Let’s set aside for a minute the fact that it may not be the real deal, but back in November the Washington State Department of Revenue auctioned off what appeared to be a book of 27 Pablo Picasso sketches. Real or not—the DOR didn’t pay to have it authenticated—it was a notable find and just one of the thousands of items the department has acquired from unclaimed safe deposit boxes throughout the state and auctioned off over the last several years.
Picasso Sketchbook, 1912
If this book of doodles is legit, Picasso apparently spent March of 1912 mostly sitting in Parisian bars drawing the feminine form over and over again. Right now, in a coffee shop near you, some forlorn UW art student is doing the exact same thing.
U.S. Navy Powder Flask, 1846
Originally this gunpowder flask likely would have hung on the hip of an American soldier in the Mexican War era. Today it’s not hard to imagine it dangling from the belt loop of a hipster in a craft cocktail bar.
Championship Boxing Ticket, 1948
What we know: The original owner of this ticket would have seen Joe Louis defend his World Heavyweight Championship belt at Yankee Stadium. What we don’t know: Whether he or she was among the majority of the crowd who booed the heavily favored champ when he KO’d challenger Jersey Joe Walcott.
Vintage Metal Handcuffs, Mid-1800s
They might look straight out of a cops and robbers cartoon, but these cuffs weren’t made by Acme. Or were they: Given the rudimentary, one-size-fits-all design, you have to wonder why prisoner escapes weren’t an everyday thing back then.
Idaho National Currency, 1929
In addition to the U.S. Mint, regional institutions used to print their own currency. These six bank notes from the Bonner County National Bank would have been worth a total of just $55 at the time, but they fetched a pretty penny when auctioned in 2011 due in part to their unusually pristine quality.