Before you start cleaning out your attic, you might want to take a look at what’s in there. You could find things that might be worth a significant amount of money someday — perhaps even today! Here are 15 valuable items you should look for in your attic.
15. Old Chairs
Chances are you have some old chairs in your attic. And if you do, you’re in luck because some of them could be quite valuable. A set of circa-1900 English oak dining chairs, for example, is worth $600. That old rocking chair in your attic might be worth $200. A set of lounge chairs designed by Milo Baughman could be valued at $1,500. And, a circa-1820s “Rod Back” Windsor Armchair may be valued at $150.
Keep in mind that there are other factors affecting the value of these chairs, including condition and original paint.
14. Super Bowl Memorabilia
Wait! Don’t throw those Super Bowl LIV tickets away just yet. They may be worth a pretty penny — maybe not right now, but some day. And, that means you can pass them down to future generations who can cash them in. Or, if you’re lucky enough to actually have an old pair of Super Bowl tickets in your attic, you can get anywhere from several hundred to several thousand dollars for them. According to Sports Collectors Daily, most paper Super Bowl tickets have blue or yellow stripe on the top. These tickets sell for between $200 to $1,000. But, if you’ve got tickets with white stripes on top, they could sell for up to $4,000! Keep in mind that just exactly how much you get for the tickets also depends on the popularity of the game. Super Bowl II and Super Bowl XII tickets, for example, are particularly rare, and will be worth more than some others.
13. Persian Rugs
Not only are handwoven Persian rugs beautiful, they appreciate a lot over the years. Unfortunately, it takes a long time for them to appreciate. But, if you find some old Persian rugs belonging to one of your great-grandparents in your attic, you just may have a small fortune on your hands. If your rug is more than 100 years old it’s considered antique and could be worth between $1,000 and $1 million! Of course age isn’t the only thing to take into account. How much it’s worth will also depend on its size, material, knot-density, condition, and design.
12. Cast-Iron Mailbox
If you have an old cast-iron mailbox produced by Griswold, you might be able to get a few hundred bucks for it. That’s because Griswold was one of the most sought-after makers of cast iron. The company was in operation from 1865 to 1957. According to Country Living magazine, an unpainted Griswold No. 3 mailbox from 1910 is valued at $350. One that has been painted will be valued considerably less, although it could still put a few dollars in your pocket — $125, to be exact.
Those old Fender and Gibson guitars collecting dust in your attic could be worth some serious bucks. For example, some 1960s Fender Stratocasters have sold for over $2,000. Gibson or Martin guitars from the 1960s or earlier have sold for more than $30,000! And get this: it doesn’t even have to be an antique guitar for it to be worth major money. Even non-antique guitars can have a great amount of value, MarketWatch.com said in an article published on its website.
10. Pearl and Cameo Bracelet
It’s highly likely that your grandmother or great grandmother had one of these in her jewelry box. If that’s the case, and it happens to now be in your possession, you’re in luck. According to Country Living magazine, “Antiques Roadshow” appraiser Jill Burgum says that the carved cameos are from the late Victorian age. He also mentions that the pearl and cameo bracelet was likely a combination of two separate brooches or pendants that was later converted into a bracelet. Whatever the case, the bracelets are worth about $250.
9. Milk Glass
Here’s another item from the Victorian age. During that time, milk glass was “coveted as an economic dead-ringer for porcelain,” according to Country Living magazine. “Its production and popularity waned during the Great Depression but saw a resurgence after World War II.” That being said, these once-coveted items can sell for $100 or more. A milk glass banana stand from the early 1900s, for example, could be worth up to $100. A set of milk glass Easter eggs could be worth $775.
Cookbooks that have gone out of print can be worth a pretty penny. For example, Julia Child’s Mastering the Art of French Cooking book set, volume 1 (1961) and volume 2 (1970), is currently selling for $9,500 on AbeBooks. But, it’s not just vintage cookbooks that’ll get you some extra cash. According to Reader’s Digest, cookbooks that were mass-produced and widely used (e.g. Betty Crocker cookbooks) are also worth quite a bit, as long as they’re in good condition. And, those that have been signed by a famous chef will be worth even more. “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,” Jacquie Denny, co-founder of Everything But The House, an online estate sales company, said in a Reader’s Digest article.
7. Pedal Cars
Children’s pedal cars became popular in the United States between WWI and WWII. And, if you happen to have one in your possession that’s both old and in good condition, it could fetch quite a bit of money. A 1930 Lincoln pedal car, for example, is worth about $1,000.
FUN FACT: Only children who lived near railroad tracks could get a pedal car from a Sears catalogs because “mailing a steel car, even a small one, was simply not possible,” Collectors Weekly said in an article published on its website.
So many people have had silverware passed down to them. You probably have. But, have you ever wondered how much that silverware is actually worth? According to Country Living magazine, it can be worth anywhere from hundreds to thousands of dollars. “It would be valuable if it’s from a company such as, say, Tiffany or Gorham,” Amy Parenti, head of the Appraisal Department at Freeman’s auction house in Philadelphia, told Popular Mechanics. “If it’s much older or a flatware service it’ll also be worth more.” And, the more complete the set, the more valuable.
Most of us store our valuables in a trunk in the attic. But, it’s not just what’s inside that has value. Many trunks are worth a pretty penny, too. You could get $700 for a trunk that dates back to the 1870s. And, if you manage to come across a designer trunk, say one made by Louis Vuitton, you could get thousands of dollars for it. “They can be very cool because they will often still have the labels from the ships that they went on,” Eric Silver, an appraiser for “Antiques Roadshow,” said in an article published by Popular Mechanics.
4. Happy Meal Toys
Believe it or not, McDonald’s Happy Meal toys can earn you some big bucks. According to LoveAntiques.com, a mini Potato Head Kids toy from 1987 could be worth as much as $120. Beanie Babies from 2000 could could be worth as much as $400, and a complete set of Power Rangers toys could be worth $300. Disney’s 101 Dalmatians toys have sold on eBay for around $70, and Furby toys have been listed for up to $900, although those that weren’t in mint condition sold for about $75.
What on earth is “ephemera,” you ask? Simply put, ephemera consists of paper items that were intended to be discarded but instead became collector’s items. These include postcards, vintage ads, magazines, restaurant menus, city maps, and even some issues of TV Guide.
Here’s what you could get for each:
–postcards — between $2 and a few hundred dollars
–vintage ads — Some Coca-Cola ads are worth $15,000.
–magazines — A special edition Life magazine from 1969 featuring the Woodstock musical festival sold for $113 on EBTH.com.
–restaurant menus — $100+
–city maps — $3,000+
–TV Guide issues — April 9-15, 1983 issue featuring Elvis Presley on the cover sold for $36 on EBTH.com.
2. Baseball Cards
Everyone knows that baseball cards are valuable. But just how much can you get for them? Two brothers found out that one of the cards in their collection of Mantle Topps cards from 1952 is valued at $1 million. One of the brothers, John, saw an ad in a newspaper earlier this year for a 1952 Mickey Mantle card with an estimated value of $3.5 million, so he was curious as to what the cards he and his brother collected would be worth.
The brothers started collecting baseball cards in 1951, and their collection got stored in the attic, where they remained until their mother’s passing in 2006. The house was sold and the belongings were divided between the brothers. The cards ended up John’s basement. “We always knew we had the cards, but they were just in the attic,” John told USA TODAY. “We were fortunate our mother stayed and lived in the house until she was almost 102. Most people would have moved at some point, and in the move things like baseball cards and old school books would get thrown away. Ours just stayed there for 50 years.”
1. Religious Artifacts
According to an article on Realtor.com, religious artifacts can be quite valuable. Jonathan Greenstein, who owns and operates an auction house in Cedarhurst, NY, told Realtor.com that he had a client who found a 200-year-old silver Torah shield in the basement after her husband passed away. It sold for $25,000 at an auction. Another client of Greenstein’s stumbled upon an old, dusty menorah that dated back to the 1600s. It was worth $50,000. The menorah almost ended up in the trash, though. The client was going to throw it out!
Your turn! What valuable items have you discovered hidden in your attic? Let us know in the comments below.