10 People Who Accidentally Discovered Priceless Treasures

Archaeologists can spend their entire career searching for ancient treasures and hidden items of historical importance, yet they might never find anything. As well as copious amounts of research and hard work, one other factor is far more vital in the discovery of treasure than any other – luck. Amateur treasure hunters with metal detectors have been responsible for accidentally stumbling across some of the greatest finds of all time, finding troves that experts might not have even realized existed. In other cases, people have bought items in stores or been donated them without realizing their true value.

Declaration of Independence

Michael Sparks was at a thrift store in Nashville buying a number of items when he came across what he thought was a modern reproduction of the Declaration of Independence and decided to buy it for just $2.48. However, after looking more closely at the document at home he realized that it looked older than he had first thought and so began to investigate exactly what it was. It turned out that it was one of just 200 original and official copies of the Declaration of Independence, being only the 36th example that has been found. It was later sold at auction and achieved a price of $477,650.

The Rosetta Stone

The Rosetta Stone was essential in allowing historians to finally decipher Egyptian hieroglyphics, as it contains the same text in three different languages. Despite its huge important on the understanding of ancient Egypt though, it was found completely by accident when French soldiers on an expedition with Napoleon attempted to knock down some walls to expand a fort. The slab was then taken back to Europe where it was studied, allowing experts to translate the hieroglyphics into modern language.