The Beach Boys Paperwork
A unit listed as containing “documents and papers” indeed contained documents and papers. Specifically, $10 million worth of The Beach Boys’ contracts, lyrics, music and royalty checks. The band sued, but the auction winners retained ownership and resold the entire collection.
Apparently, Burt Reynolds is a hoarder. For somebody else, it pays when Reynolds forgets his storage unit rent. The canoe, arrows and jacket from the movie Deliverance made their home at the now defunct Burt Reynolds museum.
Michael Jordan Letters
Two recruitment letters for basketball star and Space Jam champion Michael Jordan were found in North Carolina. Why Carolina? The letters came from UNC head coach Dean Smith and assistant Bill Guthridge. Bidding started at $5,000 and $2,500 respectively.
Dikembe Motumbo Collection
The basketball star and humanitarian leader’s brother fell behind on rent while visiting the Congo on family business. The winner reached out to Motumbo, but did not hear back. The collection included photos with Nelson Mandela and Michael Jackson.
Michael Jackson Tracks and Photos
Unfortunately, this wasn’t a case of someone simply stumbling upon amazing treasure. One of the Jacksons’ business partners bought up a delinquent unit when the family went bankrupt in 1999. After the singer’s death, Michael Jackson’s estate sued for the rights to the material and won.
Given the prominent role of pop culture, I expect more valuable pieces of celebrity memorabilia will be found in storage units. If you find a treasure, you’ll first want to make sure it’s authentic. Then, see what similar items sell for on reputable dealer sites.