Forty Of The Most Common Household Items That Can Be Valuable
For some of us, there is nothing more exciting than finding treasures among old and ordinary items inside our homes. In most cases, these forgotten treasures are found while we’re spring cleaning or packing up stuff to move elsewhere. In the process, some of us have found valuables such as antiques, books, letters, and other things that have been stored away but have not declined in value.
In some cases, people have found what they thought was trash but would later turn out to be worth thousands of dollars! Think about all those vintage comics, figurines, or even the garage sale paintings that have fetched quite a bit of money at auctions. You can so much for so little in terms of investments. Just recently, for example, a man from Reno, Nevada found an old Nintendo game that was purchased from JC Penney for $38.45 and sold online at a whopping $9,000.
So, before you start throwing old things out, think twice. Who knows? You might be keeping treasure somewhere at home, too!
In today’s age of ready-to-wear clothes, the art of sewing has been relegated to the backburner. Many of us no longer mend torn clothes and just throw them away. If you’ve ever found a sewing kit in the attic or pieces of sewing patterns trapped under the flooring—hold on to those. Most people won’t think twice about throwing these out, but be careful because these might be worth a bit of cash.
Did you know that Vogue Paris vintage patterns are still quite popular? They can sell for more than $100. So if you find some around your home, try checking if they are Vogue Paris patterns. A little bit of research can go a long way when it comes to vintage items.
Back in our youth, we typically collected posters of movies, our favorite singers, celebrities and other famous personalities. The same habit can be said of our great grandparents. So, there are times when we might go through some of their old things and discover a trove of treasures. Paper is fragile, and so it is usually tricky to keep it in pristine condition.
But if they are given the highest degree of care and are stored in a stable temperature, they could last a lifetime. Some of the most expensive movie posters sold, for example, were The Mummy (1932), which sold for about $439,000 and Metropolis (1927, international version) for $1,186,000. Now, imagine finding one of these, while cleaning up on a random day!
Bakelite Jewelry is a type of plastic that can be molded into various designs. It is the forefather of resin and was invented back in 1907. It is commonly found in the form of necklaces and bangles. But because plastic making techniques have improved over the years, Bakelite has since fallen out of fashion.
However, there are still people who collect these vintage items, which were available cheaply back in the day. There are even websites giving tips on how to spot authentic Bakelite jewelry. While it does not qualify to be insured by an insurance company, it still is a valuable common item that can sell for as much as $2,000! There are other, more affordable versions of it that cost around $37.50.
Patches From Boy And Girl Scouts
Collectible patches form the Boy and Girl Scouts are also becoming popular. The market is still small, but for those looking to relive their adventurous childhood or simply want a memento, they are willing to pay a decent price for it! Patches, souvenir items, and pins from certain jamborees also command a higher price.
Those that are given out in the last 20 to 30 years are not too expensive. But expect those from 40 to 50 years ago to be the most sought after. Patches from the 1950s, for example, can fetch anywhere from $2,000 to over $4,000. Yes, that much for a piece of cloth. Some might even think of obtaining cash loans to purchase one of these for resale later on.
While old dolls can be creepy, some can increase in value if they were kept in good condition. The usual instinct is for these dolls to be thrown away, given that the media typically associates them with horror movies. Before donating or throwing away a doll collection, it is always good practice to check the brand as these could be sold off instead for a higher amount.
The brand is usually located on the feet or the back of the doll’s neck. A Barbie doll, manufactured in 1996, was once listed on eBay for $399. If it is older, it can be of more value. With a little bit of research or the help of someone professional to assess their value, these dolls can boost your credit score.
For those unsure what apothecary bottles are, these are glass containers where various concoctions and medication were kept. They were commonplace in the past, when medicine didn’t come in the form we’re used to now. The bottles were labeled with paper, so people would know what medicine was in them. Back then, these bottles were discarded by burying them in the backyard.
Imagine calling in plumbing services and they find a stash of these! Don’t throw them out if that ever happens. Clean them up and check their condition. There are also websites that would help you determine their value and authenticity. A fish-shaped bottle, for example, is being sold for $200 online. Not a bad price for treasure you literally dug up, right?
Like dolls, costumes can be creepy, especially if they are Halloween costumes. But antique dresses usually average $225 online. On average, these antique/vintage clothes were likely purchased for half or much less the selling price! Of course, pricing is a tricky matter since it involves various factors.
This includes the year when it was made, the original purchase price, the condition it is in now, and the degree of uniqueness of the design. Some dresses and costumes sell online, north of $1,000. So if you have a collection at home or if an estate sale is happening near you, check them out and try your luck! Well-preserved clothing from the Victorian-era can be resold for a good amount of money.
In the time of digital cameras, the use of vintage cameras has fallen out of trend. But those mechanical cameras are not about to completely disappear just yet. The use of vintage cameras also brings out the best in the skills of the photographer, since their use requires more attention. The most expensive kind are even covered by insurance, in order to protect their value from loss.
You’ll find many film cameras online, but only few have good resale value. Hobbyists are heavily committed to obtaining the older models. For example, a 1923 Leica Series-0 camera was bought by an Asian collector for the price of nearly $2.79 million dollars. If it’s in mint or good condition, it will fetch a good price!
Rare Trucker Hats
Apart from costumes and dresses, hats can also be resold at a higher price if they are collectible. The right trucker hat could be sold online for on average of $25 to over $1,000! The rarer ones are priced higher. The same goes for those with a custom design. While it may be gross to scour the attic for old hats that has been drenched in someone else’s sweat, these can be hand-washed and sanitized with ease.
The finder will need to do so lightly to avoid degrading the fabric further. The color should also still be vibrant for a higher price to be appraised. While the amount might not be enough to pay for student loans, it is still worth the effort.
Autographs on pictures, books, sneakers or any regular household item can be sold for a higher price depending on a variety of elements. The more celebrity status is given credit to the one who signed it, the better the selling price. The signature of a celebrity who has passed on is also more expensive than someone who is still alive. Autographs must also be signed by the celebrities themselves. There are those “signed” during mass production, and those do not amount to much. In 2018, for example, a signed copy of the Constitution, Bill of Rights, and the First Congress sold for $9.8 million. Who signed it? George Washington himself. So before throwing out an old piece of paper, make sure you check it thoroughly.
Arcade games, while they may not work anymore, can still be worth hundreds of dollars. Working games, on the other hand, can be sold for more than $600 up to $2,500. Naturally, some titles are more expensive. A game called “Food Fight by Atari” is listed on eBay for around $8,000, while another one, Saint Laurent Neo Legend, is at approximately $7,000.
Pong and Asteroids are valued at $2,000 and $1,000 respectively. So it might be worth the effort of having the moving company bring along the bulky machine from your parents’ house to yours when you decide to become independent. These are collectibles from our youth that can contribute to our finances come adulthood. If you’re thinking about investing in one—choose carefully!
Many sneaker collectors consider their purchases as investments. Sure, Air Jordans might only be glorified shoes to some—but these can still fetch a good price when resold. Should you be in a pinch, you can easily sell these off. There have been stories of people selling valuables, including their treasured Air Jordans, in order to collect cash quickly.
If you are among those who got the first batch of these sneakers, you could sell them for upwards of $560,000—that is how much the very first Air Jordan was sold for. It has Michael Jordan’s autograph, so that drove the price higher. Got a pristine pair from 1984? You would be surprised at how quickly these could sell online.
We have modern versions nowadays, but there’s quite a charm to older varieties of turntables. Did you know that those considered as being of “old money” usually have a turntable or two to play their collection vinyl records? AV Design Haus’ Dereneville VPM is the most expensive turntable at the moment. This is priced at $650,000.
You may not have this exact model, but the more common Micro Seiki brand is sold at around $7,900 online. Music, to a degree, is certainly something that most of us love and collecting memorabilia related to it, such as turntables, stereo equipment, and stereo receivers are gaining a huge market nowadays. Who knows? There might be turntable or two in your family’s storage, waiting to be discovered.
Regardless of generation, stuffed toys have always been popular. They serve as gestures of romance and friendship. The Beanie Babies, created by American businessman H. Ty Warner became popular in the 1990s because of the huggable feel to them. They are stuffed with plastic beans instead of the standard PVC. Those in mint condition, with the price tag still attached to them, are usually valued more.
These limited-edition toys also have a higher resale value. Princess Diana beanies, for example, are usually sold for at least $30,000. We know how people from the 1980s onwards valued Princess Diana. For avid collectors of Beanie Babies, those can be worth a huge investment someday, when they are considered as antiques.
RCA Victor Radios
RCA closed in 1986, but its name is still widely used today. We often associate them with cables used when connecting to the DVD player or a DVR. However, from the 1920s to the 1980s, RCA was the major player in everything electronic. They can be compared to Apple or Samsung. Their Radiola line, complete with an Art-deco style console and wooden radios became the fad during the 1930s and 1940s, especially after the war.
When the use of plastic boomed, RCA also started designing their popular radios with colorful designs using Bakelite and non-resin plastic. Despite the presence of electricity, battery-powered radios, especially in far-flung areas, were still in demand. The resale price of these vintage radios can reach $4,000.
Several generations have now grown up playing Legos as a child. Many of us used Legos as a way of expressing our creativity. It helped us hone certain skills along with our imaginations. It isn’t too surprising that there are those looking to relive those memories. So how much do these blocks fetch when resold? Specific figurines from movies and other famous franchises can sell for at least $10.
A figure of the Statue of Liberty, for example, sells online for at least $100. Hagrid’s Hut is worth $79.99. You can also sell them as loose pieces. If you have kept your collection throughout the years, you may want to get it assessed. Who knows? It might just bring you investment money.
These fake ducks are usually carved from cedar wood or cork. They became highly sought after as a collectible back in the mid-20th century, and the prices are relatively high for those in pristine conditions. The average selling price for a duck decoy is about $100, which is not a bad amount.
The price is steep because most of the older decoys, especially if they have been used before, have their heads cut or snapped off. Do you have anyone in your family who loved to hunt? They might have some of these lying around. A rare 1902 duck decoy, for example, was once listed at $6,350 online. You might need a personal loan for these since some can fetch as much as $650,000.
There is an ongoing joke that Pokemon Go holds the record for the most short-lived fad. But for the avid Pokémon fans, it has not died yet. You’ll find them on various social media platforms, still raving about how enjoyable the game is. The same enthusiasm applies when it comes to collecting Pokémon cards.
As the generation who grew up playing these are now slowly finding their place in the world as working adults, they are able to set aside a bit of investment money toward their hobby. Perhaps, to get the rarer cards that were out of reach before. Those with unique designs from the 1990s to the early 2000s are sold online for as much as $50,000 per set.
Collecting mementos is mostly driven by nostalgia first and the possibility of resale second. This is true when it comes to yearbooks. These mementos are sought-after, especially for those looking to relive a once-happy past when everything seemed easy. Back when one did not have problems with money, gas or housing—it was just bliss.
Old yearbooks can be sold for $26 on average, but if there is something special about it, they can be sold for a higher price. For example, a 1954 yearbook with the picture of John Mathis is being sold online for $2,200. So if ever you come across yearbooks in a garage sale, try to see if there are any famous celebrities in it and have it assessed.
These cards are trading cards that feature baseball players, stadiums or celebrities. While they are usually printed on paper, their value can increase over time if they are kept in excellent conditions. They are just like comic books, with their worth increasing over time. But similarly, not all baseball cards are given credit as worthy of the money. The 1952 Topps #311 Mickey Mantle and the 1916 (M101-5) Sporting News Babe Ruth Rookie Card are easily worth millions of dollars.
On the other hand, a 1993 Sports Cards #11 Albert Belle Baseball Card Lot Cleveland Indians is only worth $14.99. Knowing which costs more requires in-depth knowledge of these baseball cards. Even if you do find a collection of cards at home, the previous owner might have already removed the more expensive one.
1980s and 1990s Furniture
If you thought only modern furniture is in trend, think again. Pieces from the 1980s and 1990s are also making a strong comeback. So forget the modern ones momentarily and try to look for older pieces of furniture that might be tucked away in the storeroom. Neo-classical mahogany table dining sets, for example, are usually sold at around $4,000, depending on their conditions.
Dressers and sofa sets could be sold for about $1,000. Many of these can be typically found in garage sales for cheap. All you need to do is refurbish them a bit before reselling. It might be a “dusty” job, but we’re sure your financial advisor wouldn’t oppose to the idea. You can earn quite a significant amount, after all.
Ozark Tourist Pottery
The swirled technique used in this form of pottery was first patented in 1925, the credit of which goes to Charles Dean Hyten. These type of pottery was often sold on roadsides and were called tourist pottery. As such, while the style of regular pottery is usually confined to a particular place, this one was not.
People from all part of the U.S. had the chance to buy these pots during the 1920s and 1930s. They are four-inches tall, but can be worth more than $300. A rare six-inch Charles Stehm Ozark Pottery Swirl, however, was sold online for $500. This means that we need to be careful of the old pottery we have in the house since they could be valuable!
Of course, coins are on the list. The rarer the coin, the better. Coins that were misprinted and are limited-edition also command a higher price. Foreign coins are also expensive, especially those tied to a particular monarch or dynasty. Coins are everywhere, but the older ones are a literal gold mine. A one-cent Canadian coin minted in 1936 is now being sold online for approximately $379,000.
Other coins might not fetch the same price, but the possible payback should be enough to make anyone be more careful about disposing grandma’s old coin collection! Some people have also found forgotten coins under the floorboards, which were exposed when they got the flooring repaired. You just never know what treasures are hiding inside your home!
When snail mails were still a norm and before the digital world came into being, stamp collecting was favorite hobby among people. This was one way that bored high school and college students entertained themselves. They would contact friends and families and ask for used stamps and also go after unused ones from the post office.
Like printed money and coins, those with misprints or misspellings are valued more. Some people even go as far as having an insurance company cover their stamp collection. This is because an individual stamp could be worth $65,000, such as a rare piece of 1900 Chinese stamp with a misprint on one of the characters. Regular stamps, on the other hand, can be sold for $50 to $100.
Depression glasses are colored or clear glassware that was given free or at a low cost during the Great Depression period. These days, they evoke much happiness in people because one of these can sell for around $30 to $75. Those with more intricate designs fetch more. The Miss America design set, for example, can be purchased at $1,999 per set.
The American Sweetheart eight-piece tea set sells for at around $400 online. Even if you find just a piece, it will still sell for about $15. Considering they were very affordable or free, that is a massive appreciation of value. It is nice to note that something positive came out of the time when credit reports did not matter.
Getting caught with your “hand in the cookie jar” might mean something different once you figure out how much vintage ones are being resold these days. Cookie jars from the 1940s to the 1950s have a resale value of at least $200. A good home security system should be in place to protect against potential thieves!
The most expensive cookie jar sold to date is a rare McCoy Train-shaped jar that fetched a price of $6,100. While other jars may not be as expensive, they can easily be sold online for $200 to $500. The rarer they are and the more prominent the shape, the more expensive they can be sold. The Marshall Fields version is of particular interest to many collectors.
Fender and Gibson guitars
A guitar is perhaps the usual gateway of an aspiring musician into the field of music. As such, any guitar already holds sentimental value, apart from its purchase amount. But those Fender and Gibson guitars that were kept in the basement because of a band career that did not take off can actually be worth some money today.
For example, a Vintage Original 1956 Fender Stratocaster guitar can be sold online for a mind-numbing price of $34,000. That is a similar amount to someone’s student loans! Other types of guitars can be sold for less. For avid collectors, however, money is not an issue. So, before disposing of your old band equipment, check the brand and see if you have any Fenders and Gibsons.
It’s no secret that most women keep their perfume bottles inside their vanity cabinets. While most perfumes are affordable, there are those that can cost a hefty chunk of money. This is especially true for branded vintage bottles. For example, a rare 1920 Fascination Bryenne Paris perfume bottle is selling online for $3,500.
They may be pre-owned, but if they are unused and unopened, they will sell. Luxury bottles, on the other hand, sell for an average of $400 apiece. So it would be a good idea to take a break from online classes and then go through grandma’s collection of bottles and see if a perfume bottle from the 1930s is one of them. Before selling anything, get her permission, of course.
Super Bowl Memorabilia
Sunday is the day for football games. Friends gather with a beer in hand and ready to cheer for whichever team they are supporting. This is the time when lawyers, doctors, and even regular men let it all out. It is better if the game is watched in person, of course. However, tickets can be expensive. Even vintage tickets can command a high price, too.
Those tickets with a blue or yellow stripe on top usually sell for $200 to $1,000. A 1967 ticket from the game between Packers and Chiefs sells online for $25,000. Can you imagine? An old piece of paper that has that much value! In this case, the rule is simple: the rarer the tickets, the steeper the price.
Cookware sets made out of copper are making a comeback. Many are willing to pay top dollar for vintage French cookware pans, pots, and other items. Incredibly valuable are heavy gauge pots that are sold for around $270. It is such as shame that many are trying to peddle fake copper pots in the market, however.
Just remember to bring a magnet with you since copper is not very magnetic. If the magnet sticks, it is not copper. While some of the second-hand pots might appear worse for wear, remember that copper can be polished. It should still be worth your investment money. On average, copper cookware is resold at around $50 to $70 per piece, but the heavier ones cost more.
While everything is digital now, old-fashioned watches still carry a degree of class that is incomparable. They are like cars, with the fancier brands commanding a higher price tag. Surprisingly, watches are also one of the most collected items in the world. Do you have old ones lying around the house? Take some of them for appraisal, you might be surprised at how much these branded watches can be sold for.
The famous ones like Rolex, Movado, and Vacheron are expected to have a higher resale value. Apart from the brand, buyers also look for watches with more moon phases, jewels, and functionality. For example, a vintage Wittnauer with 17 jewels would sell for $130. Others sell for around $50 to less than a hundred dollars.
You probably heard of the “art” sold recently. A banana that was taped to a wall, which fetched a $120,000 price tag. That banana better be guarded by an excellent home security system now! Paintings may be less valuable, however. Common ones typically sell for about $200 each. But if you come across equestrian paintings, they sell for more.
For example, an Andre Dluhos painting of a horse retailed online for $378. Do you have old paintings at home or did you find some at the flea market? Check if any have real value. Keep an eye out for oil paintings and ones with ornate frames. Simpler designs would usually sell for less, but casual art lovers will purchase these paintings at a reasonable price.
Playing cards are a dime a dozen. They are easy to overlook as they are too common and sometimes, collectors end up selling these to dollar stores without thinking twice. But to the keen eye, a good set of playing cards can sell for at least $10. A single Joker card has even sold online for $0.99, which means a whole deck can easily be worth at least $50.
They may not be as expensive as the others on the list, but they can add to your investment money, in case you have a set lying around. Trying to find out their value is definitely worth your time. Special issue cards and remembrance cards are usually resold for $30 to $50.
Books are now slowly becoming obsolete with digital copies taking their place. To the legitimate book worm, however, there is nothing more romantic the smell and feel of books. For avid collectors, first-edition books are the most sought-after. They also fetch a higher price. For example, the first edition of “Tales of Beedle the Bard” is priced at $3.98 million.
You may not have something similar at home, but if you’re keen on finding one, you might just score big by going to antique fairs and flea market. Autographed books are also expensive when sold online. A second-hand autographed book usually sells for at least $10. It might require a bit of investment on your part, but the payback is usually worth it.
Video Game Consoles
If vintage games can fetch a significant sum of money, consoles can, too. The game consoles that were popular in the 1980s are now being resold for a higher price, especially for the limited-edition ones. Avid gamers and collectors generally look for both the consoles. And the matching games. As for prices, an unused Nintendo Famicom Console System sells for $399 online.
A pristine SEGA Saturn sells for $599. Used game consoles would sell for less, but still significant amount, especially if accompanied by the games. PlayStation consoles would command a price in the thousand range. Spending gas money to travel to garage sales all over the state now seems like a good idea. You never know what you might find!
If costumes can sell for a few hundred dollars, the accompanying pieces of jewelry are of a similar value. We usually assume that they are worthless as none of them are made from real gold or stones anyway. But many of these are branded and made by companies like Sarah Coventry, AVON, Cartier and Tiffany & Co. So before throwing away costume jewelry, see if you can sell it separately from the costume.
For example, a set of Alice Caviness jewelry has a value of $60. These are made of crystals, thus the higher selling price. If you ever experience financial challenges and have some of these at home, instead of getting cash loans, you can choose to sell a pair instead.
Microphones have certainly come a long way. Much like radios and phonographs, they have grown in value as well. Particularly, the rarer ones that are not easily available in stores. What should you be looking for? Mercury model microphones are sought-after by average collectors and these can be sold for at least $100.
Rarer finds like the Neumann M50 Tube Microphone will sell for at least $17,000 online. While you may not easily find a Neumann, you might have a bit more luck finding Shure microphones. These are typically sold for about $100. One important consideration is knowing how to clean them properly. A certain degree of care must be exercised as the color could fade and the electronics damaged.
Julia Child’s “Mastering the Art of French Cooking”
This is perhaps the most specific item on the list. Technically this belongs to the book categories, but we felt it deserved a separate rank because this cookbook is so in-demand. Arguably, French cooking is among the finest there is in the Western world. Julia Child has memorialized French cuisine in her book, which was first published in 1961.
The first and second volumes of the first edition copies can rake in at least $400. Succeeding editions still sell for at least $52.99. Many chefs have been inspired by Julia Child and they would love to have this book as a memento. The same goes for book collectors who are always ready to make an investment in rare book editions.
So you have contacted the moving company as you are ready to embark on a new journey, but you notice an old pedal car lying about as you get your things sorted out. Do you take it with you or not? It would be a good idea to take it and assess its value. If it is branded, vintage, but in pristine condition, chances are you can sell it for a significant amount.
A rare Russian pedal car was once online for $2,000. Meanwhile, a Vintage Murray Station Wagon pedal car can be sold for $700. Even if they have a little rust on them, they can command a high price. Vintage pedal cars from the 1960s are usually resold for $100 and higher.
Women’s Suffrage Memorabilia
Women in the US were not allowed to vote and run for office until the 1920s. For the longest time, women were considered second-class citizens. This is why women’s suffrage memorabilia, little mementos that remind the nation of how women fought for the right to vote are highly valued. What type of memorabilia are available?
There are women suffrage stamps, for example, which sell for $14.99. Even a news clipping about Harriot Stanton Blatch, a famous suffragist who has received much credit for fighting for women’s rights, can sell for $5.50. A photo of a suffragist rally in 1915 has an asking price of $6.49. If you have vintage newspaper or magazines stored away, check them for any related clippings!