With Halloween around the corner, there’s something about October that makes us want to explore our kooky, spooky side. It’s as if we suddenly have permission to be playful and push the envelope a bit more than usual. We can have fun with such existential questions like “Who do we want to be if we weren’t who we are now?” or “What are we afraid of?”
It’s the season of embracing the quirky, frightful, and fun -- whether it’s sharing ghost stories around the campfire, concocting an epic costume, or catching up on weird news in your news feed. There’s so much mystery and intrigue out there in the big wide world! And this is the perfect time of year to step outside the routine, and have a little fun and embrace it.
At Your Austin Storage, we’re certainly all for that! We’re a family who loves to have fun, and no matter the time of year it’s always entertaining for us to follow stories about the weirder side of the storage industry — like the treasures that get discovered in storage unit auctions. Believe us, we’ve seen and heard it all! ‘Tis the season, so from the absurd to absolutely phenomenal finds, we thought it would be fun to share some of our favorites. We’ve even included a couple more eerie ones at the end of our list to really get you in the Spooktober spirit!
Amelia Earhart Photos
Diane Brown was cleaning out a storage unit she’d purchased at auction when she came across a manila envelope. At first she thought it was just old papers but it was even better: a selection of priceless, never-before-published photos of Amelia Earhart, the famous female pilot who died while attempting to fly around the world in 1937. Each of the 18 photos was valued at $1,000!
Back in 2011, a storage unit that was bought for around $400 was discovered to contain an incredible $24,000 in cash. This occasionally happens with storage unit auctions. The bizarre twist here, though, is that whoever had owned the unit before had drilled the faces out of the middle of the bills. But! As it turns out, the US Treasury surprisingly will accept faceless bills as long as the serial numbers are intact! So, there was a happy ending to the story in that the lucky new owner was still left with a tidy sum of money. Great trivia for your next party, too!
Pirate Chest Stuffed with Real Gold Coins
It’s probably a no-brainer that we’d follow the TV show, Storage Wars. Also in 2011, the show’s stars and storage auctioneers Dan and Laura Dotson made big news when they sold a storage unit for $1,100. They had no clue what was inside. Turns out that the storage unit contained an antique pirate chest literally stuffed with 16th-century Spanish coins worth a whopping $500,000!
James Bond’s Lotus Esprit Submarine Car
We’ve featured this item in our social media posts before but it is worth including here because it’s such a great story. This custom Lotus Esprit submarine car was featured in the 1977 James Bond movie The Spy Who Loved Me. Somewhere along the way, it was dumped in an obscure storage unit on Long Island, where it remained for years.
In a 1989 storage auction, it was snapped up for a song at just $100, but it wasn’t until 2013 that the owner realized its true value and significance. Later that year, the vehicle was auctioned. The winning bidder? None other than billionaire Elon Musk at the price of $751,000!
The First-Ever Superman Comic
A few years ago, a storage auction winner hit the jackpot when the storage locker was found to house a near-mint condition copy of Action Comics #1, the very first Superman comic, worth about $1 million.
The comic book, stolen from Hollywood actor Nicholas Cage’s home 11 years earlier, went on to sell for $2.16 million! Mr. Cage described the comic’s surfacing years later as an act of ‘divine providence.’
Burt Reynolds’ Movie Memories
TV and movie actor Burt Reynolds was known for being a bit of a hoarder of his own movie memorabilia -- so much so that it led him to decide to store all of his collection in a very large storage unit.
For some odd reason, Mr. Reynolds failed to keep current with his storage unit payments, so his memorabilia was eventually auctioned off. Inside the unit was every storage hunter’s dream:
The canoe from Deliverance
A Smokey and the Bandit toy car
A full-size horse carriage built by Dolly Parton (!)
A chair made entirely out of hockey sticks from his movie Mystery, Alaska
A bill of sale for beloved horse Trigger, who once belonged to Roy Rogers
The last can of Stick ‘Em adhesive used by former Oakland Raiders wide receiver Fred Biletnikoff
Letters and photos from friends and co-stars
The list goes on…
In fact, there was so much stuff that the bidders later banded together to open up the Burt Reynolds Friends Museum in Jupiter, Florida!
And in honor of Halloween, a couple of the more creepy storage unit finds:
Former Medical Examiner’s Hobby Revealed
Some poor soul bought the contents of a storage unit belonging to former medical examiner Dr. Michael Berkland. We bet you can see what’s coming! The ‘lucky’ bidder discovered in storage 10 brains, as well as other body parts like lungs, hearts, and tissue samples. Upon further research, it was learned that the body parts were harvested during private autopsies performed inside funeral homes in Florida. After an investigation, Dr. Berkland was charged with improper storage of hazardous waste. You can read all the details over at CBSNews.com.
We’ve saved the truly bizarre for last. The matriarch of a large, extended family in Florida made a macabre deathbed confession: Her deceased mother was not buried at a cemetery, as most of the extended family believed. Instead, she had been stored in a bright blue coffin in a family storage unit!
Seventeen years later, when the family was notified that the storage unit was going to be auctioned off due to delinquent payments, the adult daughter to whom the matriarch made the deathbed confession revealed her mother’s secret. (Yep, this means that the adult daughter did nothing with this news when originally told!)
Once the news was out, and as you may suspect, authorities got involved. An investigation revealed nothing overly suspicious about the death….although we’ll let you be the judge. You can read the full story over in this Tampa Bay Times article. We can definitely file this one under life being (way) stranger than fiction!
Did You Know that Your Austin Storage Holds Storage Auctions?
Every so often, we’ll hold our own storage auctions for abandoned storage units. It’s standard industry practice. And while you may stumble across some unique finds, you won’t find anything like the last two stories we shared!
Our next storage auction will be in late November. Call our office for more details if you’re interested!
Are You Looking for Easy, Safe, and Convenient Storage Near You in Austin?
Your Austin Storage is a recognized leader in self-storage in Austin and our community, with convenient locations all around Austin’s hubs at Pond Springs, Mopac, and Ben White Boulevard. Your Austin Storage is a family-owned and operated company, proudly offering reliable, affordable and safe self-storage options to service Austin and the surrounding areas for more than 30 years. We provide families, students, and businesses with safe, clean, and affordable options to meet their needs. Whether you need space for a short time during a move or climate control for longer rentals or priceless family heirlooms, our reputation speaks for itself with the largest number of returning customers. Call us today and find out why we’re Austin’s favorite storage!