You may be sitting on a treasure trove of trinkets without even knowing it.
There’s a huge market for certain collectibles that you might be mistaking for useless junk or random bric-a-brac that’s only value is nostalgic. Don’t dismiss the power of nostalgia – people pay big bucks for quirky sentimental things.
Perhaps you’re hanging on to a dusty box of heirlooms from your grandmother. No offense to your age, but objects from your youth or even your children’s youth could now be valuable antiques that somebody else wants to possess.
Seniors who are downsizing, empty nesting, renovating, moving into a retirement community or otherwise looking to clear some clutter from their attic closets, garage or storage room should check out this list before pitching or donating boxes unwanted stuff. It could be worth more than you know. Maybe being a pack rat all these years will finally pay off.
If you’re looking to make a little extra cash through a garage sale, flea market or on eBay, here are some potentially valuable keepsakes you might have around the house.
1. Comic Books
You’ve no doubt heard about rare comic books in pristine condition fetching millions, but even common comics can be worth hundreds. With the popularity of superhero movies these days, old editions that tie into a current release are an easy sell. It’s worth digging through that dusty box in the spare room to see what you might have in there.
2. Vintage Furniture
Mid-century modern furniture designs are on trend again, and if you happen to have any original pieces to offload, they might be worth a pretty penny. Chairs by designers like Eames, Saaranin, Wegner and Baughman are particularly in demand.
3. Baseball Cards
Baseball cards have long been a hit-and-miss collectible item. Most dog-eared ones aren’t worth much, but certain gems can be highly valuable. Generally speaking, the older the card, the higher their worth, but condition, player and year are also factors. If you have an old box of these lying around and it’s high time to part with them, get them appraised or auction them off online. Need some inspiration? A Mickey Mantle’s 1952 card once sold for $2.8 million.
4. Vinyl Records
Most of your old record collection probably isn’t worth much, but you never know, you might have a sought-after album buried in the mix. For example, if you held on to a pristine copy of The Beatles Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band from 1967, they can be a popular auction item. Most sell for a few hundred dollars, but one went for close to $300K!
Mattel’s plastic Barbie dolls debuted in March 1959, and they have long been popular collectors items. Old ones with matted hair and missing shoes aren’t worth much, but if you happen to have a rare one in it’s original box, it might be worth something on eBay. For example, a vintage GI Joe Nurse doll from 1967 in pristine condition went for close to $10,000 a few years ago.
6. Coca Cola Paraphernalia
Old drug store soda crates from the early 1900s or vintage Coca Cola trays are rare collectibles that can be worth a few hundred dollars. Vintage-style ads are popular for home decor these days – an authentically old one would be a big score for some buyers. And if you happen to have an old prototype Coke bottle in the cupboard or garage, one sold for $250,000 back in 2011.
7. Retro Board Games
Are you hanging on to a cupboard full of retro parlor games, thinking the grandkids might want to play some rainy day? Certain vintage boxed board games from Milton Bradley and Parker Brothers can actually be worth something. When it comes to resale value, those in sealed, unopened boxes with all original pieces can fetch double the value than opened boxes.
8. Old Tools
Dig through your shed to see if you have some old saws, planes, hand drills or other vintage old tools lying around. There is a huge market for them, especially if they’re still functional as well as aesthetic. Even an old wooden tool box might be worth something.
9. Beanie Babies
These plush toys were ubiquitous in the 1990s, but they have surprisingly good resale value online. If you have any mint condition limited edition ones with the tag still on, it’s like a winning lottery ticket. For example, an original lobster named Pinchers goes for $35,000, and some have garnered up to $500,000! But don’t get too excited, most well-loved plushies aren’t worth much.
10. Duck Decoys
Everyone’s great uncle used to have one of these in the house. Now these mid-century carvings have become a coveted collectible item. Depending on the artistry, condition and year of the piece, they can be worth more than you know. Dig it out of the box, dust it off and get it appraised.
11. Original American Girl Dolls
The American Girl Doll craze started in 1986, and yes, that’s considered old these days. If you happen to have an original “Samantha” in good condition that your long-adult daughter doesn’t need, you might get a thousand or two for it – more if you also have original outfits and accessories too.
12. Classic Lunchboxes
Nostalgia is a strong force. If you happen to be hanging on to an old vintage lunch box featuring Roy Rogers, Mickey Mouse, Superman, The Beatles, The Jetsons or even Rambo, you could turn that into significant cash.
13. Action Figures
Young TV/movie fans who played with action figures grow up to be old TV/movie fans that want to collect them. The older and rarer the figure the more valuable, and of course, mint condition is better than any armless, chewed on, well-loved ones that three generations of your family might have enjoyed. Star Wars stuff is always popular, as are old DC comic figures, He-Man, G.I. Joes, Transformers and certain WWF figures.
14. Boy Scout Collectibles
Got any old Boy Scout uniforms, equipment, badges or commemorative pieces stuffed in a box somewhere? They might be worth something, if you’re willing to part with them. A first edition Boy Scout handbook sold for over $2,000 online recently.
15. Vintage Fashion Accessories
Certain designer duds and accessories from the past have a certain allure that people will pay top dollar for. Vintage scarves, handbags and belts bearing names like Chanel, Hermes or Louis Vuitton are especially hot commodities. For example, a limited edition Hermes Birkin bag recently went for $125,000. What’s in your closet?