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Are You Savvy Enough to Discover Tag Sale Treasure?

Some of the best collectible stories feature an average citizen discovering they have a rare treasure hidden away in a dusty box or barn. But there's a similar type of story that isn't so happy for all parties involved—people who owned something valuable but didn't realize its worth and donated it to a thrift store or sold it for a few coins.

That's what happened with the examples in the following slides, which cost their finders only 75 cents – $100, while their values range from around $5,000 – $2.22 million dollars and in the case of those that haven't yet sold, possibly much higher. Sometimes the seller on the wrong end of such treasure trades mercifully remains none the wiser, but in the few cases where their reactions were known are included here. And one finder of what she believes is a lost work by an iconic 20th century painter turned down an offer that was 180 million percent increase over her $5 investment.

These found fortunes were windfalls for those lucky enough to buy them at tag sales, garage sales, and thrift stores. But it isn't only luck—it takes an eye. Would you have known all of the following items, each one purchased for a pittance, were so valuable?

By Colleen Kane
Posted 27 March 2013

Claudio Arnese | E+ | Getty Images