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How a $10 tin of paint earned an Aussie bloke $45k

9News.com.au logo 9News.com.au 11/08/2017

 Video provided by A Current Affair

A tin of paint bought for $10 at a garage sale changed one man's life - more than a decade after he took it home.

But his $45,000 payday hasn’t budged him from his outback paradise.

Lightning Ridge man Tony O'Brien was living in western Sydney more than 12 years ago when he bought a pair of one-gallon (3.8-litre) tins of house paint at an deceased estate auction.

Taking his new acquisitions home, he pried the lid off one only to find it was unusable.

"One of them was watered-down paint so it was useless, it was no good," he told A Current Affair.

Mr O'Brien left the second tin undisturbed for some years, until he eventually decided to open it up as well.

To his disgust, he found it was full of sand and, fed up, he tossed it onto a rubbish heap at the outback Lightning Ridge property where he now lived.

"I was going to toss it out one day when I was having a clean-up," Mr O'Brien said.

"And I thought, no, better keep that sand - might need it for a bit of grouting."

However, he didn't dig around in the tin yet, until returning home one day from his $10-an-hour weeding job.

"The sand wouldn't come out, it was all wet," he said.

"I put my hands in it, I felt the bottom of a bag and thought, that can't be right."

To his own disbelief, Mr O'Brien pulled out bags of money in $5000 bundles.

© Nine News

 "My jaw just fell," he said.

One further catch remained - the money was all in old Australian paper notes, rather than modern plastic.

Mr O'Brien laid it all out in his house, covering his doona, carpet and lounge.

"The doona sucked the water out (but) I had to get rid of the doona," he said.

Two days later, during which Mr O'Brien didn't dare leave his home, he re-packaged the money and took it to the bank.

He emerged $45,000 richer.

"It was surreal, unbelievable," he said.

He said the money had been life-changing, letting him buy a new fridge and freezer, a stove, and an old Holden Commodore.

The tin, meanwhile, has been decorated and takes pride of place in his lounge room.

The final twist in the tale comes with Mr O'Brien's revelation that there were four paint tins for sale at the auction that day - and he only bought two.

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