Valuable collectibles are out there waiting to be discovered! What treasures do you have in your attic that could be described as a valuable collectible? There may be some hidden riches in your attic that you need to dust off and send to the auction house!
Valuable Collectibles are Out There!
When I go to someone’s house to talk about listing it, I walk through with the seller to see exactly what needs to be done to get the property ready for market. Frequently, homes need to be decluttered and refreshed. New paint, fresh carpet, some new accent pieces are all part of the advice – but the decluttering is one of the hardest things to do! We all have too much stuff, and sorting through it and getting rid of it can be difficult. Instead, you should imagine that if you were on a treasure hunt for valuable collectibles! Imagine how much easier it would be to sort through all your belongings if you are looking for something to take to the Antique Roadshow. Things are frequently put up in the attic and then forgotten. There may be things in your attic that you have forgotten!
Many of us have ventured into the attic and looked around at the collectibles collecting dust without realizing that many of those things taking up valuable space could be valuable in themselves. Maybe our families held onto keepsakes for their sentimental value, or perhaps you simply found it too difficult to part with the items. Either way, you should spend a few hours going through those dusty boxes—some of those items could be worth thousands of dollars. As Nicolas Martin, flea market expert and founder of Flea Market Insiders, says, “The odds of finding something valuable in your attic are much higher than winning the lottery!”
How to Identify the Valuable Collectibles
The obvious way to find out if that collectible has value is to Google it or check out eBay. Martin says, “Online valuations via Google, eBay, and the like provide useful feedback on quality and resale potential. But appraisals can also secure insurance and satisfy curiosity.”
Valuable Collectibles You Should Look For
Here are some categories of valuable collectibles that may get you motivated to check out your attic.
Vintage Perfume Bottles
Perfume bottles are a popular item for collectors. Vintage atomizer perfume bottles and Victorian bottles with elaborate designs can sell for hundreds of dollars. Czechoslovakian fragrance bottles from the Roaring Twenties and the Great Depression eras are also in high demand. For more information about the value of your perfume bottle you might reach out to the International Perfume Bottle Association.
I went to eBay recently to see how much my 1960s Barbie dolls are worth. Unfortunately for me, Barbies in their original boxes tend to get a higher value than those that have been opened or played with. So, if you find your grandma’s 1950s Barbie doll in great condition in your attic, you might be able to sell it for a few thousand dollars at an antique auction. I will just keep my old Barbies for my daughter!
First Edition Books
Some first edition books of classics or best sellers sell for thousands of dollars. The rare first edition of Chaucer’s The Canterbury Tales has gone for more than $15,000 on AbeBooks. And the first edition of Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone (1998) recently was valued on eBay at $6,999. Books that are in like-new and excellent condition and that have author signatures also have high value for collectors. While you are going through your old books, you might even find something to read yourself. If you don’t find any valuable collectibles in your stacks of old books, you can still donate them to your local library and receive a tax deduction! Maybe not the same as a $15,000 Canterbury Tales, but still something of value!
Originally created by Corning Glass Works in 1915 and later rebranded as Pyrex, Pyrex used to be the brand of choice for cookware. Now it is worth a lot of money for those in the antique collectible scene—and it recently saw a major resurgence after it went viral on TikTok. While almost any vintage Pyrex item could appeal to collectors, the most in-demand Pyrex pieces come from the late 1940s to the ’80s. The better the condition of the cookware, the higher the valuable collectibles.
Vintage Comic Books
These serial graphic stories told visual tales of superheroes, aliens, high school kids, and detectives. You can check the Comics Price Guide to get started on valuing any comic books that you find in the attic. According to GoCollect’s Most Popular Comic Books List, the Amazing Spider-Man issue #300 has sold at prices ranging anywhere from $325 to $1,400. We all wish our mothers hadn’t cleaned out our closets every fall!
Vintage phones, typewriters, and electronics can all fetch high prices in the antique market. At The Old Phone Shop, Western Electric phones sell for hundreds of dollars. Restored vintage typewriters and old computers are also in demand. Apple’s original Mac computer sells for around $100 to $300 on eBay—but has been known to sell for as much as $900,000. And don’t overlook the technology from the early 2000s: A factory-sealed, first generation iPhone just sold at auction for an eye popping $63,000.
Those black-and-white and sepia photographs that you can find in boxes and old albums in your attic can also be worth a lot of money. People love to collect vintage photographs of former eras because it’s a great way to connect with history. Original photos of famous people or iconic cars are in demand, but photos of unknown people can still fetch a good price.
Your silver spoons, forks, and knives in the attic could be very valuable in the antique marketplace. The Queen Anne by James Robinson Sterling Silver Flatware Set (44 pieces), for example, sells for $7,900 per set on 1stDibs, an online antique and fine art marketplace. You’ll first want to determine that an item is real silver, and silver flatware that wasn’t mass produced tends to be more valuable. Certain designers and manufacturers also fetch higher prices.
According to an antique dealer in Sarasota Florida, the top five most sought after flatware patterns are Grand Baroque by Wallace, Repousse by Stieff, Francis I by Reed and Barton, Eloquence Sterling by Lunt, and King Richard by Towle. Isn’t it ironic that our children don’t want our sterling and crystal but strangers will pay large sums for it?
This might come as a huge surprise, but there is indeed a market for old costume jewelry. One of the most popular antique costume jewelry brands is Bakelite, first manufactured in the 1920s but very popular in the 1930s and 1940s. If you find costume jewelry in your attic, research its designer, maker, and dates to find out if it could be worth something.
If you have ever bought a musical instrument for a child, then you know how much high-quality musical instruments cost. Guitars and pianos can sell for high amounts of money in the antique marketplace. You’ll want to research the type, make, and model of your instrument to find out its potential value. The Bluebook of Pianos can give you a good idea of the valuation of your vintage piano. Some pianos take luxury to the next level and come with a hefty price tag. For example, the Casablanca “As Time Goes By” piano sold at Bonhams auction house for a whopping $3.4 million in 2014, making it the most expensive piano ever sold in the world. In 2000, John Lennon’s white piano was sold at an auction for $2.1 million. The piano was used by Lennon during the recording of several albums, including The Beatles’ final album, Abbey Road on a slightly less stratospheric level, a Steinway & Sons Macassar Ebony Grand Piano in great condition, for example, could sell for $69,500. On the other hand, many people cannot give away their old baby grand pianos. It is definitely important to know what you have by doing the research yourself.