There may be more money in your home than you realize. There’s a market for collectibles of any kind—even those dusty old toys and retro casserole dishes your grandmother used to warm up meatloaf in can bring in hundreds of dollars. But it’s not so easy to distinguish trash from treasure. To help you along, here are 15 old things in your house that could be worth a fortune.
1. David Bowie’s Diamond Dogs LP
For David Bowie’s 1974 Diamond Dogs album on vinyl, its worth lies in the very strange story of the album artwork. The original image featured an illustration of Bowie with his bottom half replaced by a dog’s—genitals and all. This made record label RCA nervous, so the image was altered before the record hit shelves. As you’d expect, some copies of the original got loose in the world, and in 2003, one sold for $3550. Who knows how many copies of the taboo album art made it off the printer before it was censored?
2. Retro Video Games
There are plenty of ultra-rare and valuable Super Nintendo games that you simply won’t see collecting dust in someone’s basement—including the limited-run competition edition games and Japanese imports. But other titles like Super Mario RPG, Mega Man X3, Harvest Moon, and Chrono Trigger were big hits that are probably still in the closets of many casual consumers. X3 and Chrono Trigger, in particular, have been known to fetch $400 and close to $600 respectively.
There is a huge rare gaming market that isn’t just limited to the SNES—every console has its fair share of pricey titles, from the Genesis to the PlayStation 4. One of the most famous is Little Samson on the original Nintendo, which regularly ends up on places like eBay and can sell for over $2000. Though, with how rare the game is, it isn’t as likely to be lying around your basement.
3. Polly Pocket Toys and Accessories
The Polly Pocket craze of the ’90s gave birth to a line of inch-high toys that kids gobbled up. Now, as is the way of most things, they’ve found their way to eBay, where the line has been given a second life as a high-priced collector’s item. Just one search will yield plenty of pricey results, such as a Peter Pan Polly Pocket set that sold for $531 on eBay in 2022. The big-ticket items are from the pre-Mattel Polly Pocket days, so if you have a collection of the original Polly Pocket stuff, get organizing!
4. Vintage Comics that Inspired Today’s Movies and TV Shows
Turn on the TV and what do you see? Superheroes on pretty much every channel (and in every theater). And if you own the early comic book adventures of these characters, you can be looking at a hefty profit. Copies of the Black Panther series from the ’70s—written and illustrated by co-creator Jack Kirby—had a moment on eBay when the first film in the franchise came out. Single issues sold for up to $50.
Prices go up when these characters are in the spotlight, so go through that old comic collection and do some research. If you have books starring a character that’s about to become a movie star, get your eBay account ready. If they’re vintage and in good condition, they could fetch a high price.
5. Vintage Advertising Signs
Before pop-up ads told us what to buy, a major way companies advertised was through tin signs hung up in bars, restaurants, and gas stations. And today, some of these signs can bring in a nice chunk of change, like one for Indian Motorcycles that sold for $225 and a 1930s Coke sign and thermometer combo that went for $173.50 on eBay in 2023.
Beer signs are another surprising money-maker—vintage brands like Falstaff and Griesedieck often get bids in the $500 range, and older signs for common brands like Pabst and Old Milwaukee can go for four-figure amounts. Maybe a member of your family used to own or work at a bar and ended up with one of these signs that’s just collected dust in a garage somewhere. Keep a look out—that aluminum soda sign could become your next car insurance payment.
6. Boy Scout Memorabilia
All those Boy Scout merit badges and medals you had growing up could net an unlikely sum of money today. Boy Scout memorabilia has been known to get plenty of interest online, with one auction of old paraphernalia going for $240. And one look on eBay shows plenty of listings, with multiple-badge lots having sold for hundreds of dollars.
7. Pokémon Cards
Remember all those Pokémon cards that you probably folded up, stuck in your pocket, or traded away to friends when you were younger? Complete sets of the standard cards can go for hundreds of dollars on eBay. And single, ultra-rare cards can be well into the thousands—like the holograph Charizard that sold for $11,999. Of course, they have to be graded and examined by experts to catch that price, but even a stack of the run-of-the-mill cards in mint condition can fetch a few bucks.
8. Misprinted Kansas Quarters
When the T on a coin pressing machine got a smudge on it, a batch of Kansas state quarters had its motto accidentally altered from In God We Trust to the far more thought-provoking In God We rust. The error didn’t last long, but the irregular coins made it out into the world and are now valued at around $100 each. Check those jars of coins you have sitting around; you might have a very valuable printing error on your hands.
9. China Sets
Chances are someone in your family has a china set stacked in a cabinet, waiting for that fancy dinner party that never comes. If you’re looking to offload it and make a little money, do your research. China can have a lot of value on sites like eBay and EBTH, and you want to make sure you maximize its worth. If you think it’s a nice-enough set, bring it to an antique dealer and see—at the very least, you can get a ballpark estimate of its value. Some go for hundreds, if not thousands, online.
10. Original Kenner Star Wars Figures
When the original Star Wars movie hit theaters, there was one massive oversight: There were no toys ready for the premiere. No one thought the movie would become the sensation that it did, so Kenner had to rush to get a proper toy line out the year after the movie’s release. But when those toys finally hit, it was seismic.
Star Wars toys flew off shelves, and they’ve become incredible collectors’ items today, especially the ones from the ’70s and ’80s. A 1978 Luke Skywalker toy—the one with the double-telescoping lightsaber—sold at auction for $25,000. And that’s not even close to all. There are vintage Boba Fetts going for around $2500 and obscure, pre-Hayden Christensen Anakin Skywalkers going for up to $3000.
Then, of course, there are the vehicles and spaceships, like the original Millennium Falcon, which can net $3000 if it’s still in the box. Countless kids had these toys somewhere in the ’70s and ’80s, and there’s a chance you’ve got a few in your family.
11. Vintage Lunchboxes
Lunchboxes have made their way to becoming one of the most cherished collectors’ items around. Cartoon characters, superheroes, and rock groups have all been slapped on the side of a tin box for kids to put their PB&J sandwiches in. And now they can be worth well over $100.
This Bonanza lunchbox sold for $130, while The Beatles, even in poor condition, could command around $400. That’s just the start. Spider-Man, Superman, Lost in Space—they can go for well over $100, and in some cases will end up over $200. If you have one that you feel can be valuable, do a little research and see what similar ones are going for online.
12. Pyrex Dishware
Don’t waste your time wondering why, just know this: People love vintage Pyrex. Need proof? Classic mixing bowls and rare casserole dishes have sold for thousands of dollars on eBay. Turns out there could be a little green in grandma’s old bakeware.
13. American Girl Dolls
Those original American Girl dolls from 1986 are a popular collectors’ item now, with Samantha having fetched as much as $4200 on eBay. That included her outfits and accessories, but other dolls have been known to go for more than $2800. Even dolls out of their original packaging can get a listing for hundreds of dollars, which is a nice little profit from their original price.
14. Old Typewriters
That old, forgotten typewriter in your garage might be worthless to you, but for those who like the soothing clickety-clack of the keys, it could hold real value. On eBay, some typewriters in good condition go for more than $200. Some of the older antique models can go even higher.
The world of typewriters is complex, with many different manufacturers and models hitting the market in the 20th century. Remember, though, people won’t spend big on something like a typewriter simply because it’s old. See if it’s in good shape and test it out—if it’s fashionable and functional, you might get some real interest in it.
15. Vintage He-Man, G.I. Joe, and Transformers Toys
He-Man, Transformer, and G.I. Joe toys were the “big three” for many kids growing up in the ’80s, and today, these figures can fetch a fair price even if they’ve been removed from the box. Just a short trip through eBay will show countless loose toys going for a good amount of money.
With action figures, boxes are always better, as sales of more than $200 for Transformers Jetfire and a $300+ Optimus Prime have shown. And if you have a vehicle in a box, even better. A Dreadnok Thunder Machine from G.I. Joe sold for more than $495. The Masters of the Universe Eternia playset has sold for several hundreds of dollars. Even parts of the playset get bids of over $100. You might want to double-check your old toy collection for that one—a few misplaced parts could be another collector’s treasure.
A version of this story ran in 2018; it has been updated for 2023.