Have you ever discovered the delight of collecting things? Among other things, items that prove popular among collectors are vinyl records, model train sets, and baseball cards. There is nothing wrong with this if you do it out of a love for these objects. However, you might have rotten luck if you are hoping to make a fortune out of this hobby. Even though there are people who have been lucky enough to put together a valuable treasure trove, there are plenty of hoarders who just sit on a mountain of junk. It can be devastating to learn that your life’s hobby is worth nothing to other people, but you can always dispose of certain things by holding a yard sale at the very least.
Model Train Sets
There are a ton of people who like to collect model train sets, which undoubtedly makes for a fun hobby. You are going to find many websites, clubs, and organizations made up of passionate model train painters, builders, and experts. While a ton of model trains are worth a lot of money, the resale value typically pales in comparison. Some people think that their model train set will go for a lot of money as Howard Gondola products tend to do. A recent one was sold on eBay for $1,175. The truth is that there are plenty of brand-new and secondhand model train sets that do not fetch as high a price. On a good day, however, you can expect your historical ones to fetch a hundred bucks or so.
Fair enough, kids these days no longer seem super interested in baseball cards. Still, there was a time when this was a huge hit among members of the older generations. It was a huge craze even before Pokémon entered the scene. There are a lot of vintage baseball cards that feature the greatest American baseball players, but a regular card is not worth a fortune. If you have the 1989 card of Ken Griffey Jr, you can only expect to make $100. On the other hand, the Mark McGwire one is only worth $10.
Do you think porcelain dolls are cute or creepy? At any rate, we are sure that you would agree with us when we say that they are fascinating. Some collectors even go as far as to reserve a single room in their house for these dolls. It is true that a lot of people are willing to pay good money for them, mostly for old times’ sake. We can see that these pieces took a lot of craftsmanship to make. However, the sad truth is that not many people will shell out more than $10 apiece.
There are a lot of people who will fondly recall how exciting it was to buy a Pez dispenser. These cute candy cases were crowned with the head of a cute character. When you flip them back, you can get a piece of candy from its mouth! We can see the appeal of collecting these magazine-shaped dispensers. This is the reason we are sad to report that each dispenser will only bring in a single dollar each. Of course, you are in luck if you happen to be in possession of certain famous ones. The Elvis Presley one is worth significantly more than the rest, but even this is only going to fetch you about $9.20.
Royal Family Memorabilia
Now more than ever, you might have figured out that there are a lot of British royal family fans. There are people who go as far as to decorate their homes with different mementos from events like royal weddings, births, jubilees, and christenings. Even though they mean well with this level of patriotism, it does not mean that everyone else puts a lot of stock on these items. You will be hard-pressed to find auctioneers and collectors interested in your Queen Elizabeth II fine china. They are not anywhere near as valuable and rare as you might think.
Vintage Band T-Shirts
It feels like classic rock ‘n’ roll tees will never go out of style among youngsters. Fans of these bands have gotten annoyed with all the posers who wear vintage clothes that honor legendary bands without knowing their music. But how much are these pieces of clothing actually worth? For reference, you can buy a Queen band shirt from their 1978 tour for only $9.49. You can have classic band shirts that commemorate amazing concerts from several decades ago, but they will not be worth all that much.
Did your great-great-grandmother pass on her silverware collection to you? It is possible that the family has kept it in sparkling condition throughout the years. Such an object will be priceless to members of the family, but how much is it worth? Silver is a valuable metal, but there are plenty of people on eBay trying to get rid of their silverware. This means that the demand for these sets has been swallowed up by the supply. An antique store will be more profitable, but we don’t recommend getting your hopes up.
In the 2000s, Pandora Charms was a hit among women young and old. The brand is behind those diverse and intricate charms that you can string together to make a fun and meaningful necklace or bracelet. There are folks who have spent thousands of bucks for a personalized set! We are sad to report that these charms are not worth a lot of money in this day and age. You can only expect to fetch a significant amount of money for certain rare charms that have since been discontinued. Otherwise, no dice.
We do not recommend collecting Beanie Babies if you are in it for the money. It is true that these toys take us on a walk down memory lane, but they are not good for anything else. They will also turn any bedroom into a colorful and crazy mess. In 1995, people started to hoard these toys because there was talk of high resale value. Collectors tried to cash in on this rumor, which had been well-founded. Some got lucky and turned a profit in the plush toy section of eBay. Unfortunately, the mania was short-lived.
New Comic Books
There are a lot of old, sealed comic books that are worth a good sum of money. After all, there is no lack of superhero fanatics eager to collect everything that has to do with their favorite characters. The new editions are not the best investment. Their value will go down the very moment that you walk out of the store. Do you want to make money out of comics? If so, you might want to hoard certain volumes such as the Detective Comics, which served as the debut of Batman. It once went for a cool $2.8 million.
In the 20th century, there was nothing quite like collecting stamps. Not that long ago, stamps were not mass-produced in the same way that they are now. The most notable pieces commemorate important historical events. These days, it is easy to buy stamps for cheap since they are now made in factories. Sadly, not a lot of people value these sticky squares either. We sure hope that older folks do not regret spending so much time on this hobby of theirs. At the very least, old stamps are still nice to look at.
You must be very young if you do not know what Pogs are. They are colorful discs with attractive designs about everything from cartoons to athletes. Not only could you collect them, but you could also play a game with the pieces. They made for a fun way to spend time with your friends. Sadly, they are now useless. This is not the way to go if you want to make money as even big collections are only worth $10.
Newer Star Wars Toys
The Star Wars saga has one of the most valuable toy franchises ever made. Those from the ‘70s are valued more than most. If you have an original action figure of Luke Skywalker, you can fetch a good amount of money for it. Even so, the toy market is now oversaturated with figurines from the new movies and TV shows. As a matter of fact, even toys made in the ‘90s and ‘00s are not very valuable.
The Majority Of Vinyl Records
There are plenty of people who do not know what vinyl records are. Now that we are used to streaming services, vinyl records might seem a little outdated. In 2017, we saw a “vinyl revival” when Sony Entertainment started to reinject it into the market. The process was built on the backs of a revival that started in 2007. This is good news for music lovers, but it also led to the depreciation of vintage vinyl records as well. It must suck to put in so much effort into your collection only for its value to go down.
The famous Barbie doll hit the market in 1959. It goes without saying that the rest is history! No other doll has managed to reach the same level of fame that this one did. We hope that you are lucky enough to have a grandma or mom who bought an original and kept it in good condition. If this is the case, you might be sitting on $25,000. Of course, your doll should be boxed and in mint condition for this to work. Other Barbies will not fetch anywhere near the same amount. As a matter of fact, you can only expect to earn $10 to $20 by reselling a regular doll that is in excellent shape in a sealed box.
Vintage Playboy Magazines
You are not going to convince anyone that you purchased issues of Playboy magazine for the articles. Despite this, the “gentlemen’s magazine” has undoubtedly remained popular in the magazine scene ever since it first came out in 1953. A lot of celebrities have graced the pages of the magazine over the years. It is not an obscure title whatsoever since it is available in many parts of the world. While newer copies are not all that valuable, you should consider yourself a lucky person if you have editions from before 1970.
Anyone who lives in an old home in the United States will probably have at least a couple of these figurines. Precious Moments were quite the sensation ever since they were introduced in 1978. Even though there were certain special figurines that they released, they were only valuable during the height of the craze. These days, people have lost interest in these adorable memorabilia. You are going to find a lot of them on online auction sites such as eBay.
Norman Rockwell Collector Plates
There are few artists in the history of the United States to attain the same level of fame that Norman Rockwell has. His work has graced the covers of magazines such as The Saturday Evening Post and even classic novel covers such as “The Adventures of Tom Sawyer” and “The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn.” These collector plates have a lot of sentimental value, but their monetary value is not all that notable. You can get an original one at Antique Trader for only $10 even though it was once valued at $50 to $75.
A lot of people have become very interested in Funko figurines in the past few years. They first came out in 1998. The line has turned into a hit with the explosion of pop culture consumerism. Perhaps you own a couple of these bobblehead figurines yourself! They are still pretty new in the market, so experts are not sure how they are going to fare in the future. With that said, it might be better to spend your hard-earned money on things that the pros have already identified as good investments.
Franklin Mint Collectibles
Do you want to know which dolls are worth your money? If so, you might want to follow the advice of the actual companies with a grain of salt. In 2010, a Lorraine Schwartz Barbie fetched an incredible price of $7,500. This led to people trying to pawn off their dolls for a lot of money. Franklin Mint was among those businesses that tried to convince its customers that their dolls would make for a good investment. This claim proved false since they only have a current resale value of anywhere from $20 to $50.
You will find a ton of vintage collectors that will not even bat an eye at digital cameras and smartphones. It is their goal to look for film cameras. Daniel Kalter, who works at Lincoln Square Pawnbrokers, decided to weigh in on this. He said that he sees many folks looking to buy cameras from the ‘70s and ‘80s. They are convinced that this will make them a fortune! The truth is that shops like theirs are full of dusty old cameras, which means that it is hard to resell them for a lot of money. Focus on ancient film instead.
VHS And DVD Collections
On the other hand, there are people who think that old VHS and DVD tapes are in high demand by those who still own tape players. It is true that most people will prefer to watch their movies in HD and Blu-Ray instead. Good luck looking for a buyer who wants to take those old records off your hands. The sad truth is that only collectors in niche circles will pay you more than $5 for a couple of dozen VHS tapes.
The Second World War was one of the most turbulent periods in recent memory. The Hummel figurine rose to fame during this point in time. American infantrymen deployed to West Germany after the Axis power surrendered mailed these to their families back home. Even though these figurines were worth a lot of money in those days, their value reached its peak when the ‘70s rolled in. These days, they are not worth very much whatsoever. Let us hear it from Mike Rivkin, who owns the Antique Galleries of Palm Springs: “Traditional collectibles like Hummel sites are virtually unsellable today. We direct people looking to sell such items to nearby thrift shops. There’s simply no market.”
This might just be one of the most historical entries on the list. The Morgan dollars entered circulation nearing the end of the 1800s. At the time, they were very valuable pieces. The demand for the desirable silver dollar saw a rise in the ‘20s. The supply went on to overtake the demand. This is the reason these coins no longer retained their lucrative status. These days, their worth now relies on their silver mass.
Indian Head Pennies
The United States Mint kept the Indian Head pennies in circulation from 1859 to 1909. James Barton Longacre, who was the Chief Engraver at the Philadelphia Mint, had been the one to design these one-cent coins. After the war, the Indian Head penny began to rule the scene. They were sought after by collectors, but the demand for them started to go down once there were over 100 million coins in circulation by 1907. The penny got a redesign by Victor D. Brenner, who gave it an Abe Lincoln likeness.
Happy Meal Toys
McDonald’s first introduced Happy Meals back in the ‘70s. Kids all over the globe have been celebrating them since then. The red boxes with the Golden Arches for handles came with a meal, although most people had their eyes on the toy inside. There are a couple of editions that have gone for around $500, but these are not very difficult to find since people go to the fast-food chain all the time. If you want your Happy Meal collectible to remain valuable, you should keep it in good shape inside the actual box.
What exactly is “brown furniture”? Well, this is a term used to describe antique pieces with a distinct dark and sturdy appearance. It includes everything from chairs to bed frames to cabinets to dining room tables. The real value of the pieces lies in their ownership history instead of the style of furniture. If you own one that used to belong to George Washington, you can get a lot of money for it. However, no one will be very excited to buy regular pieces in the style that date back to the 19th and 20th centuries.
We doubt that you are old enough to own rare children’s books. Modern publishing houses still print a lot of books under this category, so you can even get a lot of your favorites for your own children to read. But you should not bank on making a lot of money out of your old ones. You can only expect a book to get a good sum of money if it is a popular but rare title. It would help if it is a first edition copy too.
Cabbage Patch Kids
Yes, we know that it is hard to believe that parents used to fight with each other in stores to get their kids the most popular Cabbage Patch Kids dolls on the market. These toys stayed successful in the ‘80s and sold for $30 each. Nowadays, kids do not have much interest in these rather ordinary dolls. On top of that, not many pieces stayed in decent enough shape for anyone to fork out a lot of cash for them.
Vintage College Pennants
Are you fed up with your friends and family members showing off their Harvard or Yale pennants? There is no need to worry because you are not alone. If this is the case, you might feel vindicated once you learn that no one else really thinks they are valuable. Trust us when we say that you are not the only person who doesn’t want to look at them. Collectors rarely want to own these pennants if they did not go to the actual school themselves. Basically, these are only made for the sake of bragging rights.
Before the ‘70s rolled in, Mattel made its mark on the miniature model car market by ushering in its Hot Wheels line. These tiny speeders had been in high demand a couple of decades ago, but many of them remain manufactured even to this day. As you can guess, it has caused their value to go down a lot. That said, there are a few unique models that will fetch you a ton of money. Of course, they are very rare.
Autographed Sports Memorabilia
You are in for a fortune if you own sports memorabilia signed by legends and icons. It has earned a spot on the list due to the sourcing process. You see, folks need to spend a ton of time and money to obtain certain pieces. Those who manage to get valuable ones, such as one signed by Babe Ruth, will still find it hard to look for a buyer. Why? Well, there is a lot of counterfeit sports memorabilia in the market.
We bet that more people would be interested in collecting vintage cookie jars if they didn’t take up a lot of space. It is true that Andy Warhol once sold his collection of cookie containers for a cool $250,000. Sadly, most other people do not get as lucky as he did. A lot of folks would rather spend their money on something aside from a chunky and modest cookie jar. Even a rare cookie jar will only go for $50 or so.
It is hard to believe that there was a time when miniature bells were popular, but we are not pulling your leg. These trinkets were mostly made from porcelain and metal as a way to commemorate various events in history like the FIFA World Cup. On the other hand, some bought them as a travel memento. You are going to find hundreds of listings on the internet, and they all go for a low price for a reason.
Salt And Pepper Shakers
Here is something else that will make young people scratching their heads over. Perhaps you also want to know why people felt the need to collect salt and pepper shakers. There might be some ornamental pieces that are clearly valuable, but not many collectors are keen on buying them. These things are very niche, so only specialized buyers will be interested. On eBay, the average listing goes for $40 or so. Do not get your hopes up if you are planning to sell the collection previously owned by your grandma.
If you like theatre, there is a chance that you have been collecting the playbills of various productions and shows. The value of your memorabilia is only sentimental. The internet has caused the devaluation of a lot of treasures such as this one. After all, playbills are now available on the websites of the companies. On the bright side, you might get lucky if you happen to own specific pieces. The playbill of “Funny Girl” from 1964 could go for higher than $350. Sadly, most playbills are only worth ten bucks.
Thomas Kinkade Collectibles
It is always sad to hear about artists whose works only rose to fame after their lifetime. This was not the case for Thomas Kinkade, who was also known as the “Painter of Light.” The reverse was true for him. The artist had such a huge stock of personal paintings that people stopped paying a certain amount of money for his pieces. By the time he died in 2012, about five percent of American homes had a Kinkade.
Most of the toys made in the ‘60s have probably fallen apart or saw a ton of damage. There is a good chance that they are no longer very valuable. The Hess trucks are not an exception to this rule. With that said, you are lucky if your Hess truck from 1964 is in mint condition. After all, Antiques Almanac says that you can get about $2,500 for it. If it is in a worse condition than that, you can only expect to fetch $40 or so.
Americans who like to travel cross-country sometimes like to collect license plates from different states. They especially like the pieces that tell a story or are no longer being manufactured. We are sad to tell you that a huge license plate collection is valued pretty underwhelmingly. You can even compare it to a stamp collection in that it is not worth much money even if you have a lot of fascinating ones. If you have a complete set with all states, you should not expect the collection to go for more than $30. Ouch.
There are many things you can do to show off your taste and personality. Some people like to do this by wearing vintage pins! You will definitely stand out from the crowd if you have a cool one. It is not worth collecting them with a financial goal. These pieces can be sourced from sports teams, bands, military regalia, and more. This is the reason they are typically only worth about $5 to $12. However, there are certain rare pins that you can sell for thousands of dollars. Some Disney pins have even gone for $4,000!
Vintage College Clothing
But what about college-themed clothes like sweatshirts and tracksuits? We have already mentioned pennants before, and it looks like the same goes for these pieces of clothing. No one really cares for them unless you went to the actual school. If you own an old Princeton shirt, you can expect to earn $30 for it on eBay. This is not a super trendy style, but we are sure that little kids are going to be impressed.
There are a couple of coins with minting errors that can fetch a good sum of money. Sadly, wheat pennies will not be worth much. These pennies earned their nicknames because of the wheat imagery on them. Even though they are rare, they are not very valuable. At the very least, you should be able to swap them for a couple of modern ones. Others remain hopeful that the trend will change in the future.
Not that long ago, people loved a good set of costume jewelry. This is no longer the case. Now that they have come back in style, the production of these pieces has seen a boost as well. They are no longer novel nor rare sights at dinner parties or on the red carpet. This availability has turned costume jewelry into a bad investment. Of course, the exception to the rule would be a coveted luxury designer piece.
We hope that we did not give you whiplash by talking about glitz and glamour to this. Old farm tools are very important when it comes to understanding history as they will allow us a clear picture of how things used to be done. While they are priceless in that sense, their value has gone down when hipsters started to use mass-produced imitations in their own homes. Authentic pieces now go for $50 or so.
Unremarkable Vintage Clothing
If you are trying to cash in on vintage clothes, you might have tried your luck with your grandparents’ closets in the past. Sadly, we doubt that you find anything that can go for a lot of money. Let us think about it this way. Most of us do not have anything valuable in our wardrobes, and this is also true a few decades ago. People who like vintage clothing are on the lookout for certain valuable items. It is not easy to break into this market, although you might stand a chance if your grandparents had been rich and well-dressed back in the day.
Disney VHS Tapes
Let us circle back to VHS tapes once more. There are people who assume that their old Disney VHS tapes will fetch a lot of interest from Mickey Mouse fans. This is indeed true if you happen to own the “Black Diamond Collection” that many now think is worth thousands of dollars. However, you are going to be proven wrong if you check on eBay. This famous set might be historical, but it is actually only worth $5.
We all love Pokémon, but the value of its trading cards has gone down thanks to its availability on the market. There have been dozens of editions released in the past, but only a couple of cards are worth a good chunk of money. Most of them happen to be the first edition copies. On eBay, an original holographic Charizard card in mint condition was posted at the asking price of $2,500. Mind you, there are only a couple of other cards whose value is anywhere close to that amount.
When it comes to historical sources, it does not get much better than old newspapers. This is how you can get a lot of detail when you want to learn more about the Second World War and other important events. They used to be mass-produced, which meant that it was easy to acquire them. Aside from that, this tidbit means that it can be difficult to sift through old copies and reprints. Collectors will not be interested in your collection unless you have the first edition of important issues. Otherwise, no dice.
iPods And Other MP3 Players
Vintage electronics experts have yet to weigh in on how valuable iPods and other MP3 players will be in the future. They used to be staples during the early 2000s, but they have since become obsolete with the rise of smartphones and streaming. We doubt that they will be worth a lot of money in the near future since these products used to be manufactured on a huge scale. It is going to take a long time before they will be considered rare and desirable among music lovers. Do you have an iPod Nano? You should be able to make approximately $69 for it on an online auction site.
There is nothing quite as comfortable as a patchwork quilt. It takes a lot of time and effort to create one. On top of that, most of them are made of high-quality materials. The best ones were made by a delicate and trained hand. Unfortunately, these pieces are not generally worth a lot of money unless they were made back in the 19th century. As you can imagine, something that old will most likely deteriorate before it hits the market! Despite this, you can still get a fairly good price for the common patchwork quilt.
After seeing this list of vintage items that you may be keeping, you might be asking yourself what vintage item do you own that could actually make you money? Well, we wouldn’t blame you if that’s what you’re thinking. Which is why after the long list of vintage items that would probably not be worth much, here is another list containing of vintage items that can make you rich if you sell them!
Garbage Pail Kids’ Cards: $1,000 and up
That’s right, it’s from the 1980s. The surreal Garbage Pail Kids collectible cards have found their perfect home on the similarly surreal internet, where a card like “Adam Bomb” can raise around $3,000. Bonus points if they’re still in their original packaging.
1978 Luke Skywalker Action Figure: $25,000
Nigo, the Japanese designer and creator of A Bathing Ape, went to Sotheby’s to sell his Star Wars collection. The 2015 auction raised more than half a million dollars, including this brand-new boxed Luke Skywalker figurine, one of only 20 available.
Peanut Royal Blue Elephant Beanie Baby: $5,000
Due to a manufacturing error, only 2,000 of these royal blue “Peanut” elephants were produced with a darker color than planned. It’s now the most valuable Beanie Baby collectible in the world, fetching up to $5,000. Other valuable models include Humphrey the Donkey ($2,000) and the 1997 Princess Diana Beanie Baby ($2,000).
PEZ Dispensers: Prices Vary
Sugar addicts will rejoice to learn that even that rusted, candy-free PEZ dispenser could be worth something in the future. The Astronaut B, which was created for the 1982 World’s Fair and sold for $32,000 on eBay in 2006, became a major bank. Other collectible dispensers include the Mickey Mouse Soft Head dispenser, the 1955 Santa Claus Head dispenser, and the PEZ gun.
The Original Monopoly Game: $146,500
In 2011, Sotheby’s auction house sold Monopoly’s original hand-drawn oilcloth version, made in 1933 and owned by game inventor Charles Darrow, for $146,500, nearly double its estimated price. Even if you don’t have such a rare version of this popular game, retro copies from the 1930s sold for $3,125 on eBay, and limited editions fetch hundreds of dollars.
Hot Wheels: Prices Vary
Thousands of rare discoveries can be worth thousands of dollars, even though most of these palm-sized cars sell for only a few dollars. The “Volkswagen Beach Bomb” prototype from 1969 is one of the most valuable, with surfboards hanging out the back window and wheels that made it too big for Mattel’s race tracks. It has never been widely produced, which adds to its value to collectors, who estimate it to be worth around $125,000.
Action Comics No. 1, $3.2 million
This “immaculate” 1938 edition was put up for sale in 2014, and it became the most expensive comic ever sold on eBay. What’s the big deal you ask? This is the comic that first introduced Superman to the world, and there are only about 50 copies available worldwide.
Wun-Dar He-Man: Prices Vary
Also known as He-naked-with-a-loin-cloth Man, this brawny figure of action was a giveaway that came in the 1990s with the purchase of Wonder Bread. If you saved it, you’re in luck: your love of white bread could pay off thanks to eBay’s wonder, where some of these go for as much as $500.
Fisher Price’s Push Cart Pete: $3,000
You can make a mint with vintage Fisher-Price toys if they are in mint condition. This 9-inch 1936 pull toy is expected to fetch upwards of $3,000, which isn’t bad considering it originally cost 50 cents.
American Girl “Molly” Doll: $11,000
Although you’ll be run by a new American Girl Doll for $120, isn’t it nice to know that discontinued dolls like Felicity, Samantha, Kirsten, and Molly are still alive and well? If you have one of these ‘out of print’ dolls at home, with their original clothing and accessories, you might make as much as $11,000.
First Edition of “Where the Wild Things Are”: $25,000
On Abebooks.com in 2012, the first edition of Maurice Sendak’s classic children’s book, signed in 1963, sold for $25,000. The book’s condition was especially remarkable, as picture books rarely survive without rips, smudges, or smears, as parents are all too familiar with.
Lionel’s Pennsylvania ‘Trail Blazer” Train Set: Prices Vary
Lionel’s nostalgic electric train sets evoke a bygone era (though they are now manufactured with 21st-century technology), but if you happen to find an original Lionel package in your attic, it may be worth hundreds of dollars.
First Edition Barbie: $23,000
Barbie may have had a makeover recently, but for some collectors, the classic, hourglass-shaped 1959 version will remain the one and only. Originals with zebra-stripe bathing suits and a sweeping up-do range in price from $8,000 to $23,000.
Vintage Atari Cartridges: Prices Vary
In a curious twist, an urban rumor that Atari had buried hundreds of its game cartridges in the New Mexico desert in 1983 turned out to be true. A total of 881 recovered cartridges were sold, resulting in a profit of $107,000. The rarer and more famous games can sell for hundreds of dollars on eBay.
Game Boy: $750 – $1,000
We spent hours playing Nintendo’s handheld game system, which was launched in the United States in 1989, before we became fascinated with our cell phones. Mint condition Game Boys now sell for hundreds of dollars, or over $1,000 if you have a limited edition like the Game Boy Light.