When a family member or loved one passes away, they’ll often leave behind inheritances to specific people in their wills. Sometimes that could mean their money, but other times it can be objects like cars or houses.
In fact, every once in a while, people could find themselves with some truly unusual inheritances that they never thought they’d own. Check out the surprising inheritances that changed the lives of these 20 people…
1. 200,000 pieces of jewelry from classic Hollywood films: Eugene Joseff spent decades creating jewelry for some of the most famous stars of old Hollywood, including Shirley Temple, Elizabeth Taylor, and Vivian Leigh (seen here). When he passed away, his family inherited the collection, and selling just 500 pieces earned them $2 million!
2. 40 restored vintage pianos: Lloyd Boyd was 78 years old with no piano-playing ability whatsoever when his younger brother passed away and left his collection to him, which in total is worth roughly $50,000!
3. 50 restored classic cars: Cal Phillips was a farmer in Idaho who amassed a stunning vehicle collection over his lifetime, which he would restore and customize himself. His children are now selling them off to other passionate collectors.
4. 200 different reptiles: Karel Fortyn of Welland, Canada didn’t leave behind a will when he passed away in 2011, leading to an unusual legal case in which there was some confusion as to who would be given his collection of lizards, snakes, and crocodiles. The Indian River and Reptile zoo eventually provided homes from the animals.
5. $50,000 Jeans: since these 44-inch waist jeans were originally made in 1893, they’re pretty much the definition of “vintage,” and may even be worth as much as $100,000! The pair was inherited by the descendants of Solomon Warner, who first bought them for just about $1.25.
6. A nearly $4.3 million Bugatti from 1937: Bugattis are typically considered highly prized cars in the first place, but this one that was inherited by one lucky family in England after being mysteriously left in a garage for over 50 years.
7. 250,000 ancient arrowheads: Moon and Irene Mullins, a married couple in North Carolina, started to cultivate this massive collection in the 1930s. It was so valuable, with some arrowheads dating back 12,000 years, that even John Wayne tried to buy it from them!
8. 33,000 autographs from celebrities: Tampa, Florida-based actor Juan Carlos Saucedo-Campos inherited the largest collection of autographs in the world from his friend Jack Kuster, and has no interest in selling it anytime soon even though it is valued at over $1,000,000!
9. A 1923 Ford Model T: Petaluma, California resident Manuel Oliveira left this once-wildly popular vehicle to his grandson, and it’s still in working condition thanks to maintenance and numerous repairs throughout the decades.
10. 700 baseball cards: In 2012, Karl Kissner of Defiance, Ohio found about $3,000,000 worth of vintage baseball cards, some dating as far back as 1910, just from wandering around his late grandfather’s attic!
11. $7 million worth of gold coins: Arlene Magdanz was a substitute teacher in California who was astonished to discover that she was the only surviving relative of her deceased cousin, who despite only having $200 in his bank account, had a fortune that he was hoarding in his home!
Jeremy Schultz / Flickr
12. A winery for an eight-year-old: Pascal Brooks may have still not have been older than single digits, but his father left his winery to him, and sadly died when he was just 38 years old. Luckily, his aunt stepped in to help, but as an adult now the family business is running fine!
13. A house full of gold: Inheriting an entire home is usually nice enough in its own right, but when one man in France, who preferred to remain anonymous, investigated a house a deceased relative left to him, he discovered 110 pounds of gold!
14. A railcar from an amusement park: Astroworld is an amusement park located right next to the famous Houston Astrodome, and one of its most notable features was this luxury railcar. When the owner sold all his assets, the railcar was left in storage for decades until he passed away and left it to his son!
15. Bonnie Parker’s ring: No, the infamous gangsters Bonnie and Clyde didn’t have a long-lost child. Instead, this ring went to the descendants of the sheriff credited with capturing them, who went on to auction it off for $20,000.
16. “The Ultimate Man Cave:” Ric Forestiere inherited this “subterranean world” in Fresno, California from his father, who dug the tunnels himself, which extend over 20 acres of hidden rooms and gardens!
17. A $1 million train set: Dallas, Texas resident Steve Sanders invested a great deal of his own time and money into creating this breathtaking model, and now it belongs to his daughter, Stephanie, who has yet to sell it.
18. Vintage dresses: some people leave their wardrobes in their inheritance, but could you imagine opening your deceased loved ones’ closets to find original dresses by the likes of Christian Dior or Coco Chanel? Some were worth $50,000.
19. 30,000 model cars: obviously, real cars can be quite a valuable inheritance, but so can toys under the right circumstances. One man had a massive collection that he left for his local church, and they believe it may be worth a six figure sum!
20. The world’s largest record collection: Ken Perkins left almost 80,000 records to his daughter, Natalie, in 2018, and she immediately started looking into how much it may be worth. Considering how much history is in there, though, it might take a while!
21. 5,000 dolls: John Wall inherited these vintage toys from his deceased mother, a teacher, who used to ask the young men she taught to send back dolls for her from wherever they were deployed when they went off to fight overseas.
ClemRutter / Wikimedia Commons
22. 7,000 bones: before he passed away at the age of 90, Ray Bandar spent 60 years as a scientist who collected the bones of different animals as part of his research. They were inherited by his great-nephew.
23. Expensive oil paintings: While cleaning up their house in upstate New York, Don and Phyllis Camp found an old oil painting that Don inherited from his mother in 1990. They finally decided to get it appraised, and realized it was an original from the influential artist Victor Higgins valued in the millions!
24. 13,000 pieces of clown merchandise: Richard Levine inherited a warehouse in Davie, Florida from his deceased father-in-law, Jack “Clown Jackey” Kline, where the veteran clown kept more clown dolls, toys, and other memorabilia than most people could imagine. He has yet to get the collection appraised, but he already considers it priceless!
25. A $675,000 1967 Corvette Stingray: A man inherited this prized sports car from his father, a Vietnam War veteran who had originally purchased it for himself after returning home from fighting overseas.
Whether these people decided to keep prized family heirlooms or sell them for a fortune, you don’t see inheritances like this typically. Who knows what will happen to them next?
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