Do you have an unexpected bill you need to pay, and fast? Take a dig throughout your attic – heirlooms and collectibles you’ve been hanging on to for decades could be worth more than you think.
If you get lucky, some may make you a small fortune? Which items should you keep your eyes peeled for? Below, we’ll list 30 collectibles that you can convert into cash, be it online or down at the pawn shop.
(1) Sports cards
Do you have binders filled with baseball cards rammed away in the corner of your attic? Check them – they could be traded for thousands of dollars.
The average card in ‘excellent condition’ from the 1970s trades for about $10-$20. Multiply that by hundreds of cards, and you could have a tidy sum on your hands. And if your Dad gifted you cards from his era? You could strike it big!
(2) Pokemon cards and Magic The Gathering
Sports cards aren’t the only collectible cards worth mad money. Some Pokemon cards are in short supply – Machamps from the 1st edition run in 1999 are worth 1,000 USD. Have you got a 1st edition Shadowless Charizard? 3,000 USD is the market rate. Magic: The Gathering has even a bigger market, especially for graded mint MTG cards.
And if you somehow have one of the five Pikachu Illustrators in existence, accept no less than 100,000 USD for it.
If you inherited a bunch of dusty, old books from your parent’s estate, take a closer look at them. Limited first printings of certain books can be worth radically more than later printings. For instance, Casino Royale, the first James Bond novel by Ian Fleming, had a first edition of 4,700 copies.
If its dust jacket is in good shape, you can flip it for 40,000 USD. If it’s in mint shape, you have a 130,000 USD novel on your hands.
A popular collectible, it can be hard to make money even on older coins. For example, you’ll be lucky to get 10 USD for a circulated dime from 1916.
However, runs of coins with mistakes can be worth dramatically more, thanks to their rarity. Double dies, broadstrikes, and coins struck with the wrong design can be worth hundreds, even thousands of dollars.
(5) Video games
We don’t mean to make Gen Xers feel old, but – the games you played as kids could now be worth serious cash. If you have a copy of Sonic the Hedgehog that’s in good condition, that’s 400 USD right there.
Remember working up a sweat playing Stadium Events? If so, you might want to check the floor pad it came with. If it is called the ‘Bandi Family Fun Fitness’ pad rather than the Power Pad, you have a 1,000 USD game on your hands.
(6) Vinyl records
Vinyl is enjoying a resurgence lately. As such, the value of rare, collectible records is on the rise. For example, the 1st pressing of Buddy Holly’s “That’ll Be The Day” is worth 1,000 USD in good condition.
Did you get a hold of Nirvana’s first album, Bleach, back in the day? If it’s the red and white marbled and in mint condition, it will fetch you 3,200 USD.
(7) Musical instruments
Did your Dad pass down his old Fender Strat to you when you were a teenager? If it’s in good condition, it could be worth a considerable sum. 1970 Strats can be worth over 6,000 USD, but if it’s from 1954 and in great shape, you could get over 20,000 USD for it.
(8) Musical memorabilia
Did you come into possession of a Kurt Cobain-penned setlist, signed by him and the band? This piece of memorabilia and others like it could be worth big bucks. A bidding war over a Nirvana setlist at Bonham’s Auction House in Glasgow produced a €7,000 payday for the establishment.
Those animated adventures you immersed yourself into as a child could now make your money problems go away. The earlier in the series a comic is, the better. If you’re lucky enough to have a #1 for a popular series, have a seat – it could be worth anywhere from 84,000 USD to 440,000 USD.
(10) Action figures
Got your comic book/movie heroes in action figure form? If you never took them out of the box, you could be in for a big payday. A 1978 Luke Skywalker could be worth more than 25,000 USD in its original box.
(11) Vintage branded signs
Did you pick up some old-looking Coca-Cola signs for your basement at a flea market recently? Look closer – if it’s a porcelain enamel sign – it could be worth hundreds or even thousands of dollars, dependant on condition.
(12) China (flatware)
You inherited fine china from your wife’s parents estate, but you’ve never used it. Depending on its age and style, though, it could fetch you a tidy sum. If it hails from England, the odds of having valuable plates increases considerably.
(13) Perfume bottles
After poking around the attic, you came across a collection of shapely, colorful bottles. These are likely perfume bottles – take them to an appraiser. If they came from Europe, circa 19th century, you could have some valuable antiques in your possession.
(14) VHS movies
No, this entry isn’t a joke – some VHS movies actually have collector value. For instance, an excellent condition ‘Land Before Time’ VHS tape can fetch 150 USD on eBay.
Additionally, check any old Disney movies you have for a ‘Black Diamond.’ These icons signify limited-edition Disney tapes that can sell for more than 10,000 USD on eBay.
Remember life before Microsoft Word? It wasn’t that long ago that we banged out school reports on typewriters. In the last generation, machines in good condition have gotten rare, fast. These days, you could get a hundred bucks for a 50-year-old unit in average condition.
If your parents moved to America from overseas, however, their European units could fetch you hundreds or even thousands of dollars.
(16) Christmas ornaments
If you’re like us, your attic is probably overflowing with Christmas ornaments. Next season, take a look at them with a more critical eye. If you received some hand-me-down pieces from your parents, they could be worth 5 USD to 250 USD – each.
This entry is one of the more stereotypical items on this list. However, due to the sheer volume of art floating around, don’t expect to score a huge sum per piece. That said, if it’s an original, its value will increase significantly in the eyes of an appraiser.
As a child, you loved dolls — a lot. So, your parents bought you some collectibles to decorate your room. Now’s the time to examine them closely to see if they have collector value. If the maker crafted them before they were ‘mass produced’ in the 1980s, they likely have some value. Depending on condition and rarity, you could get between 5 USD to 2,000 USD+ per piece.
(19) Old Apple computers
The power of our smartphones outdoes that of 1980s computers by several thousand times. However, the nostalgia of having an operating old-school Macintosh has led collectors to pay thousands of dollars for them. If you got an old unit gathering dust in your basement, turn that baby into cold, hard, cash.
Another standby of collectors, generations of families has passed down stamp collections. If you found one in your attic, each stamp contained therein could be worth a buck each. It doesn’t sound like a lot, but it adds up. Truly rare pieces can be worth dozens or hundreds of dollars.
(21) Movie props
Got a wacky item in storage? There’s a chance someone in your family worked as an extra on a film shoot and was gifted a movie prop. If it has identifying marks that can trace it back to a production, it could be worth anywhere from hundreds to millions of dollars.
(22) Board games
Often, game nights were the best nights spent together as a family. If you still have a generations-old edition of Monopoly kicking around, it could be worth between 300 to 900 USD.
(23) Assorted sports memorabilia
From game-worn jerseys to historic balls/pucks, sports memorabilia has more than sentimental value. If it came with a certificate of authenticity, it could sell for well into the thousands of dollars.
Watches are another item commonly passed down between generations. If it is a name-brand watch that has a pedigree going back decades or centuries, chances are you’ll get at least four figures.
If it is in marvelous condition, a five-figure payday isn’t out of the question. Just don’t tell the in-laws you sold it.
(25) Movie posters
You grew up in a family of movie buffs. Finding a collection of finely-preserved movie posters only brought fond memories flooding back. If some of these are in demand, though, your bank account could get flooded with green.
Case in point: The Dark Knight advance poster sold for 20 USD new, but now goes for 300 USD, thanks to Heath Ledger’s untimely demise before its release.
(26) Lego sets
They do more than hurt your feet early in the morning – if you have certain unopened Lego sets, they can fetch a handsome price. For instance, the Star Wars Y-Wing Attack Starfighter edition now sells for 1,150 USD online.
(27) Military memorabilia
Some families would never dream of parting with military medals passed down by older generations. You can’t sell these – a law passed in 2005 prohibits it. However, other military/wartime items, like propaganda posters, helmets, and swords, all have real value.
Prices range from a couple hundred to tens of thousands of dollars. Before throwing them online, take them to an appraiser, so you don’t get hosed.
In some families, pieces of antique furniture have passed from one household to another for generations. Here, you’ll need to do some research: note patterns and other design elements; take pictures; compare them against known styles of furniture your parents/grandparents/great-grandparents would have bought.
By doing this, you’ll give your appraiser all the info needed to make their job easier. Depending on their condition, it could be worthless – or many thousands of dollars.
(29) Vintage fashion
Still have the vintage Chanel dress your Mom gave you on your wedding day? If the tag is intact and the piece itself is in good condition, it could get you a great price. Some sites list sale prices well over 2,000 USD, but see an expert before getting too excited.
Ever since we started exploring the Seven Seas, we’ve been making maps. You’re unlikely to find maps from the era of Captain Cook in your attic. However, if you have one in excellent shape that dates from the early 20th century or before, you could easily get a few hundred dollars for it.