24. Thrift Store Treasures

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It was Saturday morning. Mary walked out of her house with twenty dollars in her pocket and a spirit full of optimism. She had spent the previous night in front of her television set watching a reality show that followed lucky people who had found amazing things at their local thrift shops. All of these people had bought seemingly ordinary items for extremely low prices, and ended up discovering that their items were actually very valuable treasures. After having spent five consecutive hours watching other people's experiences, Mary was determined to give bargain hunting a try in hopes of finding something that would make her rich.

One of her favorite stories from the show was of a man who had purchased a copy of the Declaration of Independence thinking that it was a cheap replica, for only $2. He ended up discovering that the print was actually one of only 200 official copies of the Declaration of Independence commissioned by John Quincy Adams in 1820. The man ended up making $477,650 after selling it.

As Mary walked into her local thrift shop, she tried recalling what all the people in the reality show had looked for. The most common items that people got rich from were paintings and so she headed straight to the Home Decorations aisle. Once there, she couldn't decide which looked most expensive. They actually all seemed pretty ugly to her. "Excuse me," Mary said to an elderly woman walking by. "Which painting do you think could make me richer?" Confused, the old lady quickly pointed at one and walked away.

The painting the old lady had pointed at was of a cat collage with almost 20 different cat faces jumbled atop of one another. "Definitely not my first choice," thought Mary. However, she trusted destiny's decision and bought the painting for five dollars. After putting it up online, she began receiving dozens of emails asking if the picture frame displayed came with the painting. In order to see what all the buzz about the frame was about, she took it to an antique store and asked if there was anything special about the frame. "Of course, it is special!" remarked the clerk at the store. "Its wood and age make it at least $25,000!" Mary ended up selling the frame for $30,000. A few days later, the buyer returned the ugly painting to her through the mail.

      


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