Anchorage woman thought she had a multimillion-dollar dumpster-dive find; hopes dashed

Anchorage woman believed she struck it rich dumpster diving only to have hopes dashed
Published: Aug. 8, 2022 at 11:15 AM AKDT
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ANCHORAGE, Alaska (KTUU) - You wouldn’t expect your life to change from dumpster diving, but for one Alaskan, that’s exactly what she thought happened.

Just a few weeks ago, Ella Guest found herself restless in the middle of the night. To clear her head she decided to go for a walk with a friend. That friend suggested they dumpster dive — something Guest had never thought to do before.

Initially, it was some antique desks and posters that caught her eye. Digging deeper, she started throwing things around before she realized a paper note and what appeared to be foreign coins fell out of a stack of documents.

“The first thing that I thought of when I found this was, I was like, ‘oh, it’s probably like five bucks,’” Guest said.

After doing some of her own investigating online, Guest would later be shocked when she discovered that the notes appeared to be worth so much more.

“There was no words. My mouth was dropped and I was just looking at it like, oh my god,” Guest said.

What Guest found was 5 million Turkish lira. But what Guest first thought was a jackpot soon went bust. It turns out Turkish currency underwent new modifications several years ago and all the old currency is no longer in circulation. According to currency expert Tom Brosnahan, until the end of 2016, that old 5 million lira note could have been exchanged for 5 new liras, but that deadline has passed. It now has only souvenir value and a whole lot of disappointment for Guest.

“Also consider: would a country ever issue so large a bill that had huge value? The largest US note is now $100; in Europe it was EUR500, but those are deprecated and the largest will soon be EUR100. There’s a reason the 5 million lira note was in the dumpster,” Brosnahan said.

Despite that, Guest says she will always cherish the story of the time she thought she got rich from dumpster diving.

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