If you’ve ever seen Storage Wars, you know that people will hold on to just about anything. But the buyers of these auctioned-off storage units got more than they bargained for. From valuable collectibles to body parts, you just never know what you might find.
After the comic book—titled “Action Comics No. 1” and worth $1M—was stolen from actor Nicolas Cage in 2000, it turned up in a storage unit in Southern California 11 years later. Though the potential payday was a big one for the new owner, the comic book was returned to its rightful owner.
The buyer of a Florida storage unit got quite a shock after discovering the embalmed body of a 95-year-old woman. The woman’s daughter could not afford to have the body transferred, so this grandmother was kept inside the storage unit—perhaps for as many as 17 years.
After his leg was amputated following a plane crash, the former owner of this North Carolina storage locker stored the limb in a BBQ smoker so that he could one day be buried a whole man. It proved to be a grisly surprise for the buyer of the unit. While a custody battle for the leg ensued, it was eventually returned to its owner.
The storage unit, auctioned off in 2006 for around $300, contained the band’s first royalty check for $990, handwritten scores for hits like “Good Vibrations,” personal photos and letters, and dozens of signed contracts. After a lengthy 8 year court battle, the contents were sold as one unit for somewhere in the neighbourhood of $10M.
The buyer of this storage unit struck gold—literally—after stumbling upon a Rubbermaid container full of 1,700 gold doubloons. The unit cost a pretty penny at $1,100, but this $500,000 discovery made it worthwhile.
A New York contractor got a bit of a shock when the storage unit he purchased contained the famous submarine car from The Spy Who Loved Me, complete with no wheels and a dented roof. A bargain buy at less than $100, the car was auctioned off in 2013 and purchased by Elon Musk for nearly $1M.
Storage units offer a glimpse into someone else’s life. While most units are fairly mundane, once in a while something especially shocking or valuable comes along and shakes things up.
 Susanna Kim, “Actor Nicolas Cage’s $1M Stolen ‘Superman’ Comic Resurfaces 11 Years Later,” http://abcnews.go.com/Business/nicolas-cages-stolen-comic-book-found-11-years/story?id=13356779
 Michael Sheridan, “Hoarder kept her 95-year-old mother’s body in storage unit: family,” http://www.nydailynews.com/news/national/hoarder-95-year-old-mother-body-florida-storage-unit-family-article-1.1013665
 Fox News, “Custody battle ensues over leg found in barbecue smoker,” http://www.foxnews.com/story/2007/10/01/custody-battle-ensues-over-leg-found-in-barbecue-smoker.html
 John Reppion, “5 most valuable storage locker finds,” http://www.history.co.uk/shows/storage-wars/articles/5-most-valuable-storage-locker-finds
 RJ Cubarrubia, “Lost Beach Boys Memorabilia Up for Auction,” http://www.rollingstone.com/music/news/lost-beach-boys-memorabilia-up-for-auction-20130419
 Aaron Sankin, “’Storage Wars’ Stars Unknowingly Sell Locker Filled With Half A Million Dollars In Pirate Booty,” http://www.huffingtonpost.ca/entry/storage-wars-stars-sell-locker-filled-with-pirate-booty_n_1095325
 Stuart Dredge, “Tesla founder Elon Musk buys James Bond’s Lotus Esprit submarine car,” https://www.theguardian.com/technology/2013/oct/18/tesla-elon-musk-james-bond-lotus-submarine-car