'I became a millionaire overnight' Man recalls incredible discovery

Antiques Roadshow: Visitor surprised by glassware valuation

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While watching Antique Roadshow, Loren Krytzer realised the rare Navajo blanket they mentioned looked a lot like the one item he had inherited from his grandmother. Mr Krytzer saw a series of unfortunate events that resulted in him being forced to live in a friends shed after being involved in a car accident.

After living paycheque to paycheque for the majority of his life, Mr Krytzer became an overnight millionaire when his grandmother’s blanket went to auction.

During 2007, Mr Krytzer was enjoying a thriving career as a freelance carpenter until a near-fatal car accident.

After spending most of the year in the hospital, microfractures in his foot left doctors with no choice but to amputate it.

After losing his leg, Mr Krytzer was soon also unemployed.

Man with money in his pocket

By auctioning his grandmothers’ Navajo blanket, Mr Krytzer became a millionaire in 77 seconds (Image: GETTY)

Since then, he had been surviving on disability cheques, which only left him $200 (£145) after paying to rent in friend’s shack and was forced to send his children to live with their grandparents.

In 2011, Mr Krytzer saw an episode of Antique Roadshow which featured a First Phase Navajo blanket that fetched the seller a hefty $500,000 (£360,000).

The appraiser for the show explained that the textiles were equally expensive to get both when the blankets were made and in the current day.

Mr Krytzer was reminded of a similar blanket his grandmother had once used a catch cloth for a litter of kittens.

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When Mr Krytzer’s grandmother passed, no one realised the value of the Navajo blanket and after being looked over by both his mother and his sister, Mr Krytzer became the unwitting beholder of millions.

He knew that the blanket had been handed down since the 1800s, starting with his great-great-grandfather who was a Dakota tradesman.

And Mr Krytzer had left it in his closet for seven years since.

Holding the blanket up to the TV, Mr Krytzer noticed that they were identical, and went to show his mother.  

Navajo blanket

Navajo textiles are highly regarded and have been sought after for over 150 years (Image: GETTY)

The pair went to a few antique dealers who would turn them away or dismiss the blanket as a run-of-the-mill replicate.

It was at a local, family-run auction company where the true worth of the blanket would be discovered.

Mr Krytzer brought the blanket to John Moran Auctioneers, where both he and his mother believed they would be lucky to get $10,000 (£7,000) for it.

Upon appraisal, it was found that Mr Krytzer had inherited a three-hundred-year-old treasure; one of the finest and rarest Navajo chief’s blankets in the world.

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The blanket went to auction in June 2012 where it sold for 10 times its opening price, making Mr Krytzer an overnight millionaire.

The bidding itself only lasted for 77 seconds and to date, it is the most expensive item ever sold by John Moran Auctioneers.

The money afforded Mr Krytzer a home, several cars and a luxury cruise to Mexico with his family.

William Murphy

William Murphy

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