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The 50 Most Bizarre and Expensive Items Found in Unclaimed Luggage at US Airports

Travel News
by Morgane Croissant Apr 1, 2024

There’s a store in Scottsboro, Alabama, that collects unclaimed lost luggage from domestic airlines and other travel businesses, sorts out the items found inside, and sells them. That store, simply named Unclaimed Baggage, has been owned and operated by the same family, the Owenses, since 1970, and in the past 54 years they have found a lot of weird and expensive stuff. Some highlights from over five decades of looking at the things that travelers leave behind include: a prized violin, a zebra skin, a camera from the Space Shuttle, and even a live rattle snake.

For the first time in the history of the store, Unclaimed Baggage has compiled a report of the things they have found in America’s unclaimed luggage in the past year. According to a press release, the items found define the 2023 fashion trends and big events.

“These bags are a glimpse into 2023. From the surge in Taylor Swift t-shirts to an array of Nintendo Switch games and Stanley water bottles, each item our team uncovered tells a story of its own,” said Jennifer Kritner, Vice President of Retail and Company Culture at Unclaimed Baggage.

The Unclaimed Baggage Found Report for 2023 includes: The 40 most fascinating finds of the year 2023, the 10 most expensive things found in 2023, and the 10 most frequently found items in the past year.

Some of the 40 most fascinating finds of the year 2023:

  • Two live snakes
  • 19 Rolex watches
  • A life-sized Winnie The Pooh bear
  • A hand-painted ostrich egg from South Africa
  • A ancient Greek coin
  • Hoverboards

The 10 most expensive things found in 2023:

  • A 14-carat gold diamond ring appraised at over $37,000
  • A pink Hermes Birkin Bag valued at $23,5000
  • A Cartier watch appraised at $26,500
  • Louis Vuitton Nike Air sneakers value at $12,000
  • A Givenchy dress appraised at nearly $10,000
  • A Chanel blazer valued at nearly $5,500
  • A Kiton sport coat appraised at $10,000
  • A professional camera valued at over $12,000
  • A digital wireless receiver valued at nearly $6,500
  • A guitar appraised at $4,000

The 10 most frequently found items last year:

  • Underwear
  • shoes
  • Tablets and e-readers
  • T-shirts
  • Books
  • Blouses
  • Blue jeans
  • Headphones
  • Dresses
  • Cellphone

Depending on the items found, Unclaimed Baggage either sells them in their store and online, donates them to charity, or recycles them. Unclaimed Baggage website says that “about 1/3 of the unclaimed items we receive finds a new hole in our retail or online stores” and “on average, for every items sold, another is donated to someone in need.”

Judging from Unclaimed Baggage’s TikTok and Instagram accounts, there are some good deals to be had, whether at the store in person or online. People even line up outside the shop every year on the first Saturday in November for the Ski Sale, a big even during which unclaimed ski equipment and apparel are sold to those looking for a bargain.

If you’re worried that your lost luggage has ended up on the shelves of the Unclaimed Baggage Center, rest assured that airlines don’t just give away everything they have in their lost and found cupboard without a thought to their owners. Airlines have to look for the owners of the pieces of luggage diligently for at least 90 days before getting rid of them.

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