As he excitedly pulled back the creaky doors or the shipping container, he was well aware that the chances of him coming across something of value were low, especially considering what the last guy ended up with.
But once he’d dug through all the trash, his eyes opened wide when he saw what was inside the case – had he really found his fortune?
Danny Owens was on his way to check out Magnum Storage’s Auction on the outskirts of town. The hard-working father-of-one from Coulby Newham, UK, was looking forward to learning all about how these auctions work, after having binge-watched reality TV shows about everyday folk finding valuable treasure by purchasing abandoned storage units for next to nothing.
But the 26-year-old had another reason to be excited that morning, one that someone was about to seriously ruin for him.
The full-time trader had been looking forward to a day off from work for months and really wanted to make the most of it once he’d cleared his schedule.
But just as the auction site was in view, he heard his phone buzzing and saw the name on the screen. It was his most difficult client. Danny’s long-anticipated day to himself was about to blow away in the wind.
The client needed a report filed ASAP – and it was more than Danny would be able to handle over the phone.
The panicked tone of his client’s voice had him turning around to abandon his well-earned day at the auction – but then he had a brainwave. There was a way he may be able to salvage his plans yet. And it all rode on one phone call.
Danny managed to get through to a freelancer who would be able to handle the report and let him continue his journey to the auction yard.
But the freelancer didn’t come cheap at such last-minute notice. Would Danny be able to stomach the steep fee to keep his day off? Or would he have to give up and solve the problem himself?
Danny decided you can’t put a price on a day of freedom, so quickly agreed to the freelancer’s rates for taking care of the problem. Feeling like he’d salvaged a piece of his sanity, he began to relax once again.
Taking in the view of the auction site, he grew more and more intrigued about what this was all about. He wondered what he’d find and if one of these containers hid something historical, ancient… or priceless. He was about to find out.
By the time Danny parked and took a quick look around, he’d grown hungry. As he walked around in search of a food stand, he made a surprising discovery.
He spotted his friends, Michael Gouder and Anthony Frankish chatting. What a coincidence, Danny thought. What were they doing here? Had they found out about his day off?
As it turned out, they all happened to have the same idea. Standing together, they took a back seat for the first bid to see how it worked. None of them have done this before. It seemed fate had brought them together.
The first container up for auction was sold and then opened in front of them. They were all desperate to get a glimpse at what the first bidder would walk away with so they could see what they were in for.
The winning bidder had offered $120 dollars for the container that was full to the brim with invaluable miscellaneous items.
It’s was a devastating blow for Danny, who felt like the grand prize had just slipped through his fingers. He considered leaving, but when he saw the next storage unit up for auction, he changed his mind.
However, the second container proved much more successful and encouraged Danny and his friends to stay the course. This was his big day to himself after all.
The trio decided they were ready to throw their hats into the ring and bid on the next interesting looking lot. But they hadn’t counted on the fact they would all be bidding on the same thing.
Tensions rose as the three men realized they were trying to out-bid each other. The competition between them started to grow and the friendly vibe they’d enjoyed all morning started to turn sour.
Then Danny asked himself, why were they working against each other when they could pool their cash and wipe the grins off the faces of all the seasoned bidders?
After a few low-value containers were sold to disappointed bidders, Danny and his friends agreed they wanted to play at the high-stakes table. If they wanted to win against all these other bidders for this next container, they would need to change up their strategy and take a few more risks.
Danny pictured himself opening up a crate and discovering a treasure chest filled with gold or an antique that would need to be insured for millions. Things were about to get interesting.
Teaming up, the fortune hunters laid out their new tactic. Instead of placing bids separately, they would do it together. AS the next container was lowered into the lot, they were confident about their chances of walking away as winners just like they’d seen on TV.
The next container was announced and the men dove straight in: $80, $100, $150, $200, $250. Their bids rose dramatically as their nerves followed suit. $300, $310, $320, $330, $335…
They did it! Danny and his friends congratulated each other as they collected the container key from the auctioneer. There was no way of knowing what was inside. Not even the auctioneer himself knew.
Danny felt confident. But then he remembered an episode of ‘Storage Wars’ that suddenly had him sweating. Was he destined to suffer the same fate?
The episode in question saw a bidder lay down a large sum of cash – exactly the same amount that Danny and his friends had just shelled out.
And it was a complete waste of money. Did Danny just pay $110 for a container of trash? He was suddenly aware of how high the stakes were. Beads of sweat started to form on his forehead as he approached the mysterious container.
Bracing himself, Danny walked up to the big blue container. As he pulled open the heavy doors, he prayed to the goddess of days off for a good result.
Danny worked too many long hours to have spent his hard-earned cash on garbage. There had to be at least one thing of value inside. Hadn’t there?
As the light crept into the mysterious container, and its contents slowly came into focus, Danny didn’t know where to look.
Danny and his new team stepped inside – and were greeted by nothing but ordinary items. Lamps, shelves, books… nothing they could retire on. Danny walked out deflated. But Michael kept digging. He just had a feeling there was something inside that container that would make the whole thing worthwhile.
“Look at this!” exclaimed Michael, brandishing an ordinary-looking case at his two partners. Danny peered over Michael’s shoulder as he opened it.
It was silverware. “Could be worth something,” said Michael, optimistically. Then Anthony pulled out a bottle of vintage French wine, dating back to the 1940s. Shortly after, Danny came across a hand-written court log from the 1720s. Once they’d gone through everything in the container, one thing was abundantly clear to the trio.
“We’ve easily made our money back straight away, and there’s loads more stuff still to be appraised so it should be good when it’s all gone,” said Danny, pleased that it was worth the investment to pay the freelancer to cover him for the day.
The actual value on their finds depends on the results of their upcoming appraisal, but the trio learned something far more valuable.
Trying something new is not a bad way to spend a day off. Danny and his friends not only walked away from their first foray into the world of storage auctioning as winners, but they also found a fun new hobby they can do together.
They have even earned some fame along the way. Maybe another group of friends will be as lucky!