Items Around Your House That Could Be Worth Thousands

By Jake Schroeder
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Photo Courtesy: Jessica Fiess-Hill/Flickr

If you tend to keep things stored in your closets or attic, you might be in for some good news. Whether it's old childhood toys, cell phones, collectibles, or vintage items - you'd be surprised to find that this list of "clutter" lying around your house might actually be worth thousands of dollars.

If you’re ready to clear out your clutter — and maybe make some money doing it — roll up your sleeves and look for these 30 potentially valuable items as you’re sorting through the bags and boxes.

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Vinyl Records

As strange as it sounds, vinyl records are popular once again. Thanks to hipsters and other people who love nostalgic items, many records are worth more now than they were when they were shiny and new — a lot more.

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Photo Courtesy: Steve Snodgrass/Flickr

You can currently find listings online for the 1956 self-titled Elvis Presley album for around $105, while Prince’s Purple Rain album (still in its shrink wrap) is listed for $179. Not bad, but on the other hand, a rare version of Bob Dylan’s The Freewheelin’ Bob Dylan could be worth up to $30,000.

Vintage Lunch Boxes

They sure don’t make lunch boxes like they did in the 1950s and 1960s. These vintage collectors’ items featured cartoon characters, superheroes and popular television series characters. Once merely a vessel for kids to store their peanut butter and jelly sandwiches, some of these lunch boxes are now worth more than $100.

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Photo Courtesy: Keith Bedford/The Boston Globe/Getty Images

For example, a Bonanza lunch box recently sold for $130, while a lunch box featuring The Beatles sold for $400. Lunch boxes featuring characters from The Munsters, Lost in Space, Superman, Disney’s Davy Crockett and The Wild, Wild West are worth nearly $230.

Air Jordan Shoes

If you were a teenager in the 1990s, you probably wanted a pair of Air Jordans. You begged your parents for them, saved up your allowance and worked hard on your household chores to prove you could responsibly own the pricey pair of kicks.

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Photo Courtesy: Wikimedia Commons

Today, Air Jordan sneakers can sell for hundreds — sometimes even thousands — of dollars to collectors, depending on the model and the condition. If you still have them, you probably haven’t worn them in years. Instead of holding on to them for nostalgic reasons, why not earn some cash?

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Polly Pocket

Practically every young girl owned Polly Pocket toys in the 1990s. Now that you (or your children) are grown, you probably haven’t thought of them once since storing them out of sight in some dark corner, but they have some value to die-hard fans.

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Photo Courtesy: Herry Lawford/Flickr

People often sell their Polly Pocket toys on online markets, and some of the toys (generally in sets) sell for as much as $250 to $300. If you still own a collection of original Polly Pockets (in good condition), it’s time to get organized for some online selling.

Arcade Games

Did you own Pac-Man or other vintage arcade games like Donkey Kong during your childhood? It might be difficult to give these beloved treasures away for purely sentimental reasons, but some arcade games are now worth up to $2,500 if you can part with them.

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Photo Courtesy: Britta Pedersen/dpa-Zentralbild//picture alliance/Getty Images

If the game is in perfect working condition, it may be worth anywhere from $600 to $2,500. Non-working arcade games are not worth as much, but you might still fetch $100 to $400 if you’re lucky.

Cookie Jars

You might not think cookie jars are worth that much money, but think again. An old cookie jar is a hot collectible right now, especially if it’s from the 1940s or 1950s. For example, an Uncle Mistletoe Marshall Field’s cookie jar from the ‘50s is worth about $1,200.

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Photo Courtesy: TheOrangeOne/Flickr

Long-time appraiser Reyne Hirsch says any type of vintage cookie jar is worth money on online marketplaces. Cookie jars in the shape of a popular figure, like an iconic cartoon character, could sell for $200 to $500.

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Fender and Gibson Guitars

Attention, musicians! Your old Fender and Gibson guitars are worth more money than you paid when you started your first rock band back in high school. Gibson guitars are consistently bought and sold online, often for $800 to $2,500.

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Photo Courtesy: Daniel Knighton/Getty Images

A Gibson Les Paul guitar from the 1950s, perhaps one that rock star Chuck Berry could have used, can demand prices in the hundreds of thousands. Even the less popular brands and models are worth hundreds of dollars.

Watches

Women’s jewelry and fashion are always desirable, but men’s watches are in high demand as well. Watches are a lot like fancy cars — collectors look for the big names. The more complex the watch, the more valuable it could be.

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Photo Courtesy: Fred De Noyelle /GODONG

For example, collectors look for features like hand-winding, gold or platinum finishes, jewels, moon phases, stopwatch functionality, and day and time indicators when determining the watch’s value. You can count on making some money if you own a Rolex, Patek Philippe, LeCoultre, Vacheron Constantin or Movado watch — think hundreds, possibly thousands of dollars.

Turntables

If you owned records, then you definitely owned a record player — also known as a turntable — for spinning all that vinyl. Stereo equipment is consistently bought and sold online, especially vintage turntables and stereo receivers.

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Photo Courtesy: Egle_pe/Pixabay

Vintage turntables could sell for around $250 to $300 in good condition. If you’re going to sell your vinyl records, you won’t have much use for the turntable. It deserves to be used for its original purpose instead of gathering dust in your attic.

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Old Books

This might be surprising, but old hardcover books are one of the biggest antique goldmines, according to lead designer John Linden at MirrorCoop. If you’re like many people, you own a lot of books you won’t ever read again.

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Photo Courtesy: jarmoluk/Pixabay

"Collectors pay a lot of money for first edition copies of certain books," Linden explained. For example, a rare, first edition copy of James Joyce’s Ulysses was recently valued at around $8,000, and more and more rare books are being sold at high values.

Old Microphones

You probably didn’t own real microphones when you were singing along to your favorite songs, but if you did and you’re lucky enough to still own a vintage microphone, you might be able to find a musician or music producer willing to spend a lot of money to own it now.

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Photo Courtesy: Robert Alexander/Getty Images

Of course, far more people owned vintage microphones made by Shure, and you could still fetch about $50 for this microphone. That may not sound impressive, but it’s a solid amount for an item you would otherwise throw away.

Typewriters

Typewriters have become valuable antique finds in recent years. Some writers like the sense of nostalgia that goes with these writing tools and want to compose their next award-winning, critically acclaimed novel the old-fashioned way — or they just want to preserve the history by proudly displaying these vintage items.

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Photo Courtesy: Matthew Jonas/MediaNews Group/Longmont Times-Call/Getty Images

If you own a working typewriter in perfect condition made by a popular brand like Remington, it could be worth at least $100. You may have used the typewriter all the time in your childhood or early in your career, but probably not so much after the invention of desktop and laptop computers.

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LEGOs

If you’re tired of stepping on LEGO pieces in the middle of the night, you can sell specific LEGO sets as well as the mini-figures included in playsets. For example, the LEGO Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix Hogwarts Castle set is worth about $450.

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Photo Courtesy: Wikimedia Commons

When it comes to some of the most coveted LEGOs, the playsets could be missing pieces, such as a window or a rare color brick, and still be worth hundreds of dollars. Although collectors prefer complete sets, they care more about owning rare finds, even if they aren’t perfect.

Old Magazines

In today’s age of digital content and social media, it’s hard to believe people used to read magazines and newspapers in droves. Vintage magazines like Look and Life are considered treasured archives for providing valuable information about history and popular culture.

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Photo Courtesy: CatDancing/Flickr

"The value of items in this category is related to rarity, condition and the number of issues," said Jacquie Denny, co-founder of EBTH. Some magazines can sell for up to $115 each. You may be richer than you think if you’ve got stacks of old magazines stored away.

TV Guide

Do you remember when you had to check TV Guide magazine to learn when your favorite shows would be airing? Instead of finding the network schedules online, people had to look them up the old school way. This magazine also reported celebrity and television news.

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Photo Courtesy: tomovox/Flickr

Vintage issues of TV Guide could be worth $100 each. The most valuable publication is the April 3, 1953, issue, featuring a cover photo of I Love Lucy actress Lucille Ball and her "$50 Million Baby," Desi Arnaz Jr. Distributed in only 10 U.S. cities, this issue is worth about $1,500 for a rare perfect copy.

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Polaroid Cameras

The more social media seems to invade society, the more people want to collect nostalgic items from the past, including the iconic Polaroid camera. Taking a photo and watching it develop right before your very eyes seemed like space age technology at the time.

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Photo Courtesy: FlanellKamerasFilm/Pixabay

A Polaroid instant camera with film is worth as much as $150 today. In addition, a fancier Polaroid with a gold and leather-bound case recently sold for $550. Maybe you don’t need this classic camera anymore, but there’s a good chance someone out there wants it.

Pyrex Dishes

You know exactly what these dishes look like, even if you don’t know the name. Your mother and grandmothers most likely owned Pyrex dishes, and people still love them today. In some cases, they’re willing to spend a lot of money on certain vintage dishes.

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Photo Courtesy: Shawn Patrick Ouellette/Portland Press Herald/Getty Images

For example, a butter dish recently sold online for $225, bowl sets are valued at $300 and a chip and dip set could be worth $100. If you spent your teen years making fun of your grandma’s flower-covered casserole dishes, it’s time to think differently and thank her for passing them down to you.

American Girl Dolls

What young girl didn’t own an American Girl doll during her childhood? These dolls looked like their owners or taught them about history. The original historical dolls, including Kirsten, Molly and Samantha, are worth thousands of dollars. The Samantha doll is listed online for as much as $4,200. However, there are some requirements for selling these dolls.

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Photo Courtesy: Jim, the Photographer/Flickr

If you’re hoping to make a lot of money from your old American Girl dolls, you need to have dolls that are stored in their original boxes with their outfits and accessories included. If your doll is alone and out of the package, it’s not a lost cause and could still be worth hundreds of dollars.

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Baseball Cards

Baseball cards were popular collectibles in the ‘50s, ‘60s and ‘70s. In 2019, some of the rarest cards are now worth more money than people could have possibly dreamed about in the ‘60s.

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For example, a 1952 Topps Mickey Mantle rookie card in near-mint condition recently sold for $1,000. A 1916 Babe Ruth rookie card is worth a cool $1 million. Other Babe Ruth baseball cards sell for around $900,000.

Autographed Baseball

Are you ready to get rid of any autographed baseballs you have? As you can probably imagine, autographed items are worth hundreds or even thousands of dollars — if the right person signed it. For example, Babe Ruth’s 1933 All-Star Game home run ball is worth $800,000. A Joe DiMaggio and Marilyn Monroe signed baseball is on the market for $190,000.

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Depending on who signed it, you might be able to sell your old autographed baseballs for more money than you thought. In addition, if you own other sports memorabilia, including baseball bats, jerseys and helmets, you can also sell these items for hefty prices.

Old Coins

People love to collect old coins to see how "money tokens" used to look. Coin values depend primarily on their condition and rarity. For example, a rare Kansas state quarter that has a smudge on the letter "T" in "In God We Trust" is valued at around $100.

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Photo Courtesy: AlexSky/Pixabay

A half-cent penny featuring a liberty cap from 1793 to 1797 is valued up to $10,000, while a 1943 Lincoln penny is valued anywhere from $20,000 to $50,000. On the other hand, plenty of old coins (like a small cent featuring a flying eagle) are only worth $10 to $50.

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Postcards

Writing and sending postcards has turned into a forgotten tradition. Most people don’t bother when they can simply post a photo on Facebook of their travels for family and friends to see.

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Photo Courtesy: Nietjuh/Pixabay

If you still have random postcards tucked into a drawer in your home, it’s time to inspect them. One postcard could sell for $2, but others may be worth as much as a few hundred dollars. Age, rarity, condition and subject matter all play a role in determining the postcard’s value.

Fiestaware

Fiestaware (or just Fiesta) is a popular line of ceramic glazed dinnerware that has been manufactured since 1936. The dishes are known for their Art Deco styling, featuring concentric circles and a bright range of solid colors.

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Photo Courtesy: miss_kay59/Pixabay

In 2002, The New York Times reported that the dishware is "the most collected brand of china in the United States." A cake plate from that period is worth about $1,600, while a casserole dish is valued at around $300.

China Sets

You probably don’t use your china set very often — maybe not since right after you got married. That probably means your china doesn’t have any sentimental value attached to it, which makes it easier to sell.

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Photo Courtesy: Brett_Hondow/Pixabay

China sets have become valuable commodities on many online marketplaces. For example, a complete Wedgwood bone china set is valued at about $1,200. A Royal Crown Derby "Gold Aves" English bone china dinnerware set is worth $3,200.

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Vintage/Retro Clothing

Vintage and retro clothing has become popular again after years of being considered "out of style." If you still own your old mid-century day dresses, ‘60’s mini-dresses, bohemian chic outfits from the ‘70s, denim jackets from the ‘50s or retro concert T-shirts from the ‘80s, you’re in luck.

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Photo Courtesy: annanes13/Pixabay

For example, a Prince T-shirt recently sold for $380, and a ‘50’s Levi’s brand denim jacket is worth more than $1,000. A plain black mini-dress from the ‘60s sells for as much as $100. An authentic beaded "flapper" dress from the ‘20s could command hundreds of dollars, while a mid-century day dress from the ‘40s or ‘50s is valued around $150.

Old Cell Phones

It’s hard to imagine that a cell phone could even be considered an "antique" in 2019. However, the "father of the cell phone," Motorola DynaTAC from the ‘80s and ‘90s — Zack Morris’ cell phone on Saved by the Bell — is worth up to $500.

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Photo Courtesy: Mirko Toller/Flickr

In addition, the 2008 Nokia 8800 Arte Carbon is a valuable cell phone due to its stainless steel, carbon fiber and titanium design. If you still own this "ancient" device, it could be worth $1,000. Finally, if you still have your very first Apple iPhone from 2007, you could earn $600.

Comic Books

If you still own the early comic book adventures of popular superheroes like Batman, Superman and Spider-Man, you could be looking at a large profit if you’re willing to sell. Currently, original copies of the Black Panther comic book series from the ‘70s are valued at about $50 per issue, largely due to the success of the 2018 Marvel action movie.

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Photo Courtesy: Sam Howzit/Flickr

Prices of superhero comics tend to go up when the characters are back in the spotlight. Pay attention to the release dates for upcoming Marvel and DC movies and make a list of what you have in your old comic collection. If your comics are still in good condition, you could fetch a high price for some of them.

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Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles

Before the 1987 release of the television series Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, the characters appeared as a satirical comic in 1984. Children collected action figures and other fun games based on the show. Now, these beloved ‘80s toys are worth more money than you could have imagined during your childhood.

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Photo Courtesy: Gareth Cattermole/Getty Images

For example, an unopened Michelangelo figure is worth about $50, while an opened package is valued at about $15. A vintage Shredder action figure, still sealed in the package, sells for around $500. A Raphael figure in its packaging and containing all its accessories is worth about $300.

G.I. Joe Action Figures

Maybe you or your father played with G.I. Joe toys, which were released in 1964. The action figures offered a realistic depiction of the United States’ armed forces: Army, Navy, Air Force and Marine Corps. In fact, this toy coined the term "action figure" in popular culture. Now, the vintage toys are worth a large sum.

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For example, a 1982 Bazooka Soldier sells for about $350. The 1984 Firefly — one of the franchise’s best-known antagonists — has a value of $1,000. A 1982 MOBAT Army tank, which was discontinued in 1985, is currently selling for more than $1,100.

Barbie Dolls

Barbies are considered a pop culture phenomenon (first released in 1959), so they’re super valuable collectibles on many marketplaces. The first Barbie doll ever sold, with her classic zebra swimsuit and blonde hair, is now priced around $8,000 if it’s in mint condition.

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Photo Courtesy: RomitaGirl67/Flickr

In addition, a 1962 Midge Barbie doll is worth close to $800. Vintage dolls sold from 1959 to the late ‘60s often sell for around $25,000 each. A 1971 Barbie Hair Happenin’ doll sold for $1,600. Of course, it might be difficult to part with your old Barbie dolls — and a big part of your childhood — but it’s probably time to give Barbie a new home.

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