20 Valuable Things You Probably Threw Away But Shouldn’t Have


If you’re like most people, chances are you threw away something of value without realizing its worth. Here are 20 valuable things you probably threw away but shouldn’t have.

20. Harry Potter Books

Harry Potter
Source: Wikimedia Commons By Cygomezm [CC BY-SA 4.0 (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/4.0)]

If you haven’t already thrown them out, you might want to hang on to those Harry Potter books of yours. Nigel Reynolds, the first journalist to ever interview Harry Potter author J.K. Rowling, made that mistake. As a “thank you” for the interview, Rowling gave Reynolds a first edition copy of Harry Potter And The Philosopher’s Stone. Unfortunately for Reynolds, he threw it out because he thought it would be a flop. What he didn’t know is that first edition copies of Harry Potter And The Philosopher’s Stone are worth £56,000!

19. Your Childhood Toys

Spinning Top
Source: Pixabay

If you’ve ever thrown out your old board games, dollhouses, LEGOs, video games or even Happy Meal toys, you should be kicking yourself right now. An original 1974 Dungeons & Dragons board game recently went for $6,000. A vintage Nintendo video game cartridge still in its original packaging went for $20,000. And, an old Asteroids game for the Atari system is worth about $1,000. McDonald’s Happy Meal toys like Beanie Babies, Furbies, Power Rangers and 101 Dalmatians are also worth quite a bit.

18. Old Perfume Bottles

Perfume Bottles
Source: Pexels

We’ve all been there. A family member passes away and we decide to go over to their house to clean it up. While there, you decide to toss out those smelly old perfume bottles of your grandmother’s. Well, chances are you threw away a fortune. Believe it or not, old perfume bottles are quite valuable. Sometimes it’s because the glass or the glass maker is important. At other times it’s because the bottles are custom-made and rare. Either way, if the bottles are in pristine condition, they’re worth even more.

FUN FACT: Bottles from companies like New England Glass Company, founded in Cambridge, Massachusetts in 1818, and the Boston and Sandwich Glass Company, founded in Sandwich, Massachusetts in 1825, could be worth up to $1,000!

17. Christmas Ornaments

Source: Pexels

Nobody wants tacky ornaments hanging on their Christmas tree. But, if you went through a box of old ornaments you found in the attic and decided to get rid of them, you may have ended up throwing tens of thousands of dollars in the trash! Yep, that’s right. Kugel ornaments, which were made in Germany from 1840 to the early 1940s, are worth a pretty penny. A pear-shaped Kugel ornament was once listed at $18,000! Even if an ornament doesn’t date back that far, it could still be worth something–anywhere from a few hundred bucks to a little over $1,000, to be exact.

16. Tools

Source: Pixabay

Would you believe it if someone told you that the tools you threw out the other day could be worth at least $7,000? According to an article published by MSN, a Chaplin No. 1 plane recently went for $7,700. But, if you think that was something, listen to this! A rare John Deere wrench sold for $16,500 a couple of years ago! The reason may surprise you. According to MarketWatch, some people who buy them don’t just collect them, they actually use them because the old tool “can be better for a skilled job than its modern equivalent.”

15. Vintage Costume Jewelry

Costume Jewelry
Source: Pixabay

The next time you come across some costume jewelry, remember this: old costume jewelry from Italian fashion designer Elsa Schiaparelli and others are auctioned off at up to $2,000. “Costume jewelry, depending on the maker, can be worth as much or more than real diamonds or precious stone jewelry,” Eric Silver, an appraiser for Antiques Roadshow, said in an article published by Popular Mechanics. One such maker is Miriam Haskell, whose costume jewelry often sells for thousands of dollars. Other money-making brands include Coro, Eisenberg, Hobe, and Weiss.

14. Mason Jars

Mason Jars
Source: Pixabay

You most likely have some of these in your home–unless of course you threw them out. And, while most of them probably aren’t worth much, there are few that could earn you up to $1,000. The upside down Ball mason jar from the early 1900s, for example, is worth $1,000. And, the violet Columbia mason jar that turns slightly purple when left in the sun is worth $400.

FUN FACT: The upside-down Mason jars were made that way so they could double as dispensers.

13. Lottery Tickets

Lottery Tickets
Source: Pixabay

According to an article published by CNN, there are billions of dollars in unclaimed lottery prizes annually. And, while most of the unclaimed prizes are small, it’s still money that’s being thrown away. What’s more is that when people don’t win, they throw out their ticket, thinking that there’s no point in hanging on to it. But what people don’t even realize is that there are secondary prizes, lottery expert Brett Jacobson said in the article. For example, you can collect a $4 prize for simply picking the correct Powerball number and a $2 prize for picking the right Mega Millions number.

12. Cereal Boxes

Cereal Box
Source: Wikimedia Commons By Michael Steeber from USA [CC BY-SA 2.0 (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0)]

After reading about this one, I’m definitely kicking myself. I mean, who knew that that holographic imprinted Batman cereal box would go for more than $8,000? Or, that the Fruit Brute Monster cereal box would go for more than $11,000? In fact, if you do a quick search on eBay right now, you’ll see just how much you can get for one. So, if you’ve got a cereal box in the trash right now, you might want to dig it out of there before the garbage collector comes along–it could be worth something one day.

11. Bitcoins

Source: Pixabay

A bitcoin is virtual currency, so you can’t actually throw it away like you could dollar bills. But, you can throw away the hard drive they’re stored on. And, that’s exactly what happened in 2009 to an IT worker who received 7,500 bitcoins. He stored them on his hard drive, only to throw away the drive some years later–after the value of the bitcoins rose to £4 million! Realizing what he’d done, he searched the landfill for his hard drive but wasn’t able to find it.

10. Signed Yearbooks

Source: Wikimedia Commons

I’ve thrown away many old yearbooks from middle school. I hate that I didn’t hang on to them because a yearbook can bring back so many memories. What’s more is that those yearbooks might be worth big bucks some day. “High school or college yearbooks that might be autographed by someone famous that was in your graduating class could be valuable,” Eric Silver, an appraiser for Antiques Roadshow, said in an article published by Popular Mechanics. Did you throw all of your yearbooks away, too? You might want to “check your parents’ or grandparents’ yearbooks too,” Silver added.

9. Air Jordans

Air Jordan Sneaker
Source: Wikimedia Commons By Ting Him Mak from Hong Kong, China [CC BY 2.0 (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0)]

Your parents complained when you threw away those pair of expensive Air Jordans you begged them for. But, if they’d known how much they were going to be worth one day, they really would’ve pitched a fit when they saw you chuck them in the trash. In 2016, a pair of Air Jordans sold for $30,000 on eBay. How much they sell for depends on the model and the condition. The $30,000 pair sold for that much because they had never been worn.

8. Outdated Computers

Old Apple Computer
Source: Wikimedia Commons By Rama [CeCILL (http://www.cecill.info/licences/Licence_CeCILL_V2-en.html ) or CC BY-SA 2.0 fr]

The 1976 Apple I, one of Steve Jobs’ first computers, sold at auction for $200,000. That was after someone found it at a recycling center in California. According to MSN, a woman threw the computer away back in 2015. The recycling center had been trying to track down the woman who donated her old computer to the center so she could claim her portion of the money, The Daily Mirror reported.

So, the moral of the story is the next time you are tempted to dump your older model computer after purchasing a newer model, DON’T!

7. Magazines

Source: Pixabay

Old magazines are in a category called “ephemera.” Simply put, ephemera is paper items that were intended to be discarded, but instead became collector’s items. “The value of items in this category is related to rarity, condition, and the number of issues,”Jacquie Denny, co-founder of online estate sales company Everything But The House (EBTH), said in an article published by Reader’s Digest. The April 9-15, 1983 TV Guide issue featuring Elvis Presley on the cover sold for $36 on EBTH.com, while a special edition Life magazine from 1969 featuring the Woodstock musical festival sold for $113 on the website.

6. Cookbooks

Source: Pexels

Out-of-print cookbooks like Julia Child’s Mastering the Art of French Cooking book set, volume 1 (1961) and volume 2 (1970) can be quite valuable. This one is currently selling for $9,500 on AbeBooks. Even if a cookbook isn’t vintage, it still could be worth a lot. For example, cookbooks that were mass-produced and widely used–as long as they’re in good condition–are quite valuable. And, just like signed yearbooks can be worth a lot, so can cookbooks that were signed by a famous chef.

5. VHS Tapes

Vhs Tapes
Source: Pixabay

Go to any recycling center, thrift store, or any other place people leave their unwanted stuff and there’s a pretty good chance you’ll find a VHS tape or two. You can purchase them for a few bucks–maybe even a few cents depending on where you shop–but some of them are worth far more than that. WARNING: The following information may upset you. According to an MSN article, the out-of-print “Black Diamond Edition” of 101 Dalmatians is estimated to be worth $750. The “Black Diamond Edition” of The Fox and the Hound is estimated at $1,495. Now, don’t you just feel awful for throwing out those old videotapes? Don’t say we didn’t warn you.

4. Blueprints

Source: Pixabay

Architectural designer Eric Teschke stumbled upon some very important blueprints when he was clearing out an old office as his place of employment was preparing to move to a new one. What he found was blueprints to the World Trade Center Twin Towers. That was in 2003. In 2014, Teschke decided to sell some of them on eBay. He sold some of them for a few bucks, but wondered if they were worth more than what he got for them. He was right to wonder. According to The Detroit News, just one lot had an estimated worth of $30,000-$50,000!

3. Retro T-Shirts

Tie Dye T Shirt
Source: Wikimedia Commons By MpegMan at English Wikipedia. [CC BY-SA 3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0/)]

Just because you can’t fit into them anymore doesn’t mean you should toss them out. If you do, you just might regret it. According to an article published by Reader’s Digest, a 1990s Mario Brothers Nintendo 64 Game T-shirt sold for $150 on Poshmark while a Prince T-shirt sold for $380. So, what type of retro tees can you make the most money from? “Concert, advertising, and shirts with a cool scene are all the rage,” Reyne Hirsch, long-time appraiser on PBS’ Antiques Roadshow, told Reader’s Digest.

2. Cookie Jars

Cookie Jar
Source: Pixabay

That cookie jar that was taking up space on your kitchen counter was perhaps more than just a place to stash your favorite sweet treats–it could have been a cash cow, so to speak. Cookie jars from the 1940s and 1950s are hot collector’s items. In fact, an Uncle Mistletoe Marshall Fields cookie jar from the 1950s recently sold for $1,200. Even cookie jars in the shape of cartoon characters or other popular figures can go for a few hundred bucks.

1. Handbags

Source: Pixabay

Every women has at least 20 different handbags in her closet, right? And, if you’re like most women, when your handbags start looking outdated, you toss them in the garbage. But, according to Reader’s Digest, Marie Dietrich, an appraiser at Gary Germer and Associates, says that a “vintage Chanel in good condition will retail on a secondary market for $2,000 to $3,000—or even $400 if it is in poor condition.” A Prada handbag will sell for about $500 to $800, Dietrich added.


Have you ever regretted throwing something in the garbage? Tell us about it in the comments below. Thanks!