Top 10 Discoveries That Made Normal People Millionaires

To become a millionaire from nothing, you have to be really very talented or very lucky. There are plenty of people who have made discoveries by chance and who have become very rich and we would like the same thing to happen to us. All that remains is to buy a metal detector and arm yourself with patience…

1. The fisherman who found 30kg of whale vomit

In September 2021, a Thai fisherman made a fruitful discovery on the beach near his home: 30kg of whale vomit which he was able to resell for one million US dollars. In fact, this substance secreted by the digestive system of whales is called ambergris and it is a material highly coveted by perfumers. It can blend and is used to fix the perfume and make the smell last longer. Thanks to this find, the fisherman was able to retire.

2. Teenagers who discovered a house full of old rooms

While playing in an abandoned house in Pennsylvania, children found several old coins on the floor near a hole in the wall. When they told their parents, they decided to break down the wall (they thought they were at home apparently) and hundreds of coins hidden in the wall fell. Instead of leaving them in their place, they simply decided to take them for themselves and they started digging them full: several of these old pieces were worth at least $200,000.

3. The chemist who discovered strong glue

Okay, it’s not really everyman since Harry Coover was a chemist, but this gentleman still invented something really useful by chance and it made him very, very rich. While developing new materials to perfect pistol sights, Coover discovered cyanoacrylate, a very strong type of glue that is still used today.

4. An early copy of the Declaration of Independence found behind a painting

In 1776 the United States Declaration of Independence was signed and 200 copies were printed to bring the message to the nation. Today, very few copies have survived and one of them was found in 1990 completely by chance. A man who had bought an old painting to recover the frame found one of the lost copies in perfect condition and sold it for $2.42 million at auction.

5. The guy who found a $1 million painting by chance

In 1999, a gentleman was playing quietly with an art board game and found that one of the paintings printed on the cards looked quite similar to a painting he had at home that he had bought for hide a hole in his wall. He did well to ask the question since his painting was in fact one of the lost works of Martin Johnson Heade, a well-known American artist. The work was bought by the Houston Museum for the price of one million dollars.

6. A man who found gold while searching for his hammer

In 1992, a farmer was quietly working in his field when he realized that he had lost his hammer while plowing the earth. He then asked a friend to come and help him look for it with his metal detector. Nice as hell, his friend came ashore and started digging when his phone rang. Instead of the hammer, the latter found 27kg of gold and silver coins and objects believed to date from the Roman conquest of Britain. In compensation for his discovery, the British government offered him $2.5 million which he shared with his fellow farmer (who ended up finding his hammer).

7. The teenager who invented popsicle

In 1905, Frank Epperson was 11 years old and living in San Francisco. One evening he leaves a mixture of water and soda powder outside in a bowl with a stirrer and the next day he realizes that the mixture has frozen and turned into ice cream with a stick. 20 years later, he finally files a patent to protect his invention and calls it Popsicle. He then sold the company to Unilever and today Popsicle is a brand known to all Americans. The word Popsicle is even used as a common name for popsicles.

8. The guy who found a Roman helmet and sold it for $3.6 million

In 2010, a farmer found another treasure with a metal detector in Britain. This time it was a ceremonial Roman helmet in bronze and the advantage for whoever found it is that this type of object is not considered a national treasure and can be sold to a collector private. The farmer did not hesitate and sold it at auction for 3.6 million dollars.

Top 10 Discoveries That Made Normal People Millionaires
Photo credits (CC BY 2.0): Portable Antiquities Scheme from London, England

9. A man found one of the last Fabergé eggs at a flea market.

Among the world’s best-known lost works of art are quite a few Fabergé eggs; these treasures of the Romanov family partly disappeared after the Russian Revolution. In 2014, an American found one of the most sought-after eggs at a flea market and thought it was worth investing $14,000 to melt it down and recover the gold and gems. After some research on the internet, the man realized that people were ready to pay several million for his find.

10. A man who kept a precious stone for 14 years

While quietly doing his work, a man employed to work at the mine found a particularly pretty shiny stone and decided to take it home as a souvenir. 14 years later he showed it to a specialist out of curiosity and learned that it was a very rare black opal worth at least $3 million. And to think that she stayed 14 years on a sideboard next to family photos…