Scottsdale man pays $20 for storage-unit content, finds pricey antiques

Oct 17, 2018, 3:01 PM | Updated: Oct 18, 2018, 7:09 am
Buyer Don Smith, right, and Eric Hoyer of EJ's Auction and Consignment in Glendale show off Smith's...
Buyer Don Smith, right, and Eric Hoyer of EJ's Auction and Consignment in Glendale show off Smith's winning storage-unit bid. (EJ's Auctions Photo)
(EJ's Auctions Photo)

PHOENIX — A suburban Phoenix man who spent $20 to buy of a storage unit could end up making over $10,000 at auction, after discovering documents signed by two American presidents and other collectibles.

Don Smith of Scottsdale bought the container a few weeks ago in Peoria. “It didn’t look like much – just a bunch of files and Christmas decorations,” he said, according to an email from EJ’s Auction and Consignment.

The company will handle the sale that starts with an online preview Wednesday.

In-person bidding begins Friday at 6 p.m. at the Glendale company, near 59th Avenue and Bell Road.

He could smell the antiques when the unit’s door was opened, he said. Bidders weren’t let inside the container.

“When I was a kid, my mother would take us antiquing. There’s a smell to it, and I knew there would be some valuable pieces inside,” Smith said.

Eventually, he found two letters signed by President Herbert Hoover, invitations to the White House from President Warren G. Harding, an invitation to the groundbreaking of the Golden Gate Bridge in San Francisco, currency dating to the Civil War and a pocket watch circa 1887, among other items.

Auction owner Erik Hoyer said in the press release all together the pieces from the unit could bring in $10,000 or more.

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Scottsdale man pays $20 for storage-unit content, finds pricey antiques