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They're not all as big as The Uncle Sam Diamond, but maybe you'll get lucky. Mental Floss: 10 diamond-encrusted things you don't need If getting your hands dirty isn't your idea of fun, maybe you should start hitting garage sales and thrift stores to find valuables buried among the castoff bread machines and Members Only jackets. Michael Sparks was visiting a Nashville thrift store, where he bought a candleholder, a set of salt and pepper shakers, and a yellowed print of the Declaration of Independence.

Sometimes, one man's trash really is another man's treasure. The Declaration of (financial) Independence We've all heard of the man who bought a painting at a garage sale, found an original copy of the Declaration of Independence inside, and sold it for .4 million. Sparks figured the document was a worthless, modern reprint, so he paid the asking price -- .48 -- and headed home.

Some years later he was playing a board game called Masterpiece in which players attempt to outbid one another for artwork at an auction.

Much to his surprise, one of the cards in the game featured a painting of flowers that looked a lot like the one he had on his wall.

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It took a year for Sparks to have the print authenticated and preserved, and then he put it up for auction, netting a final sale price of 7,650.

If you're in need of some quick cash, here are six stories of people who found a fortune when -- and where -- they least expected it. Lose a hammer, find a horde In November 1992, a farmer living near the village of Hoxne in Suffolk, England, lost a hammer in one of his fields, so he asked Eric Lawes to use his metal detector to search for it.

While looking for the hammer, Lawes happened upon something else of interest -- 24 bronze coins, 565 gold coins, 14,191 silver coins, plus hundreds of gold and silver spoons, jewelry, and statues, all dating back to the Roman Empire.

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