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Common Items Most People Don’t Know Are Valuable

TristaSeptember 15, 2018

If you plan to help clean out your parent’s or grandparent’s basements, attics, and garages, don’t give away all of their stuff before reading this article. You never know if your objects are worth hundreds or even thousands of dollars. Keep in mind that your objects’ condition and rarity have a lot to do with their value, so not everything in these categories is considered valuable.

For example, some comic books might be worth pennies, while others are worth a half-million dollars. So don’t become a hoarder by holding on to worthless junk, hoping that everything you own will be worth a fortune someday. All it takes is a little bit of homework to figure out what it’s worth. If you’re not sure just how much your objects are worth, download the eBay app and check out “sold” listings to see what items are going for regularly. These are 55 things you might find in your attic that are worth a pretty penny.

Magic the Gathering cards are highly collectible. Credit: Dicebreaker

55. Magic the Gathering Cards

The popular collectible card game (CCG) Magic the Gathering launched in the early 1990s and never looked back, seeming to gain in popularity or at least hold steady for the next two decades. Much like Yu-Gi-Oh! or Pokemon, there are many Magic the Gathering cards worth pennies or even less, wildly unpopular common cards and basic lands. However, thanks to a flourishing international tournament scene, Magic the Gathering not only has old rare cards that are expensive but constantly releases new cards that sell on the secondary market for as much as $100 and possibly even more.

Large lots of magic cards can sell for hundreds of dollars. Credit: eBay

Magic the Gathering has the most expensive rare card of any collectible card game out there: the fabled Black Lotus. Only printed in the relatively small Alpha, Beta, and Unlimited editions of the game, the compelling card is valued as part of the “Power Nine” of rare and powerful cards popular for tournament decks. An Alpha Black Lotus is considered the rarest card in the game and the most valuable, sold at auction for over $150,000. While it’s unlikely you’ll ever stumble across one in a thrift store due to the low number printed, Magic cards are always worth checking out.

Polly Pocket playsets are highly sought after. Credit: Collater.al

54. Polly Pocket

Every little girl in the 1990s either had or wanted their own Polly Pocket set. The adorable minuscule doll came with a variety of tiny homes and hangouts that all, as the name implied, could fit in your pocket, which made them relatively inexpensive and fun to carry around. With ’90s nostalgia in full gear, all things Polly Pocket are now quite collectible and fetching some crazy prices on eBay. While the toys are the most valuable, even merchandise like pencil cases with the Polly Pocket branding on them are getting hundreds of dollars, so check your attic or basement.

Vintage playsets of the tiny doll can sell for big bucks. Credit: Don’t Waste Your Money

Part of the scarcity of Polly Pocket playsets is thanks to the diminutive size. Children don’t have an excellent track record with losing things, especially tiny things, so many Polly Pocket sets are lost to the ages buried in playground sandpits or tossed out with the trash. The pint-sized doll of Polly herself was most likely to be lost. If you have a Polly Pocket set, definitely check eBay for a price before donating or gifting it to a child. You may just be able to get a very modern-sized paycheck for that retro 1990s toy.

Vintage band t-shirts maintain their value over time. Credit: WyCoVintage

53. Vintage Band Shirts

If there’s one thing Zoomers love, it’s nostalgic 1990s and 2000s music like Nirvana, The Used, and more. In particular, post-punk music is experiencing a resurgence in popularity as Millennials grow nostalgic for their high school jams, and younger people find them as “oldies” treasures. Browse Hot Topic or even Target nowadays, and you’ll find Green Day and Nirvana shirts that look straight out of 1998. Thanks to this resurgence in popularity, vintage band t-shirts are fetching vast sums of money online, especially shirts from famous concerts or limited-edition releases that coincided with special events or album releases.

Tour t-shirts can be especially valuable. Credit: Rocker Rags

It can require some research and sometimes even detailed knowledge of a band to know which shirts will be collectible. One of the most expensive band shirts ever sold was a Nirvana In Utero tour shirt that was only given out to members of the tour, making it a scarce item. Shirts from early gigs of bands that later made it massive tend to have a correspondingly tremendous value since it’s an item from “before they made it” and limited in quantity. If you want to hunt for valuable band shirts, try starting with a band you know and love since you’ll come forearmed with knowledge.

Cookie jars used to be all the rage in vintage kitchens. Credit: LoveToKnow

52. Cookie Jars

Decorate cookie jars were trendy household items in much of the early and mid-20th century. Moms would often bake fresh batches of cookies and store them in elaborately-decorated and brightly-painted jars, often either fashioned after famous cartoon characters or fun child-pleasing images like gnomes or mushrooms. As store-bought cookies with their own containers became more and more popular, the popularity and utility of cookie jars waned, leading to a significant decline in the number of containers being designed. It’s rare to see cookie jars now, with few being produced for that specific use, rather than just made as generic jars.

Cookie jars were often bright and featured fun characters. Credit: Pinterest

Since it has been some time since cookie jars were popularly made, if you find a cookie jar, the odds are it will be vintage or even antique. In particular, cookie jars from the 1940s and 1950s are precious as that was the heyday of branded cookie jars featuring iconic characters from movies and cartoons. For a cookie jar to fetch top dollar, it must be in pristine shape, which is rare. Think of how likely it is for a hungry child to chip or crack a cookie jar after years of reaching into it for an afternoon snack.

Some Disney VHS tapes are worth big money. Credit: WKMG

51. VHS Tapes

While this may seem strange to the many of us who have worked hard to entirely remove old videotapes from our homes after years of gathering dust in basements and attics worldwide, people seek to buy VHS tapes, even in 2021. Old readers may remember the joy of getting one of the puffy, brightly colored Disney VHS tapes for Christmas or a birthday. Those same classic tapes in the goofy cases are now a collector’s item, with copies of less popular movies like Brandy’s Cinderella selling for $100 or more. That’s almost as good as a glass slipper.

VHS tapes of rare or unreleased movies can be expensive. Credit: WVLT

On the slightly darker side, there is a lucrative trade in VHS movies that were banned or never released in the United States, like graphic horror movies. Any film that never made it to digital release or even DVD release, for whatever reason, fetch a premium for those who wish to see and likely digitize the film for their own use and possible release. Spicier films of the adult genre can also fetch high prices, especially for films that were again either banned or unreleased in the United States. Sadly, there still is no market for all of our VHS home movies.

Vintage Christmas decor has a real sense of magic and value. Credit: All Things Christmas

50. Vintage Christmas Decor

Christmas in the mid and early 20th century was a truly stunning affair. Homemakers meticulously decorated houses and fresh Christmas trees with magical, glistening ornaments, some of which even moved, and clumps of beautiful tinsel that seemed like something out of a fairytale. While Christmas is still gorgeous today, many of the delicate (and sometimes toxic) ornaments of the past century simply can’t be matched. It seems many Christmas enthusiasts agree, and vintage Christmas decor, especially Christmas tree bulbs and garlands, fetch extremely high prices as collector’s items, especially when still in their original festive packaging, be it boxes or bags.

Colorful and unique items are often the most valuable. Credit: Kelly Elko

We can go out and buy a giant plastic tub of similarly plastic ornaments for 20 dollars or less today. However, Christmas ornaments were once quite elaborate and expensive, being made of delicately hand-blown glass. They were often manufactured in Germany, where Christmas trees originated as a tradition. Not many of these ornaments have survived through the years due to their extreme fragility (and likely cats knocking them off trees), so the oldest hand blown ornaments can cost thousands. Mercury glass bulbs and spinner bulbs that use the heat of light bulbs to spin little fans are easier to find but can still cost as much as an entire tub of new ornaments or more.

Lunch boxes from classic tv shows are becoming quite rare. Credit: Pinterest

49. Lunch Boxes

Who among us didn’t have a branded lunch box with our favorite princesses or heroes on it growing up? Even our parents would have proudly trotted off to school with a Flintstone’s or Lone Ranger lunch box, probably metal, while ours were, of course, plastic. Nowadays, these lunch boxes are fetching a pretty penny, and one collector estimates that some of them are selling for as much as 10,000 times the original retail sales price. Of course, not all lunch boxes are rare or iconic enough to fetch these prices, but most vintage lunchboxes in good shape are worth at least as much as they cost initially, if not more.

Lunch boxes from beloved franchises can be especially valuable. Credit: Pinterest

Vintage lunch boxes from the 1950s and 1960s are, naturally, the most expensive since they are the oldest and remain in the fewest numbers due to destruction and loss over time. However, iconic newer brands like Polly Pocket and Lisa Frank have a nostalgic value that has driven the price up as collectibles. It is believed the most expensive lunch box ever sold was a mint condition 1954 Superman lunchbox, putting Superman at the top of another list of most expensive items alongside the most expensive comic books. If you have a cool lunch box from your childhood, don’t toss it.

The Apple II is now worth more than a new computer. Credit: YouTube

48. Old Apple Products

Millennials will likely cry a little when remembering their first computer lab filled with green-screened Apple III computers since that computer lab would now be worth thousands if not even hundreds of thousands of dollars. While most schools would have trashed their old Apples decades ago, those who saved them are sitting on a goldmine now, with Apple III units selling for as much now as they did when they were brand new cutting-edge technology. Even older Apple II has been selling for as much as $5,000 at auction, making it more expensive than today’s most excellent gaming computer.

The very first iPod is now a collector’s item. Credit: YouTube

In addition to the somewhat antique Apple computers, first-generation iPods are now selling for an absolute mint. In 2019, a first-generation original iPod sold for over $2,000. Now, they’re being listed for as high as $16,000. The original iPod was truly a revolution for listening to music, although they’ve been replaced by the functionality of services like Spotify and our cell phones for most of us. However, true audiophiles are still finding much value, apparently thousands worth, in the iPod’s original and simplest iterations. Steve Jobs would undoubtedly be incredibly proud of this.

Old steamer trunks are popular decor. Credit: Instructables

47. Old Trunks

When immigration and travel by boat and wagon were far more common, large steamer trunks were also standard and used to store clothing and household items for long voyages by sea or overland on the backs of covered wagons. Some of these trunks can be worth a lot of money if made by noteworthy furniture makers or survived a fascinating voyage. Even the most modest old cedar wood chests are typically worth at least a few hundred dollars as a place to store family heirlooms or blankets in exquisite, historical fashion.

Cedar trunks are especially beloved for storing linens. Credit: Instructables

Trunks from the mid-1800s were built hardy enough to withstand wagon travel. These are particularly valuable since they are so strong and durable. Finding one that has documented proof of making an Oregon Trail or California gold rush voyage would have a tremendous financial and historical value. Designer trunks were also a popular item in centuries past, with even great clothing studios like Louis Vuitton making fine wood chests. If you manage to find a designer chest, you are easily looking at several thousand dollars. Chests made from cedar wood are especially popular thanks to their characteristic smell that many value in storing vintage blankets and bedding.

Vintage egg baskets are useful and make great decor. Credit: Antique Mystique

46. Egg Baskets

Egg baskets likely seem odd to most people who simply buy their dozen eggs every week or two at the grocery store. It probably seems to most people that it’s always been this way. However, egg baskets were once widely manufactured due to the widespread prevalence of flocks of chickens in rural America. Before World War II, many American homes produced their supply of eggs, and a solid, trusty egg basket was a must for harvesting the fresh breakfast nuggets every morning. A good egg basket is wire and made with holes just large enough to cushion eggs when dropped in.

Under the rustic charm of egg baskets lies true utility. Credit: Pinterest

It may seem like just a novelty to many with the rapid increase in popularity of keeping backyard flocks of chickens. However, even in urban areas, a vintage egg basket is quickly becoming a hot commodity, both for nostalgic decor and for actual use picking up eggs. While they were once virtually useless, and would at best self or a few dollars as garden decor, egg baskets that still have their original paint and are rust-free are now selling for $25 to $50 each in areas with lots of chicken keepers. You shouldn’t count your eggs before they hatch, but count on egg baskets to turn a profit.

Galvanized steel basins are popular for use and decor. Credit: WorthPoint

45. Vintage Galvanized Metal

Galvanized metal is omnipresent on any farm, with the characteristic looking metal being used for milking pails, animal waterers, storage tubs, and more. Galvanized steel is lightweight and very rustproof, making it ideal for all sorts of messy outdoor farm and gardening uses. The characteristic speckled appearance of the metal is immediately recognizable and nostalgic for many people who grew up on farms or in rural areas. Thanks to that nostalgia, vintage galvanized steel objects have a considerable amount of resale value as shabby chic decor. Even chicken waterers can be repurposed as decor pieces and fetch far more than their original asking price.

Old galvanized pieces are valuable for rustic and shabby chic decor. Credit: Pinterest

For working farms, vintage galvanized steel pieces are still popular due to the quality of their construction. Thanks to the galvanization process, in which zinc bonds with the metal and makes it resistant to rust and corrosion, many vintage pieces of galvanized steel farm equipment are still in great shape and useful. Galvanized chicken waterers and feeders are quite expensive new at farm supply stores. However, vintage pieces can be sold for similar or even higher prices to rural and backyard chicken farmers. Much like egg baskets, they are old-fashioned items that see renewed popularity as people resurrect older ways of life.

Some of yesteryear’s Happy Meal toys are now collector’s items. Credit: Throwbacks

44. Happy Meal Toys

Happy Meal Toys have been a fixture of children’s lives and a source of much joy or resentment if you didn’t get the one you wanted for decades. While many of the McDonald’s happy meals toys were so widely mass-produced that they have little value, a handful of less popular or limited time toys are now quite collectible, especially if they are in excellent condition. As with most toy collectibles, to fetch the truly premium price, the toy needs to be in the original packaging, which in the case of most Happy Meal toys is the original plastic bag.

These blasts from the past may now have real value. Credit: Bleeding Cool

Unfortunately for Beanie Babies collectors, the Happy Meal Beanie Babies have retained about as much value as the rest of the Beanie Babies, which is to say almost none. However, a 1990s Inspector Gadget Happy Meal toy could net you a couple of hundred dollars. Similarly, a set of squeezie Mr. Potatohead rubber toys that could easily double as bath time toys could also get a few hundred dollars. The rarest of happy meal toys have been known to sell for over $500, so if you ever find a vintage Happy Meal toy in the original bag, it’s worth picking up.

These furry toys were once all the rage for Christmas toys. Credit: Southern Living

43. Furbies

Furbies were all the rage at one point, with a Tickle Me Elmo-like ferocity to the groups of parents looking for the toy to ensure Christmas joy for their little ones. The creepy little creatures had a huge secondary market at the time, with parents willing to shell out hundreds to ensure one was waiting under the tree come Christmas morning. As with most of the “hot” must-have toy trends, children quickly lost interest in Furbies, and they became a joke and buzzword largely for the era. However, as with many other items on this list, nostalgia is starting to have an impact.

The original white Furby is quite rare now. Credit: Pinterest

Furbies are now gaining a kind of ironic cool, with artists purchasing old Furbies and recreating them into creepy or cute new types of monsters through arts and crafts. There are instructables for “longifying” your Furby, in which a long, tubelike body is made for the Furby. Others upgrade their Furby through paint and handmade resin eyes. Of all of the Furbies, the white Furby is the most elusive and currently has the highest secondary market value. The white Furby was only produced in the toy’s initial run and is considerably rarer than any other color, leading some to have sold for as much as $800.

Vintage guitars are not only cool but also quite valuable. Credit: Guitar.com

42. Guitars

Young people with dreams of rebellion and Rock n’ Roll music have asked for guitars for Christmases and birthdays for decades. If your parents or grandparents still have theirs, it may well be worth a great deal of money now. While guitars are never cheap, even new, some vintage guitar models are now worth fortunes. Vintage guitars, in general, were built with higher quality materials than today’s introductory or student models and therefore fetch relatively higher prices when sold on the secondary market. If the guitar is from a recognized brand like Fender or Gibson, it will sell for even more money.

Certain models can be worth thousands. Credit: Vintage Guitar Masters

The Gibson Telecaster line of guitars is particularly beloved by musicians, and old models can cost as much as a used car. A 1953 Telecaster sold at auction for around $10,000. To note, that is just for the guitar in good condition. If you manage to find a signed guitar or be verified as having been played by a famous musician, you’re looking at vastly more money. Though, any vintage guitar is worth a trip to your local music store for an appraisal as they could very well be worth at least a few hundred to as much as a few thousand if they’re in good condition.

Some models of old cell phones are quite collectible. Credit: USA Today

41. Old Cellphones

If you thought the secondary market for old Apple II and III computers and the first generation iPod was strange, wait until you find out the prices some people are shelling out for the horrifying huge, clunky old cell phones of yesteryear. Most of us cringe when we think about our first cellphone, with its black and white pixelated screen and no internet connection. However, some of the earliest models of cellphones are quickly becoming collector’s items with real historical and financial value. Some of the oldest cellphones are now selling for more than the newest iPhones.

The Motorola DynaTAC. Credit: eBay

Back when they were still often called “car phones” and came with a massive battery charging pack that the phone had to be attached to, cellphones were a real luxury that few people other than celebrities and wealthy business people could obtain. Now, those early models are starting to sell for luxury prices once again—a 1983 Motorola DynaTAC 8000x phone sold at auction for over $500. While your old Motorola Razr from high school might not be hitting those heights yet, if you have an old cell phone stored away somewhere, it could be worth brand-new cellphone kind of money.

Copper cookware is making a big comeback and even used pieces sell for good money. Credit: William Sonoma on Pinterest

40. Copper Cookware

Copper is making a huge comeback, and nearly every store with a home goods section is trying to peddle the fake stuff. Some people are willing to pay big bucks for vintage French copper pots, pans, and other kitchen items because they are both fashionable and great to cook with. The popularity of the copper serving mug for the Moscow Mule mixed drink is also helping to fuel the copper craze, with vintage real copper mugs being trendy as well. Any vintage decor or kitchen piece you can find made of natural copper likely has value both in terms of collectors and just copper weight, with copper being costly by weight now.

Do you have copper pots and pans at your house? Credit: MyRecipes

If you ever come across vintage copper cookware, it may have already started to turn black from age, but that doesn’t mean it’s ruined. The beautiful thing about real copper is that you can always polish it until it is shiny again. Depending on the brand and condition, real copper cookware can sell second-hand for $50 per piece up to several hundred dollars per piece. If an item is vintage or especially if it’s antique, do not attempt to remove the aging or patina as you may destroy precisely what gives the item its value. Do your research before trying to polish old metals.

This set of vintage playing cards from the Netherlands sold for $200 in 2018. Credit: eBay

39. Playing Cards

Anyone can pick up a box of playing cards at the dollar store, so this is one of the easiest items to overlook and toss in the trash. If you find a truly unique or rare set of vintage playing cards, there are collectors out there who are willing to pay hundreds and even thousands of dollars to buy them. Just make sure the deck is complete and that the set you are trying to sell is, in fact, rare. The cards also need to be in good shape with no bends, tears, or rubbing of the art or numbers.

The older the deck, the better. Credit: eBay

In general, the older the set of playing cards, the higher the value will be. Unusual artwork like exotic animals or a Halloween art theme will be in higher demand than traditional art or abstractly patterned backs. Cards with handpainted art are vastly more desirable than printed cards, as they are considerably rarer. Limited editions of Bicycle brand cards are popular since they have been the standard for card players for decades. Unusual decks such as French Tarot cards can be quite valuable, and certain decks of Tarot cards can be in high demand depending on the subject matter of the art.

First edition books can sell for a lot. Credit: Pexels

38. First-Edition Books

Before you donate any old books, take a peek at the first page with the publishing information to see if they are first edition, first printing. Books written by famous authors like Ernest Hemingway can fetch a pretty penny, and they usually sell online for several hundred dollars. If you’re fortunate, you may even find a rare gem that could be sold at auction for thousands. If you find a book that you think maybe rare, check out websites like Abebooks to compare prices. It can vary by age, but a common way to identify first editions is the presence of the numbers 10 through 1 backward with the text “first edition” underneath.

First editions of popular books like The Lord of the Rings are worth thousands. Credit: AbeBooks

While it may seem like only old first editions would have value, many modern books that gain in popularity after being adapted to film or screen often become extremely expensive in first edition format. The Game of Thrones books by George R. R. Martin is a great example, with the first editions of the first book in the series selling for hundreds of dollars, with autographed copies being even more expensive. Harry Potter first editions are also quite expensive, as well as many Steven King books. Thrift stores are an excellent source for first editions as few have the time to check each book.

Sometimes, large lots of jewelry can sell for big prices. Credit: Sweet & Spark

37. Costume Jewelry

When some people find an old collection of costume jewelry, they often assume it’s worthless since none of it is real gold. There are many people out there who collect vintage costume jewelry because they want to use it for crafting, or they want to get it for a discount in a lot so they can resell it later. Take a magnifying glass and see if you can recognize designer costume jewelry brands like Monet and Trifari. If you would instead not go through all of it piece by piece, you can put the whole lot up on eBay and let it go to auction.

Unique and colorful pieces can fetch premium prices. Credit: Invaluable

Large collections of costume jewelry regularly go for well over $100, especially if there are unique shapes and figures or unusual colors of rhinestones. Halloween jewelry, much like old decor and postcards, tend to sell for more than other holidays, although Christmas Tree pins from brands like Trifari still hold more value than most other costume jewelry pieces. Jewelry crafted in unusual shapes, like Native American portraits, candelabras, or exotic animals, tend to sell for the highest prices since they likely didn’t sell as well at the time of their making, unlike more common shapes such as roses or birds.

There are a plethora of Legos out there, some worth a lot of coin. Credit: ABC News

36. Legos

Nearly everyone played with Legos as a kid, at least briefly. If you and your parents accumulated a collection over the years, don’t just give it away. Specific figurines can be rare and sought-after by Lego collectors. Individual figures from famous franchises like Star Wars can go for $10, and extremely rare ones can even go for $1,000 or more. If you don’t feel like taking the time to search through all of the individual prices, you can put all of your Legos online in one big lot and see how much they fetch on an eBay auction.

Even new Legos retain their value. Credit: Texas AFT

Even the most common Lego pieces still have value, and many people sell parts by the pound for a set price to people who like to build huge items or even make art with Legos. Legos have a high enough retail sale price to retain a reliable assessment used, as long as they remain undamaged and clean. There are countless YouTube channels and websites dedicated to Legos, including collecting them and the values of various pieces, so make sure you check out some Lego information before parting with your beloved childhood collection to ensure you get a fair price.

Collectors want dolls and accessories in pristine condition. Credit: Pinterest

35. My Little Pony 

If you grew up in the ’80s and ’90s, you probably played with the vintage My Little Pony toys. The TV series came back in a big way, making these toys collectible and sought-after by both new and old fans. Some rare toys can be worth several hundred dollars. The only catch is, you need to know the name of the pony you have for you to research its value correctly. (Making a title like “Pink Pony With Blue Hair” just won’t cut it.) As with most collectibles, misprints and special editions often have the highest values, with items in plastic fetching a premium.

My Little Pony fans are serious about their collections. Credit: Pinterest

If you own some vintage ponies but have no idea what they are called, check out the StrawberryReef identification guide. Once you find a match, look for “sold” listings on eBay to see what they go for. If you’ve seen Bob’s Burgers episode “The Equestranauts,” you know just how ruthless pony collectors can be, as the episode depicts a fan tricking a little girl out of her toy horse due to its rarity. Bronies, or male My Little Pony collectors, are serious fans and will shell out serious cash for the rarest of the rare plastic toy ponies.

Comic book collectors amass huge collections. Credit: Kreefield on Comics

34. Comics

As we mentioned in the introduction, not all comics are created equal. For a comic book to be worth a lot of money, they need to be in perfect- and we mean perfect condition. Serious collectors who pay big bucks want them to be certified by an authenticity company like CGC who will grade the quality and seal the comic. The only catch is that it usually costs around $75 to get this done. It is worth the price if it means selling your comic for thousands of dollars, but you run the risk of sending it away only to find out that it’s in such bad condition that you just paid $75 to grade a $20 comic.

Vintage comics in mint condition can be a great find. Credit: SyFy

Basically, if you find an old comic book collection, you need to take a lot of time to learn about the industry to understand its value entirely. If you would instead not take the time to do all of that, call your nearest comic book store and ask if they buy collections. You may get one flat price in exchange for everything. For newer comics, look for alternative art covers of popular indie comics that see a spike in popularity, like The Umbrella Academy for premium values. Promotional and signed comics from newer indie lines can also sell well.

Vinyl records can be valuable, as long as they are in good condition. Credit: Pixabay

33. Vinyl Records

Record players are making a comeback, and some audiophiles swear that vinyl is the only way they want to listen to music. Similar to comic books, vinyl records are graded for their quality. After all, no one wants to buy an album only to discover that it’s full of scratches. Some people purchase vinyl purely because it has cool artwork, as well. At a flea market, you may only get $1 for each record you sell. However, if you know you have a treasured piece, it’s worth checking eBay. You just may find a gem, like a rare Nirvana record that sold for $25,000.

Don’t toss out that vinyl collection! Credit: Access Self Storage

Bands that become popular in a retro sense and experience a resurgence in popularity like My Chemical Romance can see the price of their original vinyl skyrocket as new releases and reprints come out that drive interest in the originals. Pay attention to music trends and keep an eye on any bands’ vinyl making a comeback, as people will pay a premium to listen to them in their “original” glory on vinyl. Promotional and collector’s releases tend to retain their value or even increase over time depending on the size of the release so that these items can be excellent finds as well.

Second-hand clothing sells on apps like Poshmark and eBay. Credit: Pexels

32. Designer Clothing and Purses

It may be common sense to some people that vintage clothing and purses can be valuable, but it’s still worth mentioning. Keep in mind that the condition of the clothes needs to be like-new. Usually, people only want to buy designer name brands or styles that are difficult to find. Prices vary drastically. Check out apps like Poshmark to see what your clothes are reselling for. Larger sizes of vintage clothing will always be able to fetch more since people were only slimmer and smaller in past eras, and fewer people can wear the clothing now. A size small of a 1940s dress, for example, will have a very narrow market today.

Vintage racks can have hidden treasures. Credit: TUC

If you are not experienced with selling purses, be careful. Selling fake designer clothes and bags is illegal, and your eBay account can get banned if you are caught selling anything less than authentic. It may be better to send your pieces somewhere like The RealReal, which has professional authenticators on staff who may be willing to consign your articles for you. Even if an item isn’t designer, if made of high-quality materials like real leather or wool, it could resell nicely to people who want sustainable, long-lasting clothing. Vintage leather jackets are also trendy.

Petroliana signs are very popular. Credit: RJ Signs on Pinterest

31. Vintage Signs

If you have ever seen an American Pickers episode, you will already know that signs can be big-ticket items. Whether it’s made of neon lights, wood, or metal, any sign can sometimes look fantastic hanging on someone’s wall. Specific brands do well, like gasoline and car companies. Just watch out for those pesky reproductions. If you stumble across a valuable sign, your best bet is to call your local antique dealers to find someone who would be interested in taking it off your hands. Popular brands like car manufacturers, alcohol producers, farm equipment, and other “man cave” type items can be especially expensive.

Old signs, when authentic, can be extremely valuable. Credit: MyBarnwoodFrames

The vintage sign field’s major drawback is the frequency of finding reproductions or only new items that are manufactured in a vintage style. These may even be “antiqued” or distressed and eerily resemble authentic antiques, so it’s essential to do your homework and learn the telltale signs of actual original signs. It is especially true for Coca Cola signs, as they are one of the most reproduced types of signs available. It’s almost impossible to find a Coca Cola “vintage” sign that is genuinely vintage and not a modern reproduction, mainly if it depicts a holiday logo or any of the classic vintage logos.

All kinds of artwork can be re-sold online. Credit: Better Homes and Gardens

30. Artwork

Everyone knows that some artwork is worth a fortune, but many people assume that since they know their parents never purchased priceless pieces from a museum, it should get donated right away. Remember that some people collect work from vintage artists, and you never know if someone wants to buy those older pieces until you do a quick check online. Even out-of-print IKEA artwork is sometimes sold second-hand because people are kicking themselves for not buying it when they had the chance. Even if the art you find is repulsive, it can sometimes still sell for something. If you want a good laugh, search “outsider art” on eBay.

You won’t find a Van Gogh, but original art can still be valuable. Credit: Artist’s Network

Any piece that looks to be an original should be checked for a signature and date with fine art. It is very uncommon to find original art, so any piece is worth investigating carefully if it is a regionally or nationally noted artist. Even if the artist is relatively obscure, old handpainted artwork can still sell for a decent amount. One way to check for originals is to take a jeweler’s loupe or strong magnifying glass and review the telltale sign of ink dots that signify a print. However, prints can also have quite a bit of value, with images from artists like Maxfield Parrish still selling for hundreds of dollars in vintage frames.

Lladro figurines can sell for thousands of dollars. Credit: Invaluable

29. Ceramic Figures

Nowadays, ceramic figures are not something that most young people want, especially if they are trying to be minimalists. When we see them, they automatically give off grandma vibes. We call them “knick-knacks” or “tchotchkes,” but sometimes, people accidentally give away expensive figurines without realizing what they’re worth. Brands like Hummel and Lladro can sometimes resell for hundreds of dollars per piece. Just beware of fakes, because they are everywhere.  Reproductions have long been the scourge of collectible markets, and ceramic figures are no different. Many factories, often in China, make cheap reproductions of models that had high original sale values.

Some brands of figures sell better than others. Credit: Pinterest

When looking for ceramic figures, be aware that some brands like Hummel and Precious Moments are rapidly losing value. Why? Because the Silent Generation and Boomer collectors who loved them are passing away and leaving extensive collections to people who aren’t interested in them. Then, they end up flooding the market with countless copies of the mass-produced items. Anyone looking to make money off figures should look to older brands like Majolica and interesting subject matters like mythological creatures, exotic animals, or Halloween-themed figures. Collectors will often pay a premium for unusual figures, while the more commonplace models like a young child on a swing or a cute dog are bland and far less valuable.

Fine China comes in a lot of different patterns. There are some that are worth more than others. Credit: AP News

28. Sets of China

Everyone has heard of the term “fine China,” but it sounds outdated. Some people may think that no one has those around anymore…but they do. Brands like Lenox, Spode, Homer Laughlin, Quimper, and Royal Doulton have a hardcore fanbase, and unusual pieces can fetch a premium price. If collectors of a particular pattern break a plate, they are willing to pay high costs to get their matching details back, so they have a complete set. Individual Lenox pieces can sometimes sell for $40 each, with unusual themes and holiday patterns being popular and valuable.

Lenox china sets are quite popular with collectors. Credit: WorthPoint

If you find a set of china, pay special attention to the dinner plates. Dinner plates are some of the most used and often show signs of scratches and wear in the plate’s center. Collectors will pay premium prices for dinnerware that doesn’t show any of these typical wear signs. Look for pieces that are commonly broken, such as cups with delicate handles or items with sharp edges that would be easy to chip. If it looks easy to break, it likely is, and collectors will have a more challenging time finding those pieces that would have routinely broken during use.

Watches are sometimes worth a lot of money. Credit: Pexels

27. Watches

Nearly everyone knows that Rolex and Cartier watches are valuable, but there are so many other little-known brands out there that still sell for a lot of money, too. If you happen to find an old watch, never give it away without doing a little research first. You never know if you could make a few hundred bucks. Even if the timepiece isn’t working, the internal mechanisms could still be quite valuable for people who are into the clock and watch repair. While uncommon to find these days, pocket watches are also precious among vintage fashion collectors and watch and clock collectors.

Vintage watches can be a great investment. Credit: WatchGecko

If you’re interested in vintage watches, this is another collectible field that requires some research and education before diving in, as even vintage watches tend to be priced relatively high regardless of their real value. Many vintage watches are quite valuable, but you don’t want to shell out hundreds of dollars for a model that happened to be mass-produced or contained a faulty or low-quality mechanism. Many YouTube channels and websites are dedicated to vintage watch collecting that includes a wealth of information on historic brands and instruments for both the fashion collector and those interested in clockwork parts.

Collections of rare Disney pins can sell for thousands of dollars. Credit: Disney Trippers

26. Disney Pins

If you have ever visited Disney World or Disneyland, you might have noticed that park employees have lanyards filled with pins. There is a policy that any park guest can approach an employee and trade a pin with them. Some people love this system, and some people have amassed a considerable collection of Disney pins over the years. These collectors are willing to hang over large amounts of money for the ones they want. For example, the “Hidden Mickey” pin from 1971 sold for $12,000, and a complete collection of princesses sold for $8,450.

Vintage or rare pins are extra valuable. Credit: Kids On A Plane

Many different types of pins are popular collector items thanks to their small size and ease of display on a wall or shelf, but few pin collections bring the weight of Disney fandom to bear as well. In general, Disney memorabilia tends to fetch higher prices than many other fandoms, with vintage 1990s Disney VHS tapes even selling for surprisingly high prices. Any pins associated with trendy films like The Little Mermaid or The Lion King are quite valuable, and pins related to limited time events. Older and nostalgic pins also fetch premium prices.

Vintage video games can be valuable. Credit: DealingSonnet on Pinterest

25. Vintage Video Games

There are plenty of old video games filling up bargain bins, and they aren’t worth very much at all because thousands of copies were made. However, the old games made for Atari and the original NES can cost a lot of money because many of them are incredibly rare. Large arcade machines are valuable as well and usually sell for several hundred dollars. If all you have is a collection of old Madden and FIFA games, sadly, you’re out of luck, but if you see exciting art or unusual names in any of the titles, you may have some money on your shelf.

Retro games from the 80s and 90s are collectible now. Credit: YouTube

Even for more modern systems like the Nintendo GameCube from the early 2000s, there are rare games that can quickly sell for as much as $100. Games that are especially beloved or popular like Harvest Moon and Pokémon titles can sell for quite a bit, like smaller releases like the first Paper Mario game. Japanese Roleplaying Games (JRPGs) often retain much value since they tend to be released in smaller numbers and are especially valuable on vintage systems like the PlayStation and PlayStation 2. If you come across interesting looking games, make sure you check eBay or Amazon before giving them away.

Fashion designers and costume makers use vintage patterns to make garments. Credit: VintageGirl68

24. Sewing Patterns

If you’re not a crafty person, you may have no idea what a sewing pattern even is. It is an envelope filled with very fragile pieces of paper ironed and laid on top of the fabric so that people can cut the pieces and sew them together to make clothing. Fashion designers, crafters, and costume makers buy sewing patterns all the time. While they were far more prevalent in past eras when clothing was costly to purchase new, sewing patterns are still made today and sold in Walmart, hobby stores, and more for those who continue to enjoy making their own clothing.

Don’t toss out those old sewing patterns! Credit: Tom + Lorenzo

In particular, Vogue Paris is still incredibly popular, and some of the vintage patterns are worth $75 to $100. Tragically, when people find these in their grandma’s sewing room, they usually get thrown away. If you ever find a collection, do a quick search of the brand and serial number on Etsy to see their value. Any sewing patterns for particularly distinctive midcentury or “mod” fashion are likely to be especially valuable, like luxurious old gown patterns. It is rare to find sewing patterns that are still sealed, so any that are in mint condition like that would be especially valuable to a collector.

One of the original Wizard of Oz movie posters sold for over $1,000. Credit: Fortune

23. Vintage Posters

Paper is tough to keep in good condition over the years without getting wrinkled, ripped, faded, or thrown away. So if you find old political or movie posters in an old house, never throw them out without checking their value first. Individual movie posters are so rare that they can go for thousands of dollars. However, vintage movie posters are a popular market for reproduction items, so make sure the poster you’re trying to sell isn’t a modern reproduction of vintage art. If a sign seems too pristine and clean to be true, it probably is a reproduction and not the original.

Posters for iconic or cult films are especially collectible. Credit: RetroGraphik

Hit films like The Wizard of Oz and Star Wars, of course, produced many more posters than less popular movies, but they still have much value based on how beloved they are and how many people want the posters. On the other hand, posters for more obscure films can still have much value thanks to fewer being produced even though a buyer may be slightly harder to find. Posters for any banned or controversial films may be quite valuable, as are posters for adult films with erotica collectors. Any old poster should at least be Googled for value before trashing.

Bakelite bangle bracelets are often mistaken for regular plastic. Credit: Flickr

22. Bakelite Jewelry

Bakelite was invented way back in 1907, and it was the first form of plastic resin. It became famous for jewelry-making with chunky bangles and necklaces, often featuring wild, earthy colors and fanciful carving. Over the years, techniques for making plastic were improved, and Bakelite is no longer manufactured. If you saw a Bakelite bracelet, you might just think it’s a plastic piece of costume jewelry from the dollar store, although the unique yellows and oranges they produced can sometimes be a giveaway. Before you throw these styles of bracelets away, look online to do some at-home tests.

The unique smell of Bakelite gives it away. Credit: LoveToKnow

One common, though subjective, test for Bakelite is to simply rub the plastic vigorously with your fingers and then smell it immediately. While it sounds strange, Bakelite plastic produces a very distinctive burning hair smell when warmed up, and simply rubbing the plastic until warm is enough to produce the smell. Other people recommend heating a pin and holding it to an unobtrusive place on the jewelry, and smelling the smoke produced. However, this can leave a permanent mark on the jewelry, and you probably don’t want to inhale vintage more plastic resin smoke than necessary for your health.

Rare boy scout patches can be worth a lot of money to collectors. Credit: Montana Council

21. Boy and Girl Scout Patches

Nostalgia is always at the root of collecting. There are tons of people out there who relive their childhood days of being in the boy scouts and girl scouts by searching out remembered patches of yesteryear. Patches, pins, and novelty items are extraordinarily collectible among scouts and fans alike. Specific Jamboree patches can sell for hundreds, if not thousands of dollars. Usually, the patches that go for the most money are older and hard to find. Newer patches (from the past 20 to 30 years) sell far less since they are still somewhat widely available, thanks to the scouts still being alive.

Boy Scout patches have value outside of nostalgia. Credit: Scout and Forge

When looking for patches, you should remember that the older and more obscure, the better. A Jamboree from North Dakota attended by a handful of children will be much rarer than a larger nationwide gathering in a more populated state. Many scouts keep their badges for their entire life, so estate sales are likely a perfect place to watch for scouting memorabilia. Patches or badges for content no longer available through the scouts or based on outdated gender norms would also be more valuable, like homemaking badges or something similar. As with any collectible, patches and badges should be stain-free and in good shape.

Some dollars are worth a lot of money. Credit: Pexels

20. Dolls

If you found a doll collection in an old house, your gut reaction might be to dispose of the creepy things as quickly as possible. However, certain brands can sell for a lot of money. A doll’s brand is usually located on the neck, back, or feet. It only takes a few seconds to check before you put them in the “donate” pile. Some modern dolls, like the American Girls dolls, have a high resale value due to their collectability and high original sale price. Check on any dolls and action figures before donating.

Try to set aside a fear of dolls to avoid tossing out money. Credit: PawnGuru Blog

While it may sound incredibly creepy, homemade dolls can also have much value, especially if they’re quite old. It wasn’t uncommon for old dolls to be made with human hair sewn onto the scalp to make them extra lifelike when nylon hair didn’t exist. They may also have animal hair. There are also Victorian mourning dolls that contain hair from a child who died in childhood. While this is incredibly upsetting and creepy, they do have a great deal of historical value and are quite desired by collectors of both dolls and antique mourning memorabilia.

Apothecary bottles look very cool when they are displayed. Credit: Graveflowers.tumblr.com

19. Apothecary Bottles

Way back in the 1800s, pharmacies used to sell medications in glass bottles. Sometimes, instead of using paper labels, the bottles are indented with the text of what went into each one. Before there were a proper trash and recycling system, people would sometimes bury their metal and glass trash in their backyards. So, sometimes, these apothecary bottles can be recovered while digging around. Some of them are very cool and quirky, and rare ones can go for a lot. While the paper is likely gone on buried bottles, those containing the labels go for the highest prices.

Apothecary items are valuable pieces of living history. Credit: LiveAuctioneers

Bottles with colored glass like amber, blue, or green tend to sell for more than clear bottles. Labels that contain unique, old-time ingredients like laudanum or even cocaine also sell for more given the exciting history. Creepy bottles that contain the skull and crossbones symbol for poison or that reference poison in any way also sell at a premium for their spooky visual appeal. Be cautious when handling old apothecary bottles as it isn’t uncommon to find them with at least a portion of their original liquid contents still inside, and we can’t imagine one-hundred-year-old cocaine is good for you now — or ever!

Illustration of Halloween costume designs from the 1920s. Credit: Pinterest

18. Costumes

If you are looking through your childhood Halloween costumes, your first instinct might be just to get rid of them. However, if you have a costume that is a popular character that people still love, it’s worth checking online to see its value. For example, a complete “Captain America Play Suit” from the 1960’s sold for $200 on eBay. Iconic vintage costumes of period characters can be costly. However, they likely are not made of today’s fire-retardant materials, so be careful about letting children wear them like modern Halloween costumes. Be aware that some vintage costumes are also racially insensitive and shouldn’t be sold or worn.

Even vintage Halloween paper goods are valuable and rare. Credit: Mental Floss

Masks and paper decorations from Halloweens past are highly collectible, with vintage paper wall decorations of scary cats and witches fetching premium prices. In an age where Halloween decor is decidedly more kid-friendly than scary, the grotesque and macabre decorations of old are increasingly popular, which continues to drive up the price. Halloween postcards also fetch a premium since sending Halloween greetings has long been out of fashion. If you find a vintage Halloween item from earlier than the 1980s, it’s probably worth at least a decent amount of money, so keep your eyes open at yard sales and thrift stores.

Vintage cameras are coveted by photography collectors. Credit: Pixabay

17. Vintage Cameras

Anyone can be an amateur photographer today since every smartphone comes with a camera. Some people want to take their hobbies to another level by obtaining a vintage camera that uses real film, allowing for specific effects not possible in digital photography. Not all vintage cameras are valuable. Each one has particular model numbers. Hobbyists also want to know if the camera still works or not. Thankfully, the internet is a treasure trove of information. There are videos on YouTube with tips for testing nearly every vintage camera model to see if it still works correctly.

Quality brands of vintage cameras often still work great. Credit: eBay

Whether or not a camera works will be the primary determinant of value. A broken camera may just be an expensive paperweight if the model isn’t easy or possible to repair. If you want to find a vintage camera for sale or your own use, this is a field where some study beforehand would be useful to determine what models are user-friendly, most likely to work, and valuable. Many people charge high prices for vintage cameras, even at garage sales or thrift stores, so knowing which models justify the price will be an absolute must.

Vintage new-old-stock John Deere trucker hats sell for a small fortune. Credit: Frank Conion Photography

16. Rare Trucker Hats

Old hats are kind of gross because we imagine it getting sweaty from years of sitting on someone’s head. However, they can be cleaned by hand-washing. Trucker style hats tell a statement, which is why some people are very picky about getting the right one. Sports teams, beverage brands, and vehicles are all collectible subjects on hats. The right hat can go for $20 up to $1,000. If you want to look for hats, make sure you watch for any staining that would be difficult or impossible to remove, like bleached areas, and ensure that all snaps and fasteners are intact.

Hats from historical events or locations can fetch premium prices. Credit: The Captains Vintage

Hats are hit, or miss as many are mass-produced and widely available, such as sports teams and popular brands. However, caps from teams that were only in a city for a short time, for example, can be more valuable since fewer were produced. Watch for limited memorabilia like old World Series or Super Bowl hats; check carefully for any misprints. Many of the rules that apply to collectible action figures and game cards also apply to hats. Hats that are either in plastic or still have the original purchase tags attached are even more valuable, much like an action figure still in the plastic.

How much would you pay for an autograph like this one? Credit: LoveMoney

15. Autographs

If you find an old photograph of a celebrity with a signature on it, dollar signs probably began floating around your head. Be careful, though, because many autographs are faked or just stamped during mass production. Be especially wary about autographs from celebrities who died young, like Buddy Holly or James Dean, who had less time to sign autographs than stars who lived to old age. Also, be suspicious of any signature that purports to be from a celebrity who was notorious for not wanting to give autographs, as it is likely a forgery or a stamp from a studio.

Verified autographs can be worth big money. Credit: Medium

However, if an autograph can be verified, it can be costly. From Babe Ruth baseballs to Jimmy Hendrix’s recording contract, verified signatures have sold for hundreds of thousands of dollars. The older the autograph, the more valuable it may be as a verified signature from George Washington is one of the most expensive autographs ever sold. If you find an autograph you suspect may be real, try to find a local expert who can verify it or direct you to someone who can. Like collectible card grading, authenticating autographs can add thousands to the value when it comes time to sell.

Vintage yearbooks can sell for $20 all the way up to $1,000. Credit: San Jose Public Library

14. Yearbooks

High school and college yearbooks with photos of a celebrity can go for a tremendous amount of money. Nevertheless, even if there wasn’t anyone famous in the graduating class, maybe someone out there went to that high school that wishes they had their Yearbook. Vintage copies can go for an average of $50, but much higher if there is something special about it. Yearbooks are also more valuable the older they are since fewer copies will still be in circulation. The styles and information inside are more historically interesting than yearbooks from only a few years ago.

Inspect old yearbooks carefully for famous figures. Credit: WorthPoint

It would be challenging to know if a random yearbook has a celebrity, so try to keep your search for stars you know to be from your area since those are the yearbooks you’re most likely to encounter. A yearbook that includes a celebrity and a signature from them would be especially valuable, so check the signature pages of any yearbook you know or suspect has a fascinating figure or star. Infamous or notorious figures such as criminal bosses and serial killers can also be quite valuable, even if they are considerably more distasteful. Thus, you should keep an eye out for nontraditional famous figures.

Baseball fans are willing to buy cards of their favorite players. Credit: Chicago Tribune

13. Baseball Cards

Like comic books, you will need to have extensive knowledge about baseball cards before finding the diamond on the rough. Sometimes, if you find an old collection, nothing of value is left because the previous owner was smart enough to remove the good cards before they donated the rest. However, if you do find a valuable card, it can be worth thousands. There are price guides you can buy online or in bookstores with comprehensive lists, but there are also many easy to use websites that give up to the minute prices for popular cards.

Certain vintage cards can fetch hundreds or even thousands. Credit: Old Sports Cards

Like many other collectibles, misprints are often quite valuable in baseball cards. There are also a few cards where a player snuck in something funny, like an expletive written out on the end of a bat, and these are also quite valuable. The real money, though, is typically found in rookie cards. Rookie cards usually have small print runs since no one naturally knows which players will make it big, minus a few standouts like Bryce Harper and Stephen Strasburg, who were hyped for years before their debut. Finding a rookie card for a surprise star can be worth a considerable amount.

Rare coins can be worth a mint. Credit: Pexels

12. Coins

Coins that are limited edition misprinted or rare can go for more than what they are worth in terms of metal weight. You probably won’t make a fortune unless you find a vast collection of rare coins, but it’s still fun to try. If you do, you may want to take the time to learn about each one’s value. Don’t go spending grandpa’s quarter collection at the car wash before doing your research if any of the coins are collectible. Foreign currencies can also be quite collectible, especially for countries that no longer exist or have since changed names like Ceylon or Abyssinia.

Check the years and mint letters of old coins. Credit: Hobbies

When evaluating US coins, people use the year they are issued and any letter below the year. These are referred to as mint marks and denote which mint manufactured and issued the coin. The letters can be quite significant. Why? Misprints may have been issued from only one mint or another may have had a little run in a given year. In turn, making it rarer. There are pre-printed folders you can buy for collecting coins,. These will have multiple slots for each year to represent the different mints that produced the currency in the given year.

Rare stamps can fetch a pretty penny. Credit: Pixabay

11. Stamps

Collecting stamps used to be a huge hobby for people decades ago, before we had the internet to entertain us. Even though it’s not as popular anymore, there are still people out there who are willing to buy them. If you find an extensive stamp collection, you could sell it all at once and make at least $50 to $100. Many rare stamps can have additional value, such as those from countries with changed names or no longer exist, like Rhodesia or Prussia. Wartime stamps are also collectible, as are limited edition stamps released for celebrations like Queen’s Jubilees.

Unusual old stamps can be very valuable. Credit: Envato Elements

In addition to stamps, the letters or postcards they are preserved on can also add to the value. In Victorian times, Halloween postcards with wild, incredible art were quite popular, and these sell at a premium price due to their unusual art and subject matter. If they have a unique stamp preserved on them, they become even more valuable. Any stamps kept on letters to or from impressive or historical figures also, of course, add to the value. Stamp collecting, much like coin collecting, provides an exciting window into history by showing the popular artistic styles and figureheads of different eras!

There are still plenty of Pokémon card collectors out there. Credit: Dexerto

10. Pokémon Cards

Pokémon made a massive comeback in 2016 when the Pokémon Go app came out, so the franchise is still alive and well. Furthermore, the people who grew up playing Pokémon cards as kids are now grown up with full-time jobs. Some of the rare cards from the 1990s and early 2000s are still selling for a lot on eBay. Just like baseball cards and comics, you may have to get a card authenticated and graded before you can ask for much money. While it may sound silly, getting a card professionally graded can add thousands to the rarest cards’ price.

Large Pokemon card collections can sell for top dollar. Credit: SyFy

Many Pokémon cards, especially common ones such as energy sources, are only worth pennies. However, the rarest cards can sell for thousands. There is a foil Charizard, in particular, that can sell for as much as a new car. That is, if authenticated and in mint condition. The words mint condition is a collector term for no blemishes. A YouTuber famously opened a pack with this card inside. He broke down in tears due to its incredibly rare and valuable nature. Does your child have boxes of old Pokémon cards lying around somewhere? Maybe you have some in the attic. It’s worth going through a price list to see if you have any hidden gems!

Vintage shoes can sometimes be resold. Credit: Pexels

9. Shoes

“Sneakerheads” collect shoes, and they are earnest about it. If you had a valuable pair of modern shoes, like Air Jordan’s, you would probably know that they are worth something. However, there are a lot of vintage brands out there that are highly sought-after. Ferragamo is just one of many more familiar brands. You would imagine that are still going for lots of money online. Shoes made of real leather of any age are valuable thanks to their durability. Make sure you check tags for the materials a shoe is made of.

Would you spend thousands of dollars on shoes? Credit: SneakerFreaker

In the United States, imported European shoes typically sell at a premium price. Thus, keep your eye open for shoes that have European sizing inside. It will be immediately apparent by the double-digit numbers in the 30s and 40s instead of the US’ mainly single digit sizing. Shoes with animal materials like real wood, leather, and authentic rubber will all add value. Again, they bring more durability. Many high-quality shoes can be repaired instead of replaced. This fact makes them an excellent investment for fashion-conscious people. Hiking shoes from premium brands like Merrell are also great finds since they have a high retail price.

Vintage perfume bottles can be worth hundreds of dollars. Credit: Pinterest

8. Perfume Bottles

Decades ago, women used to keep gorgeous perfume bottles on their vanities and fill them with whatever scent they were wearing at the moment. Nowadays, it’s scarce for companies to produce new ones, yet women still want to have that little luxury. If your grandma had a beautiful perfume bottle collection, check to see if it has a brand name. Rare luxury bottles regularly sell for $400 or more on eBay. Perfume bottles were once made of the finest, heaviest crystal. It is a gorgeous accessory to display on a vanity, sink, or dressing table.

Colorful or unique perfume bottles are highly collectible. Credit: Case Antiques

Old perfume bottles used atomizers were essentially rubber squeeze balls on tubes connected to the bottle and covered in fabric. They have luxurious colors and patterns to give the bottles a truly exotic appearance. These atomizers often wore out or frayed beyond use. Thus, finding a vintage perfume bottle with a functional and attractive atomizer is especially rare and valuable. Perfume bottles can be reused if the atomizer is still working. There are vintage-style replacement atomizers available. Mmodern perfumes can be stored in vintage bottles to give a truly luxurious feel to your morning spritz of perfume.

Collection of cuckoo clocks. Credit: Cuckoo.rocks

7. Cuckoo Clocks

If you find an old cuckoo clock, the chances are that it won’t fit in with your modern style. Nevertheless, they can be valuable, mostly if they are made in Germany. Even if they are missing pieces, you still may make a lot of money. Why? Because there are people out there who fix them as a hobby. Just make sure you are honest about their condition and price accordingly. Cuckoo clocks are incredibly complicated and must be assembled by hand, so there aren’t all that many in existence. You’re fortunate to find one that still works thanks to all the complicated mechanisms that can become aged and stop working.

Traditional German-style cuckoo clocks are collectible. Credit: Black Forest Gift Shop

While any cuckoo clock is valuable, Germany’s vintage models are especially valuable since the country is the cuckoo clock’s home. Traditional models with Germanic designs and the cuckoo inside are the pinnacle of collectability. These can fetch hundreds if not thousands of dollars, especially if it’s by a noteworthy German artisan. However, even American-made cuckoo clocks are still worth money. Why? Thanks to their unique mechanisms and mechanical complexity. They’re also honestly pretty cool. Even if it doesn’t match your decor, you should at least wind it up. Enjoy the cuckoo mechanism at least once!

Pocket knives are valuable and useful tools. Credit: CleverHiker

6. Knives

Some hunters collect knives to skin the animals they trap in the wild. If you are cleaning your father or grandfather’s basement and find a vast collection, your first reaction might be to dispose of them. Nevertheless, check the brands first before you get rid of them. They regularly sell for hundreds of dollars on eBay. Cooking knives can sometimes be valuable, too. Japanese brands made from forged steel are still expensive, even if they are second-hand. Just be careful and cognizant of state and local laws for selling knives, as some types like butterfly and switchblade are illegal to sell.

A well-made vintage pocket knife is a treasure. Credit: Gentleman’s Gazette

Pocket knives have a strong collectible market, especially certain brands and vintage pocket knives. Even collectors solely collect pocket knives, amassing huge displays of various brands, sizes, and types. Pocket knives are also handy for fishers, hikers, and other adventurers. Thus, well-made vintage knives still in good usable shape are also valuable for practical reasons! Ensure that any knives you buy are of a legal blade length to sell in your area. Also, that they are free of rust, which significantly diminishes the value and utility of the knife and will eventually ruin it.

Tiffany lamps can be worth a fortune. Credit: Pinterest

5. Tiffany Lamps

Tiffany Lamps are yet another item that may look outdated. However, they are precious if you find a real one, that is. Fake Tiffany lamps are all over the place. Make sure you get it authenticated before trying to pass it off as the real thing. Genuine Tiffany lamps can sell for $5,000. “Tiffany style” reproductions and knock-offs sell for only around $100. While all of them are beautiful, if you want the real treasure that sells for thousands, it needs to be an authentic Tiffany lamp. They are made by Louis Comfort Tiffany’s American art glass studio.

True Tiffany lamps are stunning treasures. Credit: New York Historical Society

Do you adore their lavish stained glass representations of flowers, birds, and butterflies? Tiffany lamps are a classic and much-beloved example of the Art Nouveau movement. This movement was popular for a couple of decades at the turn of the 20th century. The artistic direction was strongly naturalist and heavily featured botanic motifs. You can see the movement in both fine art and “applied arts” like furniture-making, decorations, textiles, and more. Along with botanical subject matter, botanical forms were often incorporated into the art itself. It was through heavy use of sinuous, vine-like lines, rich, and bold jewel-like colors. They also have interesting use of open, negative space.

Star Wars action figures are incredibly valuable. Credit: Spy

4.  Figures

If you have ever seen the movie 40-Year-Old Virgin, you will know that they sell Steve Carrell’s character’s action figure collection for a considerable profit at the end of the film. (Sorry for the spoilers.) Well, that’s true in real life, too. Superheroes, Star Wars, and Star Trek are all sought-after by collectors. They just have to be in perfect condition if you want to make hundreds or thousands of dollars. However, even if they are out of the package, some action figures, like the original Star Wars characters, can still go for $30 to $50 or even higher.

Retro action figures can demand high prices. Credit: YouTube

Mistakes and misprints are notoriously collectible and expensive, with many websites dedicated to tracking erroneous and incredibly collectible figures. Do you have any of these toys from your childhood? Perhaps you happen to find some at a garage sale. Make sure you check for misprints and other flaws that could make them instantly valuable and collectible. In the age of Funko Pop, there are many limited editions and special releases that are quite valuable. They usually coincide with movie and book releases. In general, any vintage action figure you can find in the sealed packaging at a low price is probably worth a gamble for a good return on investment.

Do you have a weathervane on your property? Credit: Phillips

3. Weathervanes

A weathervane is one of those metal ornaments that go on top of barns and houses. They would move in the direction of where the wind was blowing. Since we can just look up the weather on our phones nowadays, they aren’t exactly popular anymore. However, rare, ornate vintage weathervanes still go for thousands of dollars. One Native American weathervane even sold for nearly 6 million dollars at auction. Many old weather vanes are incredibly decorative and feature chickens, archery, birds of prey, and more often in bronze or copper. Many people who own homesteads like to decorate an outbuilding with a vintage weathervane.

Classic, well-made weathervanes can sell very well. Credit: LoveToKnow

Much like with millstones, check any old farm properties that you legally have access to. See if any of the old outbuildings or barns have a vintage weathervane. Farm auctions and rural rummage sales are also great opportunities to find old weathervanes. They’re far more common in the country than in the city. You’ll have to pay a premium in a city antique shop since they’re less common. In turn, it will be prized by urban collectors. Fallen or blown off weathervanes could be a potential target for the intrepid metal detector around barns and outbuildings as well.

Millstones are usually found on old properties. Credit: Hometown Antiques on Pinterest

2. Millstones

Hundreds of years ago, people would use millstones to grind grain they grew on a farm. Some people who buy old houses from the 1800s or earlier are lucky enough to find these millstones just laying on the ground! Do you have an old property or know someone who does? Try looking around for old mill signs since millstones would likely be nearby. The sites of old mills have become municipal parks in some areas. You should keep an eye out for millstones at any sites named after a mill. Just be mindful of local laws on collecting!

Vintage millstones are popular yard art. Credit: New England Garden Ornaments

Believe it or not, people out there collect millstones, especially if they are trying to achieve a historic and classic look. They look beautiful in a landscaped garden. They are usually very heavy, so if you sell one, it will have to be to someone local. Depending on the size, age, history, and style, they can go anywhere from $80 to $450. While you won’t get rich. However, a hundred dollar bill for a rock that was just sitting around is a pretty good profit! For the truly adventurous, try metal detecting. Go near old farm or mill properties as well to see what treasures turn up.

Textbooks can sell for a lot of money, even if they are used. Credit: Pexels

1. Textbooks

Okay, “fortune” may be a stretch, but if you recently graduated college and you haven’t sold your old textbooks yet, you need to get on that. Even older books can sometimes sell to college students who realize that they usually have the same content, just rearranged. Depending on your major, you may only get back $50. However, if you were in the STEM (science, technology, education, and mathematics) field, you might get back several hundred dollars from your textbook collection. Why? Because STEM textbooks are notoriously expensive. Even small, unassuming paperback textbooks can resell for serious pocket change.

Textbooks tend to retain a very high value. Credit: CNet

The quickest and easiest way to get an estimated value on your textbook is by downloading the Amazon app. There is a barcode scanning tool on the app that will allow you to scan the book’s barcode, and you can find the price right away. If you plan to sell it, you will have to set up a seller account through Amazon. You can use the existing login you use for your purchases. Used bookstores will often offer a fair amount of store credit. You possibly might even get some cash for textbooks, especially if you live in a university town.

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