannon Turret And Plastic Figures

Image source: anon, Thomas Quine

@ Goodwill, there was this castle set I was given as a Christmas present when I was 5 that was brought in. The cannon turret actually shot the little plastic rock and all the figures looked like dwarves. I never knew anyone else ever bought one in my life, so it was nice seeing it again.

#4 Cremated Ashes In A Box From A Funeral Home

Image source: 49mttj, Ed Bierman

Worked at a Value Village a long time ago and a coworker found cremated ashes – they were in a box that had the funeral home info on it so our manager contacted them about it

#5 An Old WWII Era Japanese Rifle And Katana

Image source: Amkao-Herios, Danoobiel

Not a thrift store, but my job handled a lot of used items. Basically the customer or next of kin would forget what was in their contents and we would find it through cleaning. I reckon the craziest thing would be old ww2 era japanese rifle and katana. Unsure of the validity of course, because research has told me fakes flooded the market, but we found it ticked away in a hidden alcove in their attic with their husband’s ashes and old newspapers, so who knows.

#6 Vintage Mickey Mouse Gas Mask From The Second World War

Image source: witch-of-endor, Joe Wolf

Vintage Mickey Mouse gas mask from the Second World War. We were not far from an antiques dealer and I later saw that mask in pride of place, centre of the antique shop window.

#7 A Pair Of Extremely Big Pants

Image source: sarcastic_bitch01, Hiltibold

A few years ago, when there was an earthquake in México city, many people were donating old clothes and stuff for people who were now homeless. I found a pair of pants that were as tall as me, and each leg could fit me inside of it.

EDIT: I don’t live anywhere near Mexico City, but I was helping with the donations. I would have included a picture, but sadly, dumbass me decided those were not important and I think I deleted them a few months ago.

Here are some other things I found: a literal goddamn baby sized suit, a single glove the size of my head, a shirt made of what seemed to be the same fabric that my couch has (I’m not talking about just the same pattern, it was the literal fabric), a single boot that weighed about 2 pounds, and a pair of red overalls that were around the same size as the pants, although they were not as big.

#8 A Bunch Of Old Romantic Letters

Image source: SunnyOnTheFarm, Susanne Nilsson

I worked for a nonprofit for seniors that had a charity shop in it. People often just dropped off boxes of stuff they found in their parent’s attic. One box had a bunch of letters. Some of them were from WWII, when the man was stationed at Camp Carson in Colorado and one of them must have been something they were keeping from an older generation. It was a 1914 letter proposing marriage. It was so romantic. He fell in love with her when they went ice skating together. He included an advertisement for some houses they could buy. They were really nice houses, selling for about $1500.

#9 Thousands Of Beautifully Hand Painted Warhammer Pieces

Image source: quirkyredpanda, Fox Wu

I had a mate who worked in one of the bigger lifeline stores in Australia. A woman came into the store with five large clear plastic storage boxes and asked to donate them. He looked inside of the boxes and it was thousands of beautifully hand painted warhammer pieces. He was shocked and asked her why. They were her son’s and she couldn’t keep them in the house anymore since his death.
My friend said he couldn’t accept the donation, he said the whole collection was worth alot of money. She had no idea. He asked her for all her details and asked if he could try to sell it for her. She agreed. After his shift he went home and took photos of everything and posted it online in an Australian warhammer forum. Within a couple of weeks everything was sold. He called her and she met him at the store. He told her he had sold it to collectors all around Australia who loved her son’s work. He handed her roughly twelve thousand dollars. She cried, he cried, she offered him half, he said no. She told him she would donate his half to a suicide charity in her sons name and his name. He said it was the best thing he had ever done in his life.

#10 Old Suits With A Bunch Of Cash Sewed Up In The Lining Of The Jackets And Pants

Image source: PureEnt, daliscar1

I don’t work at one, but I do know that my grandma donated a bunch of old suits my great grandfather wore to the Salvation Army. Turns out when she told my great grandma what she did when she met back up with her again, she explained to her how she sewed up a bunch of cash in the lining of the jackets and pants. She was a paranoid old woman that had luck for miles though, she was always winning money on bingo and other raffles. Wild how that stuff can be right under your nose and you don’t notice it

#11 Plastic Shopping Bag Full Of Cooked Spaghetti

Image source: ilikepie59, Vincent Tcheng Chang

Great big plastic shopping bag full of cooked spaghetti. No sauce. Probably like 5kg or so.

#12 A Big Military WWI Group Photo

Image source: Mediocre_Sprinkles, Mediocre_Sprinkles

I found a hidden ww1 photo.

Got in a crappy picture showing the different knots, it was a seaside town i was working in at the time so I put the picture out cheap. Few days later it fell off the wall and the frame broke so I brought it to the back to chuck it out. Found a big military group photo hidden behind.

No idea why it was hidden.

#13 A Bag Full Of Hand Knitted Baby Cardigans, Hats, Gloves, Booties

Image source: thepurplehedgehog, Ruth Hartnup

Every once in a while at the shop I used to volunteer at, a large white bag would appear. Always the same kind of white bag, it was full of hand knitted baby cardigans, hats, gloves, bootees. All different shades, expertly made, beautifully folded, with tissue paper on top and the whole thing smelled of fresh baby powder. Nobody ever saw who brought it in. We’d be through the back sorting stuff, head through when we heard the front door go and one white bag would be there, with nobody in sight. I’ve not worked there for years but it still happens, from what I’m told. To this day nobody knows who the Mystery Knitter is.

#14 One Of The Few Surviving Enigma Machines

Image source: sioigin55, Toby Oxborrow

Not me but my aunt.

One of the few surviving enigma machines. The owner passed away and his family dropped it off with a box of newspapers and some memorabilia from the war etc. My aunt being a history nut, figured out what it was, got it appraised (worth almost £100k) and looked for the family for 5 months before being able to return it to them. She didn’t have a heart to take it under false pretences

#15 $1000 In The Pocket Of Some Plaid Pants

Image source: satansleeps, CafeCredit.com

I was working off some probation at the Salvation Army. Going through the boxes i found $1000 in the pocket of some plaid pants. Found out they were dropped off from a girl who’s dad had died. Tried to contact her again but to no avail. I got to keep it and it helped pay my rent for the month. I was really struggling at that time so i was very grateful.

#16 A Duffle Bag Full Of Bones

Image source: jleigh041004, Random McRandomhead

I’m super late to the party, so this will totally get buried, but here we go. A duffle bag full of bones. Large one. We had to call the police, who brought the bones to a coroner to determine if they were human. They ended up not being human, but still… why? Why do you have a duffle bag full of bones to begin with, and why the hell do you think your local thrift store wants them?

#17 Hundreds Of Old And Really Expensive Books

Image source: friendlygaywalrus, Joshua Ganderson

I used to sweep the parking lot of a Goodwill and they would toss very interesting stuff in the dumpster. Hundreds of books. Like really expensive ones. Leather bound sets of classical works from the 1920s, early prints of sci fi novels (I found a nice collectible copy of Dune recently), family bibles stacked thick with memories. Food dehydrators, paintings, collectible sports memorabilia, super valuable vintage tools and fixtures. Most of it is just stuff that nobody bothered checking the value on before chucking it out, and it’s really sad.

I found a *destroyed* collection of old Spalding baseball bats, the oldest being from the 30s. They were left in the dumpster in standing water for days at least. It’s sad to see things like that go, maybe because at one point someone loved them very much, and someone else decided that all the care it took to collect these treasures was a waste.

#18 A Bunch Of Old Vinyls Including The Wall By Pink Floyd

Image source: Buhdumtssss, Felipe Tofani

Bunch of old vinyls including The Wall by Pink Floyd. Was cool as hell I even have a photo of it somewhere

#19 A Wallet With Four $20 Bills, Total Of $80

Image source: nomadicpulsar

Didn’t work there, but was about 5yo and my mom brought me and my siblings with her to Goodwill. She raised us alone, didn’t have a lot of money. This was essentially a school clothes trip. She was just trying to get IN and get OUT, we had strict rules NOT to ask for a toy or frankly just don’t ask for ANYTHING. This is a necessity trip *ONLY*.

Naturally that lasted long enough for us to walk through the automatic doors. My brother went one way, my sister another, and I headed straight for an enormous basket of wallets. I had made up my mind that I needed a wallet and the only place I could beg with any hope to get one was second hand. I picked up one, didn’t like the pockets. Picked up another, wasn’t a fan of zippers. I HATED the sound of Velcro so that eliminated many options in the basket. Eventually I brought my carefully scrutinized selection to mom, who was already overwhelmed by my sibilings’ finds that she only told me no a few times before she relented. It cost her $2.

We loaded our sacks of clothes (and my precious new wallet) into our van and started for home. I remember going through all of the pockets like I was performing a dissection, picturing what I could put here and what was supposed to go there. At some point, I found a slot that was inside of a pocket that was “stiff,” as if it was never used often. I poked at it enough to separate the fabric, and found a bill inside, intricately folded into a tiny square. Before I even realized exactly what it was, I had ripped it out and held it out over the middle seat in the van, waving frantically and practically bouncing in my seat. “Mom! Look! My wallet has money!”

It was four $20 bills, total of $80. I’ll never forget the stunned yell and absolutely magical, gleeful laugh my mom let out. My siblings and I joined in, and we didn’t stop smiling and talking about it the whole way home. That $80 wasn’t much at all, but it was everything for us on that day.

Mom let me keep a $20. I couldn’t even tell you what I spent it on. But I still remember how that wallet smelled.

#20 A Bag Of Uncut Emeralds

Image source: UnNumbFool, Géry Parent

I’m sadly pretty late to the game for this one it seems.

But, the strangest thing I ever found was actually a bag of uncut emeralds. Most of them were petty small, had inclusions or clarity issues but still it was a bad of uncut/unprocessed emeralds.

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Tags

charity shop, interesting finds, opportunity shop, rare, rare finds, reddit, surprising, surprising finds, thrift shop, thrift store
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