Most of us are familiar with those third-party apps that promise you instant likes, huge amounts of followers, and overnight fame on Instagram. Some of us may have even used them for a number of different reasons in the past. However, the Facebook-owned company has just declared that they plan on using Artificial Intelligence or Machine Learning to help identify, track, and ultimately stop fake accounts and users that are generated through these applications in the near future.
While it may be true that most of us have only used applications like this to improve the initial appearance of our Instagram accounts, the truth is that a lot of companies are utilizing services like this in unfair practices or, as we’ve noticed in recent times, for more disruptive reasons. The move has largely been inspired by the pressure that has been placed on Facebook and other Social Media platforms like Twitter, Youtube, and the like to crack down on fake accounts and rampant online trolling.
And no, that doesn’t mean that the government wants to stop you from posting that annoying comment or from making a fool of yourself online (if you want to), but rather to prevent the spread of well co-ordinated trolling operations that spread misinformation or inspire hate speech and divisive discourse.
Since August of this year, Instagram has already added a few simple steps to increase authenticity on their platforms such as two-factor verification processes and easier access to verified account settings. However, this will be one of the first times that we’ll get a chance to see how well machine learning does at identifying fake accounts on an app that we’re more used to using on a daily basis. Technology like this has already been implemented on platforms like Facebook and there’s no doubt that they’ll be getting better and better at it in future.
People Who Discovered Their Junk Was Actually Worth A Fortune
Michael Jordan’s Shoes
For a basketball fan, getting the shoes of Michael Jordan is a thing of dreams, and finding them unexpectedly is even more thrilling. This was the case of Larry Awe, who was a staff member at the Capitol Court Mall in Milwaukee. Awe was cleaning up the storage room before its demolition and found a pair of sneakers that belonged to Michael Jordan. He saw Jordan’s signature on one of the shoes and instantly knew he had struck gold. The shoes are worth about $20,000.
Purchased in 1970 for less than $100, this Rhode Island woman had a plate designed by Picasso in her possession without realizing it. She had the plate hanging above her stove for many years, until 2014 when she discovered its real origins. She went to appraise the plate on Antique Roadshow, a TV show when she learned that her plate was really a Madoura plate designed by Picasso in 1955. The plate is worth $10,000.
The Declaration of Independence
This is a case of a financial analyst living up to the expectation of getting value for his money, even though it was unintended. In 1989, this man bought a painting at a flea market for around $4, without knowing the Declaration of Independence was stuffed into the canvas. He discovered the document after a while, and it turned out to be an original. In 1991, the document was sold for $2.42 million.
Andy Warhol’s Sketch
Garage sales are known for strange and funny junk, so you must be really lucky to find an item worth a fortune. This was the case for Andy Fields, who bought five sketches at a garage sale in Las Vegas. Fields paid $5 for these sketches and did not think much of them when purchasing them, even though the seller told him they were original Andy Warhol sketches. Fields ended up framing one of the sketches and discovered the signature of Andy Warhol on the back. This sketch is valued at over $2 million, a gift from one Andy to another Andy.
This woman noticed the striking resemblance which an Egyptian jar and her garden ornament shared and decided to have it checked out. Her intuition was right, as the Egyptian jar and garden ornaments were one and the same. The jar which was created between 1550 and 1069 BC was built with a structure to hold a human liver. Due to the damage which the jar had, it was worth around £1000. Still a fair price for a garden ornament.
In 1998, McDonald’s released a limited edition product called the Szechuan Sauce, as part of a promotion for Disney animated flick Mulan. As expected, the sauce went out of circulation after promotion for the movie had ended. However, the sauce was mentioned in the third season of popular animated sci-fi series Rick and Morty in 2017, and this revived public interest in Szechuan Sauce. Some families who still had the sauce in their possession made a small fortune off it, with one jug going for $15,350.
The Expensive Painting
A woman living in France decided to sell her house and got the pleasant surprise of discovering that her kitchen painting was actually worth a fortune. She had an auctioneer over to appraise her belongings when the auctioneer discovered her lovely kitchen painting was actually a 13th Century masterpiece. Named Christ Mocked, it was one of the most popular works of Cimabue and one of the paintings which depicted the crucifixion of Jesus. The painting is worth over $6 million, and to think it was just hung up above her hot plate!
The Chess Piece
A part of a medieval chessboard, this chess piece was discovered in Britain. The medieval chessboard which is made of walrus ivory turned up on the Isle of Lewis in 1831, with five of its pieces missing. One of the five pieces was discovered in 2019 when a British family bought a new house in Edinburgh. Apparently, the piece was purchased by the grandfather of the family for a mere $6. The piece, which was later recognized by the staff of the new house, is said to be worth $1.2 million. Perhaps the remaining four pieces are also sitting in private residences around the world.
Gamers would love this item, as old games have a special allure. This old Nintendo game was discovered by Scott Amos while cleaning out his childhood house. The game he found is an unopened Nintendo Kid Icarus game, which originally cost $38.45 when it was purchased. However due to time and the perfect condition in which he found the game, it would go for about $10,000.
Painting In The Attic
Another painting found in France, this time found in an attic rather than hanging in the kitchen. This time the painting was found in Toulouse. This painting which was found amidst clothing, toys, and clocks is an original painting by Caravaggio, an Italian Renaissance artist. The painting, just like Christ Mocked, is based on a biblical event and tells the tale of Judith and Holofernes in the Old Testament. The painting is worth up to $171 million. Not bad at all for an attic piece.
Not A Fake
Not many are as lucky as this lady who purchased a fake diamond ring which turned out to be an original. She came across the ring at the West Middlesex Hospital and paid just $13 for it. After wearing it regularly for about 30 years, it was not until 2017 that she discovered the diamond in the ring was in fact 26-carats. The ring ended up being sold in an auction for a whopping sum of $800,000. Quite a profit made, one must say.
Cars in The Barn
If you know how expensive and desirable vintage cars are, you should be able to imagine the excitement this duo must have felt after discovering these cars. The cars were found in a 100-year old barn somewhere in France where they were stored by Roger Baillon. The cars are certainly worth over $18 million. It seems France is the best place to find expensive junk.
Apollo 11 Artifact
NASA is an institution known to be quite daring with their projects, striving to be as precise as possible on every mission. This is why the auctioning of an Apollo 11 artifact for a mere $995 is very surprising. The artifact is a sample of moon dust that Buzz Aldrin and Neil Armstrong collected after their iconic moonwalk in 1969. After NASA mistakenly auctioned it off in 2016 to Nancy Carlson for just $995, she went on to sell it for much more in 2017 at a New York auction.
A Painting For The Hole
Yet another painting on the list, this time discovered in the United States of America and not France. The owner of this painting had purchased it alongside some furniture, and paid a very small amount for them. He used the painting to cover a hole in the wall of his house, until the day he came across a piece of art with a very similar print while playing the game Masterpiece. He ended up selling the piece to the Museum of Fine Arts in Houston for $1.25 million. Safe to say, Masterpiece helped him discover a masterpiece.
Billy the Kid
A collector, Randy Guijarro, purchased a 4-by-5 inch picture of Billy the Kid at a junk shop for just $2. The picture, which Guijarro found in a cardboard box, showed Billy the Kid playing croquet with his family, friends, and associates in 1878. This piece turned out to be one of the only two genuine images of him that existed. In 2010, the picture was appraised and was confirmed to be worth $5 million.
The Royal Gem
A woman named Thea Jourdan purchased a brooch from a junk shop for about $27.56. She gifted the brooch to her daughter, Imogen, who wore it several times pretending to be a princess. What Imogen did not know was that she actually had a piece royalty on her, as the brooch was in fact an early 19th-century royal gem. The gem, which could have been part of a tiara or necklace, is a 20-carat topaz stone worth $5,513.
A Picture of Jesse James
In 2017, Jason Whiting came across a picture that greatly resembled Jesse James on eBay, and made a decision to purchase it for around $10. Purchasing the photo turned out to be one of the best decisions he made. Will Dunniway, a photo expert, identified the picture as an image of 14-year-old Jesse James. The picture is worth up to $2 million.
The Renoir Painting
This lady bought a Pierre-Auguste Renoir painting from a flea market, but was only concerned about the frame. A painting which she found in a box of trinkets, she put the gold frame to use, while putting the painting away in her attic. After her mother cleaned the attack, she persuaded her daughter to take the painting for an appraisal at an auction house. It was there she discovered that it was indeed an 1879 painting by Renoir, which was worth up to $100,000.
World’s Largest Pearl
During a fishing expedition, a Filipino man struck what turned out to be the largest pearl in the world. The pearl weighs 75 pounds, is 2.2 feet long and 1 foot wide. The man simply kept the pearl as a good luck token, keeping it under his bed. It was until a fire destroyed his house that the pearl was discovered. The pearl, which he ended up entrusting to his aunt, is estimated to be worth up to $100 million.
Winston Churchill’s Belongings
Having worked at a garbage dump for 15 years, David Rose would not have expected to come across the belongings of former British Prime Minister Winston Churchill at his work station. Rose came across a collection of letters, a top hat as well as a cigar. He took these items to Antique Roadshow, where he learned that they were really items belonging to Winston Churchill. The items were valued at $13,000.
Meteorite at the Door
In Michigan, a man used a meteorite as a doorstop for more than 30 years. He claimed to have gotten the stone when he purchased farmland in 1998, with the meteorite coming as a gift with the farm. He took the meteorite to be examined at the Central Michigan University, where geology professor Mona Sirbescu examined it. The meteorite was described by Sirbescu as one of the most valuable specimens he had ever come across. It was estimated to be worth about $100,000.
The fortunes of Loren Krystzer changed when he discovered that his family heirloom was actually an original Navajo blanket. He was watching Antique Roadshow one day, when he saw a blanket that was valued at $500,000. Noticing the striking resemblance to his own blanket, Krystzer had his blanket appraised at an auction house, and it turned out it was the same blanket he saw. The blanket ended up being sold for $1.5 million.
John Constable’s Painting
It appears that paintings are among the most underappreciated items. Purchased for £30 at an auction, this small painting by the English painter John Constable was stored away in a cupboard for almost a decade. It was however examined by an antique dealer, who confirmed that it was indeed a John Constable piece and was worth up to $400,000. Time to check your cupboards for what might be antique items.
It turns out this woman never got to know the value of her junk. The person in question dropped off her computer at Goodwill, after concluding it was not useful or worth anything. She did not even leave her name behind, showing that she just wanted to get rid of the computer. Upon seeing the computer, workers at the store realized that it was actually an Apple 1 computer, a device worth $200,000. The owner never came back to claim it, even after the store offered to give her half of the computer’s worth.
Zach Norris struck gold when he came across a Jaeger-LeCoultre watch while looking to purchase a cheap golf cart. He paid $5.99 for the watch, not knowing he was buying one of the best Jaeger-LeCoultre watches ever made. The watch, which he eventually sold for $35,000, has a special alarm feature for deep-sea divers. It was one of the first watches designed with this feature.
A builder paid £20,000 for 655,000 brass items, with the intention of making a profit by selling them as scrap. Calling this a good investment is a bit of an understatement, as the items turned out to be worth at least £2 million. While sorting the items, he realized that some of the items, particularly the doorknobs, resembled vintage pieces. He appraised them and his suspicion was confirmed.
Another case of metal scrap which was in reality worth a fortune. This time it turned out to be a Faberge egg. This egg was purchased by a scrap metal dealer at a flea market, and he paid $14,000 for it. However, he soon found out that it was a Faberge egg, one of the only 50 produced for Russian royalty in the 19th Century. The Faberge egg is worth up to $20 million.
This woman got a box of jewelry as part of her inventions and did not know the worth until she appraised it on Antique Roadshow. The box contained a diamond bracelet with rubies, a dual diamond pendant, as well as a diamond and ruby ring. The diamond bracelet was worth $165,000, the dual diamond pendant worth $12,000 and the diamond and ruby ring were valued at $80,000.
Cash in the Closet
A caretaker was lucky enough to find cash in the closet of an apartment. He found the cash in a paper bag with the money amounting to $400,000. That is not the best part of his discovery, as the cash he found was the currency used in the Depression era, therefore giving it more value in modern times. The $400,000 in modern-day currency is worth over $50 million.
This is not an heirloom, but it is sure worth a small fortune. This elderly woman got a Cherokee Satchel which her great-grandfather had owned. She had it appraised in 2014, and learned that it was an 1846 Cherokee Satchel. The worth of the satchel is a sizable amount of $145,000.
Violin in the Trash
A man found a violin the trash and got a pleasant surprise when he discovered that it was a unique piece. After finding the violin in the trash, he decided that there was no harm in getting it appraised. Good thinking one must say, as it turned out the violin was made by the popular Italian violin maker, Giuseppe Pedrazzini. Thankfully, the violin was still in good condition when he found it, therefore having a high worth of $50,000.
A man purchased an item known as a libation cup from an Australian thrift shop in 2013, paying $4 for it. After a while, it was discovered that the libation cup was actually a traditional Chinese artifact. This artifact was made from rhino horn and had been around for quite a while, giving it a high value. The man sold the libation cup for around $60,000.
Another item discovered at a Goodwill store, the Vertical Diamond, brought Beth Feeback some money. She went to a North Carolina Goodwill with the intention of getting a blanket, but happened to stumble upon this painting. She took a liking to the painting and purchased it. She later discovered that the painting was the work of Ilya Bolotowsky. The work is named Vertical Diamond was sold at an auction for $34,375.
The Sculptor’s Necklace
Norma Ifill purchased a necklace from a flea market in Pennsylvania, without really knowing what its worth was. The necklace was really beautiful, and she received many compliments whenever she donned it. Norma had no idea what the origin of the necklace was, until she attended an exhibit hosted by Alexander Calder at the Philadelphia Art Museum. It was there that she learned that the necklace was made by Alexander Calder. She sold the necklace for $267,750.
The James Bond Watch
James Bond is one of the most-watched and most successful movie franchises in the history of film. Therefore the props used in the movies are clearly a big deal. The wristwatch which the title character used in the 1965 release Thunderball, went missing for decades. It was put up for sale at a garage sale after resurfacing mysteriously, going for a very low price. The buyer made a big profit on the watch selling it at $163,000.
The Food Painting
Yet another painting on the list, this one was discovered in a thrift shop in Anderson, South Carolina rather than a kitchen or attic. It was spotted by an antique dealer at a thrift shop who was drawn to the frame which appeared expensive. He paid just $3 for the painting with the hope that he would be able to make more off the frame. He, however, found out that the painting was a 1650 piece which was quite valuable. It was auctioned for $190,000.
Preparation to Escape To Egypt
This is a case of buying one product and getting one free. A couch was purchased by a student in Germany from a thrift store in Berlin. A pullout couch, the student paid $215 for it. He found a tiny oil painting inside the couch and decided to investigate its origins. The painting turned out to be a piece known as Preparation to Escape to Egypt. This painting is believed to have been done between 1605 and 1620. The student sold it for $27, 630, quite a profit you would agree.
Rick Norsigian bought some glass plates in the year 2000. These plates had images of the Yosemite National Park printed on them. Rick Norsigian paid $45 for these plates but end up making a huge profit on them. It was later Norsigian got to know that these Yosemite plates were the work of Ansel Adams, a world-renowned photographer. The Yosemite plates were sold for $200 million.
Siblings, Sean and Rikki McEvoy came across a sweater in a thrift shop in Tennessee. Sean paid less than a dollar for this sweater without knowing its origin. It was until he watched a documentary based on Vince Lombardi that he realized the name of his sweater was that of the legendary American football coach. With the name tag, the sweater had great value and Sean sold it for $43,020.
It looks like Picasso left a whole of valuables in the world. Zachary Bodish spotted this poster in a thrift shop in Ohio. The poster was created for an exhibition of Picasso’s ceramic sculptures in 1958. Bodish paid $14 because it was neat enough, intending to have it for keepsake. But he had a change of heart when he discovered a signature from Picasso himself on the poster. Bodish put the poster up for sale and got $7000 for it. It seems buying from thrift shops should be taken more seriously.