Updated: Mar 26
I believe there are small fortunes hiding deep within the closets, attics, and basements of America. And if you follow my video & posts, you know, I love sharing these kinds of things with you. So, here’s today’s list of those things you should put in your memory banks. I may ever repeat myself, but it is with the hope that some of these strange and not so strange genres, stick. I think there are a lot of new ones in here too. So here are 21 Things to look for in 2021 that could be worth a fortune. Let’s just go!
Many of the early computers have value today, but keep your eyes peeled in particular for early Apple computers. Did you know a first-generation Apple sold recently for $900,000? 1976 is by no means antique, but you will quickly learn its supply and demand. Not many survived and there is a lot of demand for this this kind of nostalgia. Bonus points for the old pieces if they are in working order.
Antique Musical Instruments
That old sax in your attic could blow out some big bucks, if it is the right model. Vintage Guitars, Banjos and Mandolins have made people a small fortune or at least paid off a credit card or two when they were sold to the highest bidder. In the last 6 months I have seen a Selmer Sax bring $4000, a 1962 Fender Bass $10,000 and a Gibson Mandolin $4400 just to give you an idea. And no, these were not signed or owned by anyone famous.
Old Perfume Bottles
It is not the perfume, it’s the bottle. Many do not know there are auctions devoted just to perfume bottles. I often advise estate planners and families in transition not to throw anything away until the professionals arrive. When explaining “why” not to toss anything, Perfume Bottles are typically one of the first things I mention.
This little gem just brought $30,000!
As land deeds passed through generations, you may be surprised to learn it passed through the hands of someone notable. Other ephemera such as War commissions, even as recent as World War II can be valuable. You are just looking for notable individuals. Perhaps a well-known general, etc.
This one turned out to have Daniel Boone on it, so $12,000 at auction!
You or your sister’s old dolls might pay for your kids’ college. That is if you have the right one’s of course. Early Barbies and even some of her outfits can have considerable value. Maybe you were weird and collected Blythe Dolls. You might just want to have a look.
She is an easy $5000 plus!
It is not just your gold & diamonds. Costume jewelry, can be worth as much or more, depending on the maker. There are plenty of makers to look for. Miriam Haskell, Eisenberg, Weiss, Trifari, Napier and on and on.
This Haskell Set just brought $2,400…not bad for glass and rhinestones.
First Edition Books
“Old books and records are scratch off lottery tickets.” Just to quote a famous, Josh Levine. Oh, that is me, but seriously, if you have a first edition of a popular book, you may just be in luck.
How about $120,000 for Mr Potter!
Did your parents or grandparents go to school with anyone famous? Did they sign their yearbook?
Barack Obama's 5th grade yearbook inscribed & signed sold for $6,000. You get the idea…
If you find yourself with a painting and do not know anything about, please make sure you do a little digging first. I cannot tell you how many Artists, perhaps several 1000s, that are not household names that are worth a small fortune. And no one knows them all. A little investigation is required.
Who’s Zhang Daqian? He is $27,500, that’s who.
Still Toy & Mechanical Banks from the first part of the 20th century may be quite valuable. Typically cast iron and painted, the real deal can really cash out.
This Circa 1890 Harlequin Bank fetched $90,000!
And Yes, I am serious, just the lone base. They can command big bucks if you have the right maker. Obviously, it is better if you have the original shade too, but never discount a base’s hidden potential.
This one was sold for $14,000, no shade!!!
Pens and a few others on today’s list are those “junk drawer scores.” A lot more common than, say, an old cast iron bank, pens are everywhere but you must learn what to look for. Not just any old fountain pen but it is a start. Brands like Parker, Wahl, Mont Blanc and more, just might be a score.
This Namiki Fountain Pen brought $17,000! That will right a lot of checks.
Not every old post card is worth money but there are several topical subjects and holiday specific cards that can command big bucks. I always look for Halloween and photographic cards when I am sorting an estate collection.
A Harry Houdini Photo Post Card recently sold for $425.
Antique Christmas Ornaments
A lot of people have old Christmas ornaments in storage. Some may just shock you. Early hand-blown glass and German Kugel ornaments can be worth a small fortune in numbers.
This is an $18,000 Ornament.
I mentioned this in a recent video and got a million questions. Toaster you say? Yes, Toasters. There are even collectors’ associations for toasters, so do not just discount your old appliances without having a look.
This collection of 6 just sold for $8000. Crazy, right.
And just like toasters, old computers and pens, someone collects everything so why not vacuum cleaners.
This Singer Deluxe from 1938 brought $1600.
Always check out the front few pages of your old books. You never know if someone in the family did not get it signed by the author. Does not have to be a rare first edition if it’s signed by the right author to be worth a few bucks.
Walt Disney’s Autograph in The Art of Animation Book meant $20,000!
Typically, in baseball cards the big bucks are in the pre 1960s cards but as of late, all bets are off.
A 1971 Topps Baseball Set realized $14,000 and there are so many more records being broken.
What? Yeah, this one surprises my friends typically the most. There are actual collectors’ societies specifically for firecracker packages. It is really the art of the wrappers and packages that seem to drive the demand.
This pack was $1200 at auction!
The flatware is one that often surprises people. The fancy set in the closet you never use because you do not want to polish it. Many know they are valuable but have never given “how much” a thought. The right set, by the right maker in the right pattern can need to find a new home fast. Especially when you find out how much potential cash is just sitting around.
This set sold recently for $30,000!
Louis Vuitton Trunks
The old steamer trunk in the attic might just surprise you. You may not even have noticed it had a maker label on it. If you have an Old Louis Vuitton Travel Trunk you might just be pleasantly surprised. And they made a lot of them over the years.
This one was circa 1920 and just sold for $15,000
I hope all, or some of these, stoke your fire to go thru all your storage spots, and clean house. Or maybe, just maybe, my channel will turn you in to a picker if you are not already one. Knowledge is power and could be a few bucks for you in these lean times to. It also happens to be a lot of fun!