The 15 Most Bizarre Items Found in Lost Luggage in 2023

Who doesn't travel with a jar full of shark teeth?
There's some weird stuff in there.
There's some weird stuff in there. / Peter Dazeley/The Image Bank via Getty Images

One of the many perils of travel is lost luggage, a polite term for when your entire assortment of clothing, toiletries, medications, and other personal effects are engulfed by the transportation industry.

The Strangest Items Found in Lost Luggage

While you may never see your favorite shirt again, it might find new life at Unclaimed Baggage. The Scottsboro, Alabama-based business acquires luggage whose owners cannot be identified and resells their effects in-store and online. For 2023, the company decided to itemize some of the most curious finds they discovered while sorting through everyone’s stuff. Of their most fascinating, common, and expensive finds, there are 15 that are downright weird:

  1. Two live snakes
  2. A funeral casket key
  3. A mounted ram head
  4. A jar full of shark teeth
  5. Fossilized fish
  6. A Halloween card signed by Richard Nixon
  7. A 14-karate gold diamond ring worth $37,050
  8. A Hermès Birkin 25 Bag Azalee Swift Tote worth $23,500
  9. A 13-foot vaulting pole
  10. Props from Saw
  11. A “life-size” Winnie the Pooh
  12. A Medieval armor vest
  13. Habushu snake wine
  14. A mounted deer skull
  15. Water buffalo horns

Can you bring snakes on a plane?

Transporting live snakes through airports is tricky business. Generally, airlines prohibit snakes from being kept in carry-on bags, and may or may not allow them in checked baggage depending on their policy. (One traveler in 2023 found this out the hard way after it was discovered she was taking a 4-foot-long boa constrictor through a TSA checkpoint and was told the snake could not be on the plane.)

Someone is likely to have better luck carrying Habushu snake wine through. A type of Japanese rice liquor, the bottles usually come with a coiled, dead viper inside.

What happens when an airline loses your luggage?

Unclaimed Baggage began in 1970, when entrepreneur Doyle Owens decided to buy an assortment of unclaimed luggage from a Trailways bus line in Washington and resell the goods. The business later partnered with airlines to obtain their lost and unclaimed bags. By the time it reaches their inventory, airline have typically made every attempt to find the owner of the luggage and may have paid out a claim to compensate them for the loss. (Some credit cards might reimburse cardholders.)

While upsetting, it’s not terribly common. The business estimates just 0.03 percent of checked luggage is ever permanently lost. Of the possessions turned over to Unclaimed Baggage, roughly a third are able to be resold. Some items are donated, and some wind up in the Museum, which exhibits some of the stranger finds, including the goblin puppet Hoggle from 1986’s Labyrinth. The puppet was in poor shape when it was discovered in 1997: After being restored, it now greets museum visitors.

The best way to not have Hoggle and the rest of your stuff end up in their store is to make sure your luggage has a sticker or tag with your contact information on it. And it’s a good idea to put another copy inside, too, in case the outer card is lost or damaged. You could also try a GPS tag.

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[h/t Unclaimed Baggage]