Self Storage Auction in Chicago Turns up Political and Pro Sports Memorabilia

Posted on Apr 24 2012 - 8:13pm by Tony Gonzalez

People have always dreamed or at least thought about being lucky enough to find the proverbial needle in the haystack. We all want to find that hidden treasure that can take us to easy street even if only for a little while. Some have been lucky enough to do just that thanks to some of the things that they’ve found in self storage units they’ve purchased at auction.

All sorts of things have been found in self storage units from gold coins, to envelopes of cash, paintings, historical artifacts and of course junk. Recently at an auction held at a Metro Self Storage in Chicago a bidder stumbled across what appears to be a virtual treasure trove of political and sports memorabilia.

The unit, purchased by Chris Amer for $450, appears to contain a number of possessions of former Cook County Board chairman John Stroger. 

Stroger was the first African-American to serve as the president of the Cook County Board of Commissioners, a position he held from 1994-2006. His political career dates back even further though. In 1968 he became a Committeeman (for the 8th Ward). Two years later he was elected to the Cook County Board of Commissioners where he went on to serve and head up just about every major committee there was.

“I found pictures of him shaking hands with President Clinton and, at that point, I stopped throwing stuff away,” Amer said. Clinton had appointed Stroger to the Advisory Committee on Intergovernmental Relations.

Also in the unit was what appeared to be a Chicago Bulls 1996 and 1998 NBA Championship ring. It is not known whether they are the real thing at this time. It was a practice of the Bulls at the time to send out replicas of the championship rings to season ticket holders (about 6,000). So while they are not the real thing, they could still be seen as a limited edition to the right collector.

Finds like these are unusual, but they do happen at self storage auctions all over the country. In 2011 an old Winchester buffalo rifle was found in a unit along with some antique slot cars. A bidder in Virginia paid a staggering $27,000 for a pair of units that contained a trove of historical artifacts valued at approximately $100,000. 

The biggest find of 2011 was a comic book; yes, a comic book. It wasn’t just any comic—we’re talking about Action Comics Number 1. Actor Nicholas Cage had bought for $150,000 in 1997, but it was stolen from him in 2000. It’s reported value– $2,161,000.

Sources Used:

“Auction buyer appears to score Stroger possessions, including 2 Bulls rings.” Chicago Tribune; 24 April 2012.

“The 5 Most Lucrative Storage Auction Finds of 2011.” PRWeb; 25 December 2011.

John Stroger; Wikipedia.