Most people do not think twice about throwing things in the trash, and sometimes they end up regretting it. There is a saying that goes, “One man’s trash is another man’s treasure,” and this saying fits the following cases as well. From a British man who accidentally threw away a hard drive containing 7,500 Bitcoins to a painting worth $1 million that a girl accidentally discovered in the trash. Here are 10 expensive things people have thrown away as trash.

The first edition of a Harry Potter novel was worth thousands of dollars that were thrown away unread.

Harry Potter- first edition. Image credit: SWNS via

The first edition of the Harry Potter books is the holy grail for Potter fans. Today, there are only 300 to 500 Harry Potter first editions left with an estimated value of $50,000 each. Nigel Reynolds is a lucky man who was able to interview J.K Rowlings before her book became a runaway success. As a thank you, he received a free copy of the first edition of The Philosopher’s Stone, and what did he do? He threw it in the trash without further ado.

The most frustrating part was that he did not even read it and just threw the book, which was worth thousands of dollars, in the trash unread. He said he did not think the book was worth reading and just threw it in the trash. In less than a year, Rowling’s book became a huge success, and the irony is that Reynolds was standing in line to buy a Rowling-signed follow-up edition of Harry Potter for his son.

James Howells, a British man who threw $280 million worth of Bitcoins in the trash.

James Howells lost 7,500 bitcoins when he discarded an old hard drive (Image to the left), Bitcoins. Image credits: Stephen Shankland/, Shutterstock

James Howells will probably go down in history as the world’s unluckiest man. Today, a single Bitcoin is worth thousands of dollars, but a few years ago it was not worth nearly that much. In 2013, James Howells, an IT engineer from Newport, Wales, threw his hard drive, which contained 7500 Bitcoins, in the trash while cleaning out his office. Back then, in 2009, Bitcoins were not a priority, but today that amount would be worth more than $280 million. Later, while casually surfing the Internet, he noticed that Bitcoins had surprisingly increased in value.

He began rummaging through his local dump, hoping to find his hard drive, which contained the security key to access his Bitcoins. He had an entire consortium of experts search for the hard drive, but the Newport City Council has so far refused to allow him to search the landfill. Mr. Howell has even offered to donate a quarter of his fortune to the city, but so far that offer has been in vain. Be that as it may, Howell’s fortune still lies somewhere in the City of Newport’s landfill under a pile of garbage, and he is still digging through the trash in hopes of one day finding it.

A violin made by Giuseppe Pedrazzini worth $50,000 has been dumped in the trash.

1922 Giuseppe Pedrazzini Violin. Image credit:

An American man happened to find a violin made by Italy’s most famous violin maker, Giuseppe Pedrazzini. When he happened to be wandering around and wanted to buy a violin as a gift for his wife, he found a violin in a garbage dump. He picked up the violin and took it to an antique market to see if it was worth trading for a new violin.

Fortunately, he found that the violin had been made by the famous luthier Giuseppe Pedrazzini in 1922. Pedrazzini had grown up in Italy and studied violin making in Milan. The violin found in the trash was one of his best works. The appraiser said that if the violin were cleaned and restored, it would be worth more than $50,000. No one knows who threw such a work of art in the trash.

A California woman threw away a first-edition Apple computer worth $200,000.

First edition of Apple Computer. Image credit: Henry Ford Museum via

An old Apple I computer is the only one of the few 200 first-generation desktop computers built in 1976 by Steve Jobs, Steve Wozniak, and Ron Wayne. Without knowing the value of the computer, a mysterious woman from California threw the old Apple computer in the trash when she was cleaning out her garage.

In April, she dropped off two boxes of electronics at the Clean Bay Area Recycling Center. After she realized the computer’s value, the recycling center quickly sold the rare computer for $200,000. Now the recycling center is trying to track down the mystery woman to give her a 50% share of the profits, according to its policy.

Ancient Mayan artifacts dating from 300 B.C. to 500 A.D. were found by a garbage disposer in New York.

Art expert Howard Nowes (r.) examines artifacts found by Nick DiMola. Image credit: Costanza for News via

“One man’s trash is another man’s treasure.” That adage proved true when an artist collecting trash from homes found some ancient Mayan artifacts worth $16,500. Nick DiMola, a 39-year-old man, had been working as a trash collector in Queens, New York, for the past five years. He was hired to clear out an artist’s apartment on Prince Street for $4,500. While cleaning the studio and basement storage areas, DiMola accidentally scratched a cardboard garbage can. When he opened it later, he found dozens of antique Mexican artifacts.

They were jars, various bowls, figurines, and stone axes dating from 300 B.C. to 500 B.C. DiMola said he wasn’t surprised when he discovered the artifacts. He said there’s always something in the trash that’s worth money. But even after he learned the truth, the real owners had no right to the artifacts and DiMola was able to sell the artifacts on his own.

Confidential blueprints of the soon-to-be-built Freedom Tower found in a New York City garbage dump.

Freedom Tower

Let’s remember the beautiful day in 2008 when a homeless man in New York City found the secure and confidential documents of the Freedom Tower in a garbage can. They were two sets of confidential 150-page construction plans for the soon-to-be-built Freedom Tower. The Freedom Tower was to be built in Lower Manhattan at “Ground Zero,” and the papers were disposed of in the municipal trash at West Houston and Sullivan Streets.

The papers included floor-by-floor floor plans, the thickness of concrete walls, and the location of electrical systems and elevators – all of which were a treasure trove for potential terrorists planning a full-scale attack. The papers had no specific monetary value, but the people willing to bid on them are frightening and intriguing. Fortunately, the papers didn’t fall into the wrong hands, and the homeless man who found them returned them to the proper authorities.

The nuclear weapons material from World War II was found in a landfill.

Image credits: Washington Closure Hanford/Newscientist

A special type of plutonium is used to make atomic bombs. During cleanup at the Hanford Site, a huge Department of Energy site in southeastern Washington state, workers came across an old safe buried in a pit.

When they opened it, inside was a bottle that turned out to be an abandoned piece of plutonium-239. Plutonium-239 is a specific type of substance used in the Manhattan Project II during World War II. Plutonium is radioactive and can cause lung cancer in a person who inhales it. However, the amount of plutonium found wasn’t enough to develop a nuclear weapon, but it was also not small enough to get into the hands of bomb makers.

A painting worth $1 million by artist Rufino Tamayo was found in the trash after being lost for 20 years.

The trash is the least expected place to find a painting worth $1 million! In 2003, Elizabeth Gibson happened to be on her way to coffee when she discovered a large, 38-inch by 51-inch, colorful painting lying between two trash bags. The painting had been thrown in the trash on 72nd Street in Manhattan, New York as if it were worth nothing. Gibson was drawn to the painting, even though her apartment wasn’t large enough to accommodate such a large painting. She picked up the canvas and took it back to her apartment.

While watching an episode of Antiques Roadshow, she heard a description of the painting. The painting turned out to be the most famous piece of art by the famous 20th-century Mexican artist Rufino Tamayo. It was Three People, a 1970 masterpiece that was stolen 20 years ago. The painting depicted a man, a woman, and an androgynous figure in a mixture of yellow, purple, and orange tones. The canvas had a proud value of $1 million.

Employees accidentally stole $5 million worth of diamonds.

J. Birnbach jewelry store in Manhattan, New York (Image to the left), diamonds. Image credits: William C. Lopez via, Shutterstock

What do you do when you find a treasure trove of diamonds? Most of us would try to sell them. So did the security guard who was caught trying to sell $5 million worth of diamonds on the black market. In 2015, employees at the J. Birnbach jewelry store in Manhattan, New York, accidentally threw away a treasure trove of valuable diamonds worth more than $5 million. When the business moved to a new floor, employees accidentally threw away the diamonds, which were in battered boxes.

During a trash pickup, a security guard, Wilfred Martinez, discovered the gems. The three wooden boxes had ended up in a trash pile when Martinez found them. He sold them for $74,000 in the same building where he found them. After reviewing surveillance footage, police arrested the 48-year-old security guard and charged him with criminal possession of the stolen property.

Platinum, one of the most valuable metals, was dumped to the bottom of the ocean hundreds of years ago.

Image is used for representational purposes only. Image credit: Shutterstock

Platinum is one of the most expensive and rare metals in the world. Today, platinum jewelry can cost a fortune, as a single ounce of platinum sells for about $1,400. It is worth about three times as much as gold jewelry and 42 times as much as silver jewelry. When the Spanish first discovered platinum in South America in the 16th century, they thought it was undiscovered gold. Platinum had a similar density and was difficult to melt. Platinum soon became a gold mine for counterfeiters. They used platinum primarily to produce counterfeit gold coins that were difficult to distinguish from real gold coins.

Shortly after the discovery and use of platinum for counterfeiting, Spain fell into an economic crisis, and the Spanish currency was in dire need of rehabilitation. To combat this growing problem, the Spanish came up with the solution of dumping the entire country’s platinum into the sea. According to the Royal Decree of 1735, all the platinum seized from counterfeiters was thrown into the sea. Little did the Spaniards know that only about 100 years later platinum itself would become the rarest and most expensive metal in the world. But it was too late for the enormous wealth that was lost at the bottom of the sea.


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