40 Amusing Antiques Unearthed During Mundane House Renovations

By Sachin P

When was the last time you explored your home? Any old structure is bound to have a complex history and many secrets from its previous occupants. It has an ambiance, which is just one of the reasons some people choose to live in such places. And occasionally, these secrets come back and see the light of day again. We’ve compiled a collection of photos people snapped during home improvements, whenever they unexpectedly came across hidden gems. Of course, remodeling an old home is tricky, but with care and caution, you might just find a piece of history hiding in your home. From sealed vaults to vintage food packaging, here are 40 of the most unique finds people uncovered in their homes.

Fossil under the kitchen floorboards

In 1987, Wyoming declared two species as the state fish…sort of. The state’s sole native trout, the cutthroat, has been named the state fish. Meanwhile, the state fossil is Knightia (Knightia eocaena), an ancient herring that left a huge number of fossils there.

cameronsounds / Reddit

A pristine lake in what is currently southeastern Wyoming was home to a prehistoric species of herring that is deeply connected to the Clupea herrings of around 50 million years ago. All we truly know about their fate is that they passed very abruptly.

Reference seed collection

Of all the things that could have been found in an attic, this takes the cake! Just look at this! It’s a collection of reference seeds from when Canada was called the Dominion of Canada. This must be well before the 1960s.

HungryBanana07 / Reddit

Despite its seldom use, the official name of the nation is the Dominion of Canada. At Confederation in 1867, it was first utilized in relation to Canada. Other nations in the British Commonwealth also utilized it in their official names. By the early 1960s, government organizations in Canada had basically stopped using the term “Dominion.”

Giant Monopoly board under the old carpet

When the first Monopoly board was introduced in 1906, it didn’t resemble the one you may find on your shelves nowadays. In fact, the title was also different. The game was developed as a “practical demonstration of the present system of land-grabbing with all its usual outcomes and consequences.”

Yamaha234 / Reddit

The mind behind this was a young woman by the name of Elizabeth Magie. Progress and Poverty, a work by liberal economist Henry George, served as a source of motivation. Now imagine playing Monopoly on this board. Surreal isn’t it? Dali would have a field day!

Diagon Alley, not Diagonally!

Some people love the aesthetic of a fireplace in their home, but can’t afford (for financial or safety reasons) to have a real one. The solution is a faux fireplace since it does not actually generate any flames or heat.

cannm / Reddit

One of the key factors for the huge success of such fireplaces is the fact that they can be just ornamental. A fake flame can give it that aesthetic appeal, or you can decorate it with these beautiful green tiles. Reminds us of the Weasley’s fireplace in Chamber of Secrets.

What’s this? A fork for ants?

If you are a fan of Studio Ghibli movies, then chances are high that you have heard of Arrietty. The titular character is a girl from a family of miniature people who live a secret life. Now for someone like Arrietty, this would be a perfect size.

animal_highfives / Reddit

Or you can follow the rabbit hole towards the more sensible conclusion that this was part of a doll house. But why think rationally when you can believe in the fantastical? Even if it’s just this once, let your imagination take you on a getaway.

A “blam!” there and a “kapow” here.

We long for the good old days when comic books only cost a quarter. Nowadays, if you want to get into the paperback world of Marvel or DC, a digital comic book subscription is the cheapest option. If only our grandparents knew to save these gems…

Bloxicorn / Reddit

The 80s revolutionized the comics experience for decades to come, but even in the early days, comic books were in a league of their own. This lucky homeowner found a stack of 1970s comic books that are likely worth a fortune.

Hidden beneath the floors of a house from the 1930s

Since the house is from the 1930s, it is probable that this person served in the Army, after the Civil War. Though, we’re not sure if he saw more on the battlefield or in the bathroom, which is where the OP found this piece.

shadowdoodles / Reddit

Alexander Woodhull, an assistant surgeon, suggested the “Swiss blouse,” which the Army approved for use on the battlefield. This outfit stood out thanks to the four pleats that fell straight on each frontal side from the shoulder towards the bottom of said skirt.

A fireback

A fireback is a cast iron panel that people put against the rear wall of something like a hearth or a wood-burning oven. Inside the kitchen, fireplace firebacks can also be utilized as a backsplash. It is frequently attractively designed — obviously.

Ok_Leadership_8666 / Reddit

Also, they are occasionally positioned up to the fireplace’s flanks. The fireback can also be mounted to the wall as a piece of art. A properly cast fireback will shield the area of the walls that the fire will heat.

Your move, Mr. Bond!

Looks like a games room of sorts. This is quite obvious from the domino signs and the four suites laid in the middle of this contraption. This screams the raving twenties unlike any other. Plus, we could totally see this in a movie, even though this came out of a random person’s basement.

ChestFullOfHair / Reddit

Something like Casino Royale. Not the 50s one but the 2006 masterpiece which introduced us to the debonair, suave Daniel Craig and the international spy, James Bond. Surely he was a distraction so the other spies could carry on with their work. No decent spy would be known the world over.

Inter-planetary war

Now would you look at this ET wallpaper we have here? There’s an alien heavy gunner with another armed with what passes for a pistol. Maybe it’s a rank higher? The pistol-wielding alien does have somewhat anthropomorphic features, in comparison, that is.

glasgowwelder / Reddit

The heavy gunner looks like an alien from Futurama. The look on the higher-rank alien’s face tells of something in the lines of the jig is up. Is it walking into a trap? Is it being betrayed? Only the rest of the wallpaper knows!

A 100-year-old Geography book with some unique damage

Somebody really didn’t like their geography course! Was it because of the teacher who taught it? Could be, but there is no proof of it, as far as we can see here. So how do we know that whoever owned this disliked the subject?

CoffeeTrainWreck / Reddit

Well from the obvious bullet holes, duh! Don’t go telling us that a moth made these! Either this person hated the subject so much to shoot at the textbook point blank or they used this as a shield to prevent themselves from getting shot.

A stash of Goldvreneli

Between 1897 and 1949, various numbers and denominations of Vreneli were produced (10, 20, and 100 francs). Ever since the middle of the twentieth century, the Goldvreneli has grown in popularity as a collectible. It’s fascinating to see that the Vreneli upon that piece is really a Helvetia.

DiaBoLo73 / Reddit

Fritz Ulysse Landry, a Neuchâtel artist, created a picture of her. His portrayal of the matriarch of the country drew criticism right away. Two years ago, one of these coins was worth USD 310 a piece. The OP made an easy 25 grand!

1911 newspaper

The 5800-ton cruise liner known as the “death ship” of 1918, the SS Tahiti, was created in Scotland in 1904. When the First World War started in 1914, the ship was bought by the Union Steamship Company of New Zealand and put into duty as a transport ship.

BennyInThe18thArea / Reddit

The ship, known as HMNZT Tahiti (His Majesty’s New Zealand Troopship), was a component of the fleet that carried the initial ANZAC troop deployment in late 1914. The Tahiti transported the first group of soldiers injured in the Gallipoli campaign safely to Wellington in 1915.


The 1970s are known as “the Me Decade,” according to American author Tom Wolfe. He grounded this on the nation’s recent interest in consciousness as well as identity. Vibrant green, turquoise, sunny yellow, orange, as well as brown were in style.

CallistoChemical / Reddit

White has been used all over to balance out stronger hues, both in furnishings and backdrops. Powerful black and white designs were frequently enhanced with vibrant colors using pillows, accent chairs, and other furnishings. Just look at the explosion of colors on this carpeting right here. Amazing!

Suspense so thick!

Can you imagine the levels of suspense if he didn’t divulge the contents of the wicker basket? The internet would collectively lose its mind over what’s inside. We can only imagine what this person thought up on uncovering this mystery basket.

codymanboy / Reddit

Would they be worried about finding some dead animal that tried to next there? Or perhaps a literal skeleton in someone’s closet? Nope; nothing so dramatic. Just some silverware and a bronze duck. Definitely not what we would have expected.

Tragedy in the new Millenium

So, the apparent climax of this is a tragedy unlike any other. If an ancient Greek playwright got their mitts on this story, they would fight over who got to write up that play. We’re no poets, but we’ll let you know the story behind this image.

grawvyrobber / Reddit

So, the OP found the safe in their home and got excited. Eager to find out what was inside, they called a locksmith. After agreeing to pay the locksmith 400 dollars, they got the safe opened, only to find that it was empty. Oh, the pain!

Inflation, inflation!

This certainly won’t seem like much but you have to factor in that this is from 1939. That was just at the start of the Second World War. So, we have to factor in 83 years of inflation to see how much this is worth today.

Jennlprice / Reddit

Depending on what inflation calculator you use, the value could be anywhere from 861 dollars to 970 dollars in 2022 terms. If this was a regular paystub, the person likely earned approximately 3500 dollars a month. It’s hard in this economy, but livable.

Disney event of the decade!

Now, what are the odds of finding something like this while renovating your house? This, as anyone could tell after having one look at it, is a wedding invitation sent by Walt Disney, to the former residents of this house.

jmlwant / Reddit

Man, what a find this really is. It’s a time capsule that makes us want to learn about life 68 years ago. Disney’s daughter Diane, married Ron Miller, who later went on to become the CEO of Walt Disney Productions before he was ousted by Roy Disney.

A fireplace insert

If you thought the faux fireplace was cool, check this out. A fireplace insert is an appliance that is put into a preexisting hardwood or brick fireplace and acts as the main heat source. An insert often consists of the fireplace’s internal walls, grating, and realistic-looking logs.

southview.cottage.renovation / Reddit

Not wood logs but logs made from materials like resin. Joab R. Donaldson created the very first fireplace inserts in 1896. These early inserts employed an electric blower to increase efficiency and also used smokeless coal fuel, which is a byproduct of distilling coal.

1895 marriage certificate

Before the Middle Ages, there was no such thing as a marriage certificate. By 1100 C.E., the Vatican had established the first marriage certificate in what we today know as England. England was historically a strong supporter of arranging the data gathered through the administration of the marriage certificate…

jsparker43 / Reddit

…and they spread the marital custom to the western territories. Within the colonial Americas, the concept of a marriage license became firmly entrenched. Now it is standard practice, all around the world and can be found in countless cultures, too.

Beehive within house

Within one month, bees produce 10 to 15 pounds of wax, honey, larvae, and stores of byproducts. Within two to three days, bees begin to produce honey and store it for later. Despite what cartoons would have you believe, beehives aren’t constantly dripping honey.

blokeman / Reddit

When the bees fail to attend the hive at whatever point, gravity will cause the honey to trickle. Both the honey as well as the bees should be evacuated at the same time. Any honey that is left within the building will, among other things, draw more bees.

Wall Mural of a sketch by Albrecht Durer

What you see here is a mirrored reproduction of a sketch of Albrecht Durer, of the Antwerp harbor. The shoreline is visible from that of an incline. This came from the artist’s sketchbook on his visit to the Netherlands comes this beautiful drawing.

yerkab / Reddit

Also, the illustration style is vibrant and daring. Since the right background never was fully developed, the perspective-induced diminution in item size, as seen on the ships, creates an especially strong sense of depth. What a special thing to have come across!

WW2 purple heart

The Purple Heart medal is given to service men and women who were hurt or killed during operating in the U.S. military as a consequence of hostile action. A Purple Heart is a somber award that denotes a member of the armed forces who has made the ultimate sacrifice.

OnlyZuul666 / Reddit

These were given to patriots who paid a heavy price while performing their duties. Since the Purple Heart was established in 1782, upwards of 1.8 million medals have been given to service personnel. The one unearthed by the OP and their grandfather comes from World War II.

An old yardstick found in the attic

Looking at this gives us instant flashbacks to elementary school. Even if you grew up with computers in the classroom, chances are there was at least one yardstick around. It’s the best, old-school version of a laser to point at the chalkboard.

Cog_HS / Reddit

While we don’t need them much in our personal lives, you might find a yardstick in the home of a seamstress or avid DIY-er. Though, this might just make its way to the home of an antique collector. This yardstick is so old that the business’ telephone number is only one digit!

Suitcase of shoes?

Around since the early modern era, concealed shoes buried in a building’s structure have been found in numerous European nations and in many other areas of the world. The places where these footwears are commonly found — in smokestacks, under floor tiles, above roofs.

pendletonpackrat / Reddit

Also around windows and doors, in the ceiling — some posit that they were hidden as mystical charms to guard the people in the building against evil influencing factors. These might not serve the same purpose as they did back in the day but who knows?

1977 McDonald’s Meal: The forbidden Happy Meal?

There is a complaint from the general populace that this longevity of Mcdonald’s fries is the result of them being loaded with additives and preservatives. The truth would be that McDonald’s chicken, French fries, and hamburgers are similar to all other items in that they do go bad if stored improperly.

nyratevoli / Reddit

The bacteria that trigger rot are fundamentally quite similar to humans in that they require water, nutrients, warmth, and time to flourish. Microbes are unable to thrive or contaminate food if we remove some or all of these components. So, enjoy a happy meal not every day, but occasionally.

A prank, left in the basement, by the previous owners

Kayako was just an ordinary homemaker before her husband killed her in what seemed like a fit of rage because he believed she had been having a fling with some other man. As a direct consequence, Kayako has returned as a vengeful ghost.

funkytowne1 / Reddit

A specter always seeks death, ruination, and the continued existence of the unintended wrath that prevented her from falling asleep. Even without knowing the plot summary of Grudge, walking into this is guaranteed to give a shock of unprecedented levels. Talk about epic pranks!

Pink Floyd graffiti behind a wall covering

The Wall is indeed the concept album that wraps up all other concept albums. This is one of Pink Floyd’s greatest recognizable recordings and ranks 87th among Rolling Stone‘s 500 best albums ever made. Among the group’s most well-known songs would be “Another Brick in the Wall.”

KL-Tech / Reddit

The legendary song expresses Pink Floyd’s detachedness in concrete terms: any loss, inequality, or cruelty can only be “another brick” onto an already existing wall. We’re pretty sure that the graffiti artist was pretty moved by the song. Quite commonplace with a song that is legendary.

Reach Baseball catalog

The pamphlet itself packs quite the history. Al Reach had been a retired baseball player who represented the Athletic Club of Philadelphia both during the new and seasoned eras of the sport. Reach gave up playing in 1875, but four years earlier to Albert Spalding, he founded his sports goods shop…

kane3232 / Reddit

…in his hometown of Philadelphia. The store specialized in baseball gear. In addition, Al Reach produced the first baseball manual for the National League’s 1876 debut campaign. Starting in 1883, the Reach Base Ball was designated as the American Association’s official ball. What a journey!

British WW2 gas mask

On April 22, 1915, Imperial German troops attacked the French near Ypres for the first time using chlorine gas, marking the beginning of conventional chemical warfare. But permeable air-filled helmets were necessary for miners, firefighters, and scuba divers well before 1915.

_ScareKrow_ / Reddit

To address those needs, early gas mask designs were created. The “drums” or the meshed compartments mostly have activated carbon as a basic material, which can trap most of the toxic substances in the surroundings. Whoever owned this, was ready to face the very worst of the Axis.

Empty safes everywhere

We have come across so many empty safes on this list. At least put a note up front on the door saying, “there is nothing inside, don’t open this.” Well, that would make things worse, actually. Saying “no” just makes you want to do it anyway.

Mertyn / Reddit

Although, if they did put a “don’t bother opening this, there’s nothing inside,” they should have included another note inside. Cracking open a sealed vault to find the message “I told you so” is both worth a laugh and a facepalm.

Old Bottle named “The mixture”. Reminds us of when coke was issued as a medicine in these bottles

From 1886 through 1929, Coca-Cola (Coke) included cocaine in various concentrations. At the period, cocaine was considered a medication and was lawful. Coca-Cola is simply one item with its own history and name deeply based on using the coca leaf in consumable drinks; it did not create the practice.

onlynik / Reddit

Coke once contained coke, to put it briefly. Although the public’s perception of cocaine changed from 1900 to 1929, Coke continued to employ trace amounts of the drug and “spent” coca leaves to preserve its taste and brand. Coca-Cola now substitutes caffeine for cocaine.

Your next stop, the Twilight Zone

Now, this is what we call a discovery! Hidden in the wall of a house for ages, only to be uncovered by someone who has absolutely no idea what it is. Do you have any idea what it is, reader?

bkd1 / Reddit

Reader beware, you choose the scare. Well gone are the days of those Goosebumps stories but this is extremely intriguing. What’s with the coin? Is it really gold? What’s with the lettering? Is this a pact of some sort? Nobody knows for sure.

Castles in Massachusetts? Yeah, you heard that right!

Looks like a wine press in a castle. A castle in Massachusetts? Yeah! Many historical sites, along with several castles, can be found in Massachusetts. These castles, the majority of which were constructed in the late 19th and early 20th centuries, had spires, drawbridges, gardens, and grand halls.

Loretta12g / Reddit

The majority of these castles are still standing, however, tragically many of them seem to have been moved or totally obliterated. Some of these buildings are in rubble or have significantly shrunk in size, but many are still in excellent condition.

A Milky Way wrapper from 1961

The North American version of the Milky Way chocolate bar is composed of nougat, coated with caramel, and wrapped in dairy milk. The first Milky Way bar appeared in 1924, and so by 1926, there have been two varieties on the market.

EverThusToDeadbeats_ / Reddit

Varieties of vanilla nougat with only dark chocolate covering or chocolate nougat with dairy milk covering were both produced. Both the full-size and mini varieties of Milky Way candy were readily available to the public, and the product has seen remarkable success throughout the American confectionery market.

Question remains. Why?

Now, who in their right mind would cover up murals as beautiful as this? Some people have no account for taste or respect for the arts. Oh, we almost forgot to give the backstory behind this amazing discovery right here. Interesting story ahead!

NulloK / Reddit

So, the OP’s 84-year-old grandfather started to renovate his house. Lo and behold, hidden behind the wallpaper, he found these murals, which they believe are from 1912. We hope that with careful restoration, these walls can once again be a masterpiece in this home.

Dead reckoning

The last thing you want to find are literal skeletons in the closet of the house you’re inhabiting. We would really like to know the thought process that went through the head of whoever discovered this. If it was us, we’d be equally revolted and intrigued.

widewhiskers / Reddit

Upon discovering this, the homeowner must have felt like a character in a horror movie. Hollywood has given us plenty to fear in old homes, especially ones where bodies are hiding. We hope the new owners tracked down the immediate family and handed the ashes over.

Corporate, corporate everywhere!

McDonald’s had already supported the Olympics as a primary sponsor since 1968, and it is said to have paid a staggering $98 million to continue doing so through 2020. Coke has been spending around $44 million every four years since 1928, as per new stats!

cannotseecolor / Reddit

That’s a lot of cash! Even though it may seem paradoxical, McDonald’s is a big proponent of numerous local sports teams in addition to international players, and individual players. This “ancient” cup from the 1988 Seoul Olympics is a testament to that fact.

Forbidden Soda

As Faux Grape Soda in the initial lineup, Fanta Grape made its debut in the US in 1960. After a few years in this country, its reputation soared, making it one of the more well-known tastes in the classic Fanta portfolio in the country.

RAS7331 / Reddit

Other less popular varieties, such as Ginger Ale, Root Beer, and Lemon-Lime, did not have the same opportunity to be appreciated as Fanta Grape as well as Fanta Orange, as all those earlier varieties ended up going out of production one by one throughout the course of their respective lifecycles.

Free Spa

There are many reasons people choose to remodel their homes, one of which is to expand or add new facilities. For example, one might opt to redo the kitchen to add new appliances. Or, perhaps they want new bathroom fixtures…

FeedtheFat / Reddit

This homeowner lucked out. When they were doing some work in their basement, they found a steam room and a hot tub waiting behind the walls. With their luck, it might even be hooked up to the plumbing. With a little renovation, they have endless spa days ahead!