Six years ago, Loren Krytzer was living in a shack and scraping by on $200 disability checks from a car accident in 2007 that cost him his leg and left him out of work when he saw a television segment that would change his life.
The native of Liona Valley, California was watching an episode of “Antique Roadshow” when he saw a rare Navajo blanket that was worth half a million dollars. Krytzer was shocked because he happened to own a Navajo blanket that looked identical to the one on TV.
According to Krytzer, the blanket had been passed down through his family from generation to generation since his great-grandfather got it in the 1800s. After his grandmother passed away, his mother and sister had “pillaged” the entire house and left nothing behind except for the “dirty” blanket.
Upon seeing the Auctioneers episode, Krytzer took it to several antique organizations only to be turned down. Despite the rejection, the determined amputee took the blanket to John Moran Auctioneers in 2011 – and he found out that he had struck gold.
Moran and his team told Krytzer that “conservatively”, the blanket was worth at least $150,000.
When Krytzer agreed to put up the blanket for auction, he says that he prayed for at least enough money to get a better house. After a 77-second bidding war, a ferocious bidding war pushed the blanket’s closing price to $1.5 million, which remains today as the most expensive item that Moran Auctioneers ever sold.
After taxes and fees, Krytzer was given $1.3 million.
“They had to bring over water and stuff to me and wipe sweat off my head,” Krytzer told CNBC Make It. “I started hyperventilating because I couldn’t believe it. … Everything just went limp and I couldn’t catch my breath.”
“It was just hard to grasp. I mean, I worked hard my whole life. I was in construction, I never bought anything, I never saved, I always rented. I bought used cars cause that’s all I could afford. I lived paycheck to paycheck my whole life,” he added.
So what does such a thrifty man end up doing with such a large amount of money? He invested in some stocks, bought a house in California, married his long-time girlfriend who had stuck with him through thick and thin, and bought himself a nice car.
To this day, he still credits the dirty old blanket that sat in his closet as the thing that saved his life.
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