Homeless Man Sells Rare Collectible For $20 - Dealer Tracks Him Down To Share Profit

Dec 31, 2020 by apost team

Curiosity, Inc. is a small family-run antique shop in Edmonton, Alberta, Canada. Its owner, Alexander Archbold, is always on the hunt for the most unusual finds. Archbold has a unique assistant who brought in things now and then: Adam Gillian, a man who was experiencing homelessness. One day, after Gillian had picked up a Disney print and passed it on to Archbold, the buyer realized that the print was more valuable than first thought. Archbold decided that it was only right that Gillian was rewarded for the find that he made and thus began his two-week search in the streets for Gillian. This video shows his journey of finding Gillian, and giving him a helping hand not just with money but also finding leads for a job, and reuniting Gillian with his family. 

Be sure to reach the end of this article to see the full video :-) 

Adam Gillian

Many of us have a home that is warm to be in with food and water easily available. Some people are not as fortunate. Statistics posted by the Homeless World Cup Foundation states that there is an estimated number of more than 235,000 people who experience homelessness in Canada every year and that 75% of them struggled with mental illness. Adam Gillian was one of the 75%. 

According to Absolute History, Gillian is originally from Stratford, Ontario but had moved to Edmonton to be with his family, his wife, and four children. He initially worked as a drywall laborer but life started falling apart for him when he lost the job. He struggled with depression and three of his four children were subsequently placed into foster care because he couldn’t afford to provide for them. His marriage crumbled, too.

Gillian had no home to live in and spent three years on the streets of Edmonton. On better days, he would crash on a friend’s couch or seek shelter in nearby 24-hour restaurants for a while. Not having a place to live in is tough enough on its own, but imagine being homeless in Edmonton, a place notorious for harsh winters. To make money, Gillian would look through people’s discarded items.

Gillian is what you'd call a "dumpster diver." He sorts through trash to find possible treasures. Then he goes to Curiosity Inc. and asks Alexander Archbold if he wants them.


Alexander Archbold

Archbold is the owner of Curiosity Inc. According to the about page of the YouTube channel, they are “an antique and collectibles store, a vintage motorcycle dealer” located in Edmonton, Alberta, Canada. Archbold found the company back in 2016 and first got interested in collecting antiques when he was nine years old.

One day in 2018, Gillian came into the shop carrying a plastic bag. Archbold looked through the bag to see if there was anything of value. He noticed that there was a picture of Bambi in a dirty old frame. It was the scene from the movie where Bambi is a new fawn and meets his forest friends.

Archbold thought it was kind of interesting so he bought it for $20. Maybe he could up-sell it for $100. Then he examined the picture more closely. There was a certificate of authenticity on the back, dating from 1937. The picture was not just a sweet drawing: it was an actual image used by the film's animation department!

The antique shop owner did some investigating. There were a couple of galleries that valued the image at $3,500. It was clear that Gillian deserved at least half the money: he had been the one to find it, after all!

"When I knew it was gonna sell for a lot of money, I knew it wasn't right to take it all," Archbold told CNN in an interview in 2018. Archabold ultimately sold the picture on eBay for $3,700 CAD ($2,780 USD).

He then tried to hunt down Gillian. The search proved difficult: since Gillian was experiencing homelessness, he had no address or phone number. So Archbold drove around Edmonton for about two weeks to try and find him. The father-of-three documented his journey and compiled it into an almost 22-minute video. In the video, you can see Archbold driving along the streets of Edmonton. “The problem is, I don’t know where to find him,” he says to his viewers. Archbold would drive to places where he knows Gillian frequents, and when he couldn’t find him there, he would try more hidden areas like back alleys. Archbold even added that he would drive further away to the downtown area to check if he’s living in some of the homeless shelters that were located there.

Eventually, Gillian returned to Curiosity Inc. Archbold arranged for Gillian to meet him at a motel the next day, telling him that he wanted to interview him for his YouTube channel.

Archbold met up with Gillian and gave him the $1,700 he had earned. "Wow, that's awesome," Gillian is heard saying in the video by Archbold. "I don't know what to say." That was not all: Archbold created a GoFundMe to give Gillian a plane ticket to his home in Ontario, and a place to stay off the streets.

“We didn’t mention it in this video but Adam did get the entire value of the piece,” read Archbold’s pinned comment on the video. “We used the other half for food clothes and a ticket home.”

The fundraiser got almost $8,000 over its $10,000 goal. Gillian is probably still kind of pinching himself. He is so humbled by all the kind strangers who have helped improve his life.

In the video, Archbold explained that the special empathy that he has for people who are experiencing homelessness comes from his own time living in the streets himself. “My mom worked three jobs for a while, and we didn’t have a home,” he explains to his viewers. “We struggled with poverty and homelessness ourselves when I was a kid. And for much of junior high we lived in motels.”

And that was when Archbold started getting into antiquing which eventually evolved into the full-time career that he has now. “I just wanted to have a normal life, and I have that now,” he says in his video. 

"I had to help pay my parents' bills so I had to sell antiques on the side," Archbold added to CNN.

Archbold even went as far as to help Gillian to find a possible job lead when he traveled back East to reunite with his family, a number for social services, as well as packing a sandwich for his wife. "I go through people's basements looking for stuff they don't want anymore," said Archbold. "Adam's doing the same thing. He's recycling and finding stuff." Archbold also added, "He's a very kind, humble person so I'm sure he'll have no trouble finding work," Archbold said. "I'm rooting for him."

What do you think of this inspiring story? Would you have done the same, were you in Alexander's place? Let us know in the comments and pass this article along to brighten your friends' days!

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