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10 Items You May Have Lying Around That Could Be Worth Money

Why you may want to poke around your attic or basement to generate cash

By TJ Herrington

You just may want to poke around your attic or basement and dust off items that rekindle childhood or family memories. Maybe you’ll find an old record player, your toy doll collection or vintage jewelry. These types of sentimental collectibles can be great for your youthful soul, but you know what's even better than feeling good? Cash in your pocket.

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Below are 10 items you may have lying around that just might be worth money if you sell them, based on what I’ve seen at my auction-house job:

1. Vintage Record Players

Record sales have soared in recent years, and enthusiasts have returned to vinyl as a viable alternative to digital music. As a result, vintage record players or turntables have risen in value. My company,, recently sold a Thorens TD160 record player for over $1,200. Other turntables from Thorens, a Swiss manufacturer of audio equipment known for record players it made in the 1950s and 1960s, are selling on eBay for upwards of $400.

2. Toys From Your Childhood

You’ve no doubt heard about the collectible Pokemon cards or rare Furbies that have sold for a fortune. But regular toys from the 1950s, 60s, 70s and 80s can actually also be worth a lot.

Vintage Star Wars toys tend to do very well; in 2015, a Bobba Fett figurine in mint condition sold for $27,000 to an internet bidder. It originally cost about $2 when first sold in 1980.

Even if you were one of those children who liked to open their toys, out-of-box figures sometimes still sell for hundreds of dollars.

3. Vintage Jewelry

The value of certain antique and period jewelry has increased by more than 80 percent in the past decades. Demand has been so that on some auction days, estimates have been surpassed as items have fetched double their predicted prices.

4. Antique Tools

There are two sides to the antique-tool market. Some buyers actually use the pieces they buy, because an old tool (like a level, saw hammer, chisel or wrench) can be better for a skilled job than its modern equivalent. Other buyers simply collect these tools because they admire them.

More people have started to collect antique tools lately, but there has also been an increase in awareness among woodworkers, who appreciate using older tools.

5. Musical Instruments

That old guitar in your attic could strum up major bucks. Some 1960s Fender Stratocasters — popular among surf music performers — have sold for over $2,000.

A guitar doesn't have to be antique to be valuable: One that was played 60 or 70 years ago (think of your father or grandfather's old instruments) can have a surprising amount of value.

6. Classic Books

There might be a book on your bookshelf that’s worth hundreds or even thousands of dollars. It may not be likely, but it’s possible.


Actually, there are a fair number of books published since 1960 that have significant value. Many of these valuable modern books are from early in the careers of authors who only later became widely read. Or they are signed first editions of children’s classics, like Maurice Sendak’s Where the Wild Things Are or Eric Carle’s The Very Hungry Caterpillar.

7. Rare Old Coins

Old coins lying around in the back of drawers or in rusty jars in the attic can be little treasure troves.

You may want to sift through your change jar before you head to the bank to cash it in. Some rare coins, including a 1943 Lincoln head copper penny, can sell for $10,000 or more. the 1997 “Double-Ear” Lincoln penny has sold for $250.

8. Military Memorabilia

Collectors and historians spend hours searching the internet for military memorabilia. Sought-after items such as a World War I Native American soldier’s helmet can go for thousands of dollars.

If you have items from World War I and aren’t quite sure what to do with them, selling them could be an option.

9. Old Video Games

While classic video games are regularly reissued digitally, making them widely available to anyone who wants to play them, there’s still a collector’s market for the original product.

Much like comic books, old video games that are in pristine condition — especially if they were limited releases — can fetch a premium. Nintendo’s unpopular Stadium Events game sold at auction for $42,000. The PriceCharting Marketplace site with current and historic prices of old video games shows some selling for $100 to $200.

10. Vinyl Records

Until fairly recently, many people thought vinyl was a thing of the past, but a staggering comeback has changed all that.

Vinyl records have been slowly making a massive comeback over the last five years. In 2015, a copy of The Beatles’ White Album sold for $790,000 (in truth, that was Ringo Starr’s copy). But some other albums from The Beatles and Bob Dylan have gone for $15,000 and up.

TJ Herrington is director of public relations at, whose online auctions provide local expert help to sell goods through a hyper-local service when downsizing, having an estate sale or doing a business liquidation. Read More
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