When Bryan Fite decided last year to invest some sweat equity in a new central air-conditioning and heating system for his St. Joseph, Mo., home, he had no idea he would reap a possible treasure in liquid gold.
Fite thought he was just saving money by doing some of the work himself on his 1850s house when he uncovered a hidden stash of century-old whiskey bottles underneath the floorboards in his attic. At first, he thought they were tubes or oddly shaped insulated pipes.
"The house used to have steam heat so I'm thinking these are just steam pipes with some insulation on them," he told St. Joe Channel.
But when he took a closer look, Fite realized they were actually bottles of whiskey -- 13 in total and each sealed with the whiskey still inside, according to ABC News.
The whiskey was distilled between 1912 and 1913 and bottled in 1917, according to the Daily Mail. The stash included four bottles of Hellman's Celebrated Old Crow whiskey and a few bottles of Guckenheimer, a Pennsylvania rye whiskey, and W. H. McBrayer's Cedar Brook whiskey.
Fite, 40, thinks he knows who hid the bottles in the house, which dates to the 1850s, according to UPI. One former owner of the home was forced to give it up when he was sent to a sanitarium for alcoholism, Fite told ABC.
Now Fite has a possible windfall on his hands. While wine can turn to vinegar if it stays in the bottle too long, whiskey stored under the right conditions won't go bad, according to ABC News. And his find comes at a fortuitous time.
As The Huffington Post recently reported, interest in whiskey as an investment has soared over the last five years since the United States made it legal for auction houses to sell spirits. Newly rich entrepreneurs in China and Russia with money to burn are snapping up high-end whiskey along with wine and fine art.
Rare bottles have gone for as much as $200,000.
Fite, whose drink of choice is bourbon, has no plans -- for now -- to sell the antique bottles, according to UPI. He plans to wait until 2017, when the bottles turn 100, to open them with friends.
"Part of the allure for me is having them in their original state," he told ABC. "I have high expectations of what they'll taste like, and I'm afraid if I open them I'll be disappointed."
Check out this list of other lucky finds worth big bucks:
Bryan Fite, a Missouri resident, uncovered a hidden stash of <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/07/06/bryan-fite-whiskey-bottles-attic_n_1653864.html" target="_hplink">century-old whiskey</a> bottles underneath the floorboards in his attic. Rare bottles of whiskey have <a href="http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052970204452104577059792477936510.html" target="_hplink">sold</a> for as much as $200,000.
Gardeners stumbled across a number of unmarked gold bars, known as "ingots," under a bush while cutting grass in the Swiss of town of Klingnau near the German border. The 10 bars are worth an <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/07/13/swiss-gardeners-gold-ingots_n_1671689.html" target="_hplink">estimated</a> $126,000.
A Sacramento couple <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/06/19/wedding-ring-found-in-car_n_1609671.html" target="_hplink">found a 1961 wedding ring</a> between the seats of a car they had just purchased a few months earlier.
A California mom <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/05/03/brenda-salveson-meteorite_n_1473973.html" target="_hplink">found a meteorite worth </a>more than gold at a local park where she frequently brings her dog and kids.
An unemployed man <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/05/10/zachary-bodish-picasso-print-sold_n_1506836.html" target="_hplink">sold an original Picasso print</a> that he found in a thrift store for $7,000.
An unemployed Illinois man <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2011/08/31/unemployed-illinois-man-f_n_943167.html" target="_hplink">found duffle bags full of cash </a>totaling $150,000 in his backyard.
A man got down on his knees for a second time after he found his <a href="http://news.yahoo.com/couple-finds-engagement-ring-toilet-36-years-154700561.html" target="_hplink">wife's engagement ring</a> in a toilet 36 years after she had lost it.
After a family in Salt Lake City found <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2011/05/20/family-finds_n_864725.html" target="_hplink">$40,000 in cash </a>in the attic of their recently-purchased home, they returned the money to its rightful owner.
A worker in Idaho returned a diamond ring to its rightful owner after finding the treasure <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/04/13/idaho-woman-mechelle-reig_n_1422529.html" target="_hplink">in a sewer</a>. The owner thought she had lost it forever when she accidentally flushed it down the toilet.
Federal Way Quality Control Officer Shea Munroe stumbled upon an <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/11/20/salvador-dali-etching-fou_n_2164427.html" target="_hplink">etching by famed surrealist painter Salvador Dali at a Goodwill</a> in Tacoma, Wash. The thrift store find would go on to sell for $21,005 in an online auction.
Cheryl Gavazzi was shopping at Marshalls in Beverly, Mass. when a purse caught her eye. But what was inside the purse -- <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/11/20/cheryl-gavazzi-returns-cash-found-in-handbag_n_2164579.html?utm_hp_ref=money" target="_hplink">$11,000 in cash</a> -- is what really got her attention. She would hand over the bag to the police, who found the original owner who said the money was being used to build a church in Guatemala.
How's this for a page turner: A Wellesley, Mass. man found $20,000 in cash hidden in the pages of a book he discovered at a used book-swap. The man has asked to remain anonymous but said anyone with info on the books rightful owner could contact him at <a href="Ipatimga2005@comcast.net" target="_hplink">Ipatimga2005@comcast.net</a>.
An 8-year-old boy named Charlie Naysmith made a strange -- and pricey -- discovery when walking along the Hengistbury Head beach in Great Britain. Thinking he'd stumbled upon a yellow rock, <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/08/28/charlie-naysmith-whale-vomit_n_1837241.html" target="_hplink">Naysmith had actually found ambergris</a>, a substance barfed or pooped up by sperm whales. The piece is estimated to be worth upwards of $63,000.
Karl Kissner of Toledo, Ohio found a <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/08/02/honus-wagner-ty-cobb-baseball-cards_n_1735636.html" target="_hplink">collection of baseball cards in his grandfather's attic</a> that fetched a tremendous sum. The 37 baseball cards featuring the likes of Hall of Famers Ty Cobb, Cy Young and Honus Wagner fetched $566,132 during bidding.