Admittedly, most storage units are filled with dull household items and outdated electronics – and that's if your lucky. Every so often, though, a truly stellar unit comes along to give the rest of us hope. It's these astonishing finds that fuel the treasure-hunting craze and inspire more people to start searching through abandoned storage units.
In the 1970s, a relative of one of the band members placed several items into storage. There they stayed, apparently forgotten, in a Miami, Florida storage unit as the band skyrocketed to its legendary status. Eventually, the unit's owner failed to make payments, and the unit went up for auction.
So, imagine the surprise of the storage hunter who opened some unmarked boxes and found a treasure trove of priceless Beach Boys memorabilia, including the band's first royalty check, photographs, sheet music and hand-written song lyrics. Altogether, there are over two thousand documents in the collection, appraised at around $8 million, which is slated to go up for auction on May 15.
That's the popular version of the story, anyway, as it buzzes around the Internet. Yet few sources covering the upcoming auction have bothered to answer important questions about this historic event: Who found these items in storage, and how did they get there in the first place? The truth of the situation is a bit more complex and much more strange than the headlines would have you expect, as shown by an article in the New York Times.
Although the items are only now up for sale in a sealed bid auction, the collection was actually uncovered in the 1980s by Roy A. Sciacca, a musician, collector, promoter and studio owner. He purchased the items at a warehouse liquidation auction before moving away from Los Angeles. He brought his collection with him to Florida, where he did keep it in storage – but, despite rumors to the contrary, he hasn't lost the storage unit.
Instead, he became embroiled in a lawsuit with the Beach Boys themselves. When that same storage warehouse was sold in 1994, the band discovered that certain items were missing, and accused Sciacca of stealing them. According to them, there was no sanctioned auction ever held in the 80s.
What followed was a long-fought legal battle over who had the rights to the collection. That battle has raged in the courts until now, when it was finally ruled that the items should be auctioned and the profits split between all interested parties. That auction is set to end on May 15, and it's being overseen by the London company The Fame Bureau, led by Ted Owen.
Of course, all of this means that there really was no abandoned storage unit auctioned away in Florida, whatever the media outlets say. Still, plenty of would-be treasure hunters are sure to use high-profile finds like this to fuel their own hopes of fame and riches. The rest of us will get back to work re-selling old electronics and furniture.