Talk about finding cash in your attic... One of the things I love most about collectibles is that fact that value can be unearthed anywhere, often when you least expect it. And that's certainly been a recurring theme in this week's collectibles markets.
Whether they've been found in an attic, dug up in a field or have landed from outer space, valuable items have been cropping up all over the place. And everyone from Adolf Hitler to Elton John's mum is involved...
The most headline-grabbing instance this week was the re-emergence of yet more artworks painted by Hitler. As we reported, the works, dating to the early 1900s and as late as the early-1930s, were found in a large estate in northern Austria after the property was bought by an unnamed lawyer.
It was a heck of a discovery. The artworks - which would have been worth next-to-nothing when Hitler painted them as a struggling artist in Vienna years ago - are now expected to bring more than £150,000 when they auction tomorrow (September 30).
Elsewhere, a less controversial discovery was made in May of this year: an extraordinary Crosby Garrett helmet unearthed by a metal detector in a hamlet in Cumbria, north England.
The piece is due to auction next month (October 7) estimated at an incredible £200,000-300,000. Impressively, a syndicate of bidders have rallied together to compete against private collectors at the auction and keep the helmet in its native Cumbria.
Meteorites are great investments -
Actually, scenario's like this aren't uncommon. Back in March, the historian and UK TV personality David Starkey successfully launched a campaign to raise a whopping £3.3 million to keep the most valuable UK Anglo-Saxon treasure ever discovered in the public domain.
And then there's Paul Albertson, aged 58, a retired postal worker from Oregon, US. Fully aware that his unearthed discovery could be worth tens-upon-tens of thousands of dollars, Albertson has nevertheless vowed to place his find on view as a public tourist attraction.
What's more, Albertson's treasure isn't even a piece of human history. His discovery is otherwise known as the Fitzwater Pass meteorite, a piece of the IIF iron meteorite group of which only eight examples are known to exist in the world.
Most people wouldn't consider meteorites as investments. But what could be more highly-valued than an artefact from outer space? A piece of the Fukang meteorite, for instance, was auctioned in Bonhams earlier this year for $67,100.
Meanwhile, Elton John's mum has
Better still, space rocks aren't as rare as you might think. Scientists estimate that it's possible to find at least one meteorite in every square mile of a state like Oregon (where Paul Albertson made his discovery). In other words, collecting meteorites is a pretty down-to-earth investment.
Fortunately, Elton John's mother Sheila didn't need to venture into a field with a metal detector and a spade to find objects of value. When your son has sold 250 million records and counting, there are enough valuable collectibles in your attic...
And, while the Crosby Garrett helmet is being made available to buyers at Christie's auction, Sheila's discovery has also presented an unmissable opportunity to collectors, investors and fans of the Rocket Man.
UK auction house Gorringes is auctioning Sheila's collection on October 19, with tour jackets, VIP passes used by Sheila to get into her son's gigs and more than 100 gold and platinum discs reportedly among the lots for sale.
My point is this: the collectibles markets are proving time-and-time again that valuable assets can - and will - crop up anywhere. (The golf Ryder Cup programme found in a desk drawer and due to auction at Bonhams next month is yet another example...)
That's why, whether you're a collector or investors, there's no better time than the present to keep your ear towards the ground - or eyes towards the stars.
For now, good luck and happy collecting!