25 Things in Your House Right Now That Could Be Worth Money
You may want to spring clean your house, barn, garage, or attic because these ordinary things could be worth money.
“Books are one of the biggest antique goldmines,” says John Linden, lead designer at MirrorCoop whose work includes interior design with vintage and antique decor. “Collectors pay a lot of money for first-edition copies of certain books. A first-edition copy of James Joyce’s Ulysses, for example, is valued at around $8,000; while there were only 1,000 copies printed, those books pop up all the time, says Linden. If you own one of these rare books, you’re sitting on a gold mine.
Costumes and masks
“Vintage Halloween masks and costumes are fun and collectible, but not worth a ton of money,” says Gary Germer, owner and appraiser with Gary Germer & Associates. A Darth Vader mask recently sold for $47 on the estate sales website EVERYTHING BUT THE HOUSE (EBTH)—EBTH. com; a set of Star Trek shirts sold for $91. Vintage holiday decorations can also be pretty valuable.
Some of us sang into hairbrushes while others used a real microphone. If you have a vintage microphone laying around, you could find a musician or music producer who would be willing to spend for it. Rare finds like the Neumann U-47 from the 1940s are worth tens of thousands of dollars online, Orkin says. But the vintage microphones most people are likely to find stashed away in a box is from a maker called Shure, which could probably fetch around $50, Orkin says.
Take a closer look at the old cookbooks that have been handed down to you; even if they have been lovingly used in the kitchen, they could be worth some scratch. Linden says cookbooks that have gone out-of-print are highly valuable. And celebrity chefs like the beloved Julia Child are always in demand. “In fact, there is a 1961 first edition of Mastering the Art of French Cooking selling on AbeBooks for $2,000 right now,” Linden says.
You hung onto your grandpa’s pedal car for nostalgic reasons, but depending on the age and condition, it could be a goldmine. Even with a little rust on it, a 1930 Lincoln pedal car is worth about $1,000, Germer says. These are the most valuable finds in Antiques Roadshow history.
Germer says his nephew calls these “antique mechanical keyboards.” He adds that anything with gears, push buttons, and tubes are especially fascinating to the younger generation who have grown up in a wireless world. “Old typewriters need to be in working condition and will sell for $20 to $100; fully restored, in the low hundreds,” says Germer. Can you guess what these antique objects were used for?
You might want to check under the tarps or in the rafters of your garage—there could be some dusty gems. “Hood ornaments, car vases, and hubcaps are the most collected for themselves because of decorative value. Headlamps and other body parts are often repurposed for the industrial design look,” notes Germer. A hood ornament in decent condition, for example, can draw $20, but if you discover a rare one, it could collect a tidy sum of up $2,500.
Maybe not the one you stepped on in the middle of the night, but specific LEGOs are worth their weight in gold. For example, the 2010 mini-figure Jessie from Toy Story 2 in like-new condition is selling for around $10 on Bricklink.com. A LEGO Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix Hogwarts Castle Set recently sold for $450. However, some of the most coveted LEGOs are the missing parts from valued sets—like a window, steering wheel, or rare color brick—and can bring up to hundreds. Here are 11 more childhood toys that are worth thousands.
Magazines, newspapers, programs, and the like are in a category called “ephemera,” Jacquie Denny, cofounder of EBTH says. That’s collector lingo for any printed matter that wasn’t made to last. “The value of items in this category is related to rarity, condition, and the number of issues,” notes Denny. Surprisingly enough, they don’t have to be ancient. A special edition Life magazine from 1969 featuring the Woodstock musical festival sold for $113 on EBTH. You may be richer than you think—if you have any of these items in your attic.
You don’t have to have an out-of-print Julia Child cookbook to earn some extra bread. Betty Crocker cookbooks that were mass-produced and widely used can be worth $10 to $500, depending on their condition (ideally, not too many fingerprint stains on the pages). But signed cookbooks by a famous chef can sell like hotcakes. “Cookbooks published by a celebrity chef will generally perform better if signed and sold while their market is current. If they’re sold after the chef has lost popularity, the value will be greatly diminished,” Denny says.