15 Old Things In Your House That Are Worth a Fortune

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iStock

Chances are, there's more money in our homes than we realize. There is a market for collectibles of any kind—even those dusty old toys and sickeningly retro Pyrex 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. So to help you along, here are 15 old things in your house that could be worth a fortune.

1. DAVID BOWIE'S DIAMOND DOGS VINYL

Picture of David Bowie
NILS MEILVANG, AFP/Getty Images

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

Person holding Super Nintendo controller
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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 infamous is Little Samson on the original Nintendo, which regularly ends up on places like eBay and can get bids over $1000. Though, with how rare the game is, it isn't as likely it's just lying around your basement.

3. ANYTHING POLLY POCKET

Polly Pocket toys
Herry Lawford, Flickr // CC BY 2.0

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 closing in on $300 and this collection of loose Polly Pocket houses for $250. These 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

A stack of comic books
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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. Right now, copies of the Black Panther series from the '70s—written and illustrated by co-creator Jack Kirby—are having a moment on eBay. The auction for the series' 15-issue run is already well over $150, and single issues are going for $50 alone.

The first comic book appearance of the villainous Killmonger, who also appears in the Black Panther movie, also shot up in worth and is now hovering around $100. That's nothing compared to Black Panther's own debut, which ranges from a few hundred to $1000 depending on the condition.

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

Vintage Coca-Cola ad
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Before pop-up ads told us what to buy, a major way companies would advertise would be 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 this $225 eBay listing for Indian Motorcycles or this AAA Root Beer bottle sign that's sitting at over $300. Then there's the venerable Coke sign that is listed at over $600.

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

Boy Scout patches
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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 many batches of patches and badges getting bids of over $100.

7. POKÉMON CARDS

Pokemon cards
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Remember all those Pokémon cards that you probably folded up, stuck in your pocket, or traded away to friends when you were younger? Well 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. KANSAS QUARTERS

Kansas quarters
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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. So check those jars of coins you have sitting around; you might have a very valuable printing error on your hands.

9. CHINA SETS

Fine China
iStock

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. THE ORIGINAL KENNER STAR WARS FIGURES

The Millennium Falcon toy
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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 has, 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

Snoopy lunch box
Caren Pilgrim, Flickr // CC BY-ND 2.0

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. The Munsters, Superman, Lost in Space—they're all going for well over $100, and in some cases will end up over $200. Then there are the surprises like The Wild, Wild West getting bids for $225, while Disney's Davy Crockett is nearing $230. 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

A stack of Pyrex bowls
Jessica Fiess-Hill, Flickr // CC BY 2.0

Don't waste your time wondering why, just know this: People love vintage Pyrex. Need proof? There’s a butter dish going for $225 on eBay. There are other listings, too. Bowl sets are going for more than $300 and a chip and dip set is closing in on $100. Turns out there could be a little green in grandma's old casserole dish.

13. AMERICAN GIRL DOLLS

Girl holding American Girl doll
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Those original American Girl dolls from 1986 are a popular collector's item now, with Samantha selling as high as $4200 on eBay. Of course 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

Picture of an orange typewriter
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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 are going for nearly $200, with this unique orange one getting bids for more than $250. Some of the older antique models can go even higher, with current bids coming in at anywhere from $475 to $560.

The world of typewriters is complex, with so 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

Picture of a He-Man toy
Semihundido, Flickr // CC BY-SA 2.0

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.

This He-Man, complete with accessories, doesn't need a box to get a listing for over $50. Add Skeletor and a couple of comics to the mix and you're suddenly close to $250. And you’re looking at around $100 for a mail-in Cobra Commander action figure.

With action figures, boxes are always better, as listings for more than $200 for Transformers Jetfire and a $300+ Optimus Prime show. And if you have a vehicle in a box, even better. This Dreadnok Thunder Machine from G.I. Joe is currently at $495. But if you want to talk about "Holy Grails," then you have to mention the Masters of the Universe Eternia playset, which is rare enough to exist on eBay in the box for $9999. 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.

Amazon's Best Cyber Monday Deals on Tablets, Wireless Headphones, Kitchen Appliances, and More

Amazon
Amazon

This article contains affiliate links to products selected by our editors. Mental Floss may receive a commission for purchases made through these links.

Cyber Monday has arrived, and with it comes some amazing deals. This sale is the one to watch if you are looking to get low prices on the latest Echo Dot, Fire Tablet, video games, Instant Pots, or 4K TVs. Even if you already took advantage of sales during Black Friday or Small Business Saturday, Cyber Monday still has plenty to offer, especially on Amazon. We've compiled some the best deals out there on tech, computers, and kitchen appliances so you don't have to waste your time browsing.

Computers and tablets

Amazon

- Amazon Fire HD 10 Tablet 64GB; $120 (save $70)

- Amazon Fire HD 8 Tablet 64GB; $84 (save $35)

- HP Pavilion x360 14 Convertible 2-in-1 Laptop; $646 (save $114)

- HP Pavilion Desktop, 10th Gen Intel Core i3-10100 Processor; $469 (save $81)

- Acer Nitro 5 Gaming Laptop; $973 (save $177)

Headphones and speakers

Beats/Amazon

- Bose QuietComfort 35 II Wireless Bluetooth Headphones; $200 (save $100)

- Sony Bluetooth Noise-Canceling Wireless Headphones; $278 (save $72)

- JBL LIVE Wireless Headphones; $100 (save $30)

- JBL Charge 4 - Waterproof Portable Bluetooth Speaker; $120 (save $10)

- Bose SoundLink Color Bluetooth Speaker II; $79 (save $50)

- Powerbeats Pro Wireless Earphones; $200 (save $50)

Video Games

Sony

- Watch Dogs Legion; $30 (save $30)

- Marvel's Avengers; $27 (save $33)

- Ghost of Tsushima; $40 (save $20)

- The Last of Us Part II; $30 (save $30)

TECH, GADGETS, AND TVS

Samsung/Amazon

- Amazon Fire TV Stick; $30 (save $20)

- Echo Show 8; $65 (save $65)

- Nixplay Digital Picture Frame; $115 (save $65)

- eufy Smart Doorbell; $90 (save $30)

- Samsung 75-Inch Class Crystal 4K Smart TV; $898 (save $300)

home and Kitchen

Ninja/Amazon

- T-fal 17-Piece Cookware Set; $124 (save $56)

- Le Creuset Enameled Cast Iron Curved Round Chef's Oven; $180 (save $136)

- Ninja Foodi 10-in-1 Convection Toaster Oven; $195 (save $105)

- Roborock E4 Robot Vacuum Cleaner; $189 (save $111)

- Instant Pot Max Pressure Cooker 9 in 1; $80 (save $120)

- Shark IZ362H Cordless Anti-Allergen Lightweight Stick Vacuum; $170 (save $110)

Sign Up Today: Get exclusive deals, product news, reviews, and more with the Mental Floss Smart Shopping newsletter!

12 Spirited Facts About How the Grinch Stole Christmas

Warner Home Video
Warner Home Video

Each year, millions of Americans welcome the holiday season by tuning into their favorite TV specials. For most people, this includes at least one viewing of the 1966 animated classic How the Grinch Stole Christmas. Adapted from Dr. Seuss’s equally famous children’s book by legendary animator Chuck Jones, How the Grinch Stole Christmas first aired more than 50 years ago, on December 18, 1966. Here are 12 facts about the TV special that will surely make your heart grow three sizes this holiday season.

1. Theodor “Dr. Seuss” Geisel And Chuck Jones previously worked together on Army training videos.

During World War II, Geisel joined the United States Army Air Forces and served as commander of the Animation Department for the First Motion Picture Unit, a unit tasked with creating various training and pro-war propaganda films. It was here that Geisel soon found himself working closely with Chuck Jones on an instructional cartoon called Private Snafu. Originally classified as for-military-personnel-only, Private Snafu featured a bumbling protagonist who helped illustrate the dos and don’ts of Army safety and security protocols.

2. It was because of their previous working relationship that Ted Geisel agreed to hand over the rights to The Grinch to Chuck Jones.

After several unpleasant encounters in relation to his previous film work—including the removal of his name from credits and instances of pirated redistribution—Geisel became notoriously “anti-Hollywood.” Because of this, he was reluctant to sell the rights to How the Grinch Stole Christmas. However, when Jones personally approached him about making an adaptation, Geisel relented, knowing he could trust Jones and his vision.

3. Even with Ted Geisel’s approval, the special almost didn’t happen.

By Al Ravenna, World Telegram staff photographer - Library of Congress. New York World-Telegram & Sun Collection. Public Domain, Wikimedia Commons

Whereas today’s studios and production companies provide funding for projects of interest, television specials of the past, like A Charlie Brown Christmas and How the Grinch Stole Christmas, had to rely on company sponsorship in order to get made. While A Charlie Brown Christmas found its financier in the form of Coca-Cola, How the Grinch Stole Christmas struggled to find a benefactor. With storyboards in hand, Jones pitched the story to more than two dozen potential sponsors—breakfast foods, candy companies, and the like—all without any luck. Down to the wire, Jones finally found his sponsor in an unlikely source: the Foundation for Commercial Banks. “I thought that was very odd, because one of the great lines in there is that the Grinch says, ‘Perhaps Christmas doesn’t come from a store,’” Jones said of the surprise endorsement. “I never thought of a banker endorsing that kind of a line. But they overlooked it, so we went ahead and made the picture.”

4. How the Grinch Stole Christmas had a massive budget.

Coming in at over $300,000, or $2.2 million in today’s dollars, the special’s budget was unheard of at the time for a 26-minute cartoon adaptation. For comparison’s sake, A Charlie Brown Christmas’s budget was reported as $96,000, or roughly $722,000 today (and this was after production had gone $20,000 over the original budget).

5. Ted Geisel wrote the song lyrics for the special.

No one had a way with words quite like Dr. Seuss, so Jones felt that Geisel should provide the lyrics to the songs featured in How the Grinch Stole Christmas.

6. Fans requested translations of the “Fahoo Foraze” song.

True to his persona’s tongue-twisting trickery, Geisel mimicked sounds of classical Latin in his nonsensical lyrics. After the special aired, viewers wrote to the network requesting translations of the song as they were convinced that the lyrics were, in fact, real Latin phrases.

7. Thurl Ravenscroft didn’t receive credit for his singing of “You’re A Mean One, Mr. Grinch.”

The famous voice actor and singer, best known for providing the voice of Kellogg’s Tony the Tiger, wasn’t recognized for his work in How the Grinch Stole Christmas. Because of this, most viewers wrongly assumed that the narrator of the special, Boris Karloff, also sang the piece in question. Upset by this oversight, Geisel personally apologized to Ravenscroft and vowed to make amends. Geisel went on to pen a letter, urging all the major columnists that he knew to help him rectify the mistake by issuing a notice of correction in their publications.

8. Chuck Jones had to find ways to fill out the 26-minute time slot.

Because reading the book out loud only takes about 12 minutes, Jones was faced with the challenge of extending the story. For this, he turned to Max the dog. “That whole center section where Max is tied up to the sleigh, and goes down through the mountainside, and has all those problems getting down there, was good comic business as it turns out,” Jones explained in TNT’s How the Grinch Stole Christmas special, which is a special feature on the movie’s DVD. “But it was all added; it was not part of the book.” Jones would go on to name Max as his favorite character from the special, as he felt that he directly represented the audience.

9. The Grinch’s green coloring was inspired by a rental car.

Warner Home Video

In the original book, the Grinch is illustrated as black and white, with hints of pink and red. Rumor has it that Jones was inspired to give the Grinch his iconic coloring after he rented a car that was painted an ugly shade of green.

10. Ted Geisel thought the Grinch looked like Chuck Jones.

When Geisel first saw Jones’s drawings of the Grinch, he exclaimed, “That doesn’t look like the Grinch, that looks like you!” Jones’s response, according to TNT’s How the Grinch Stole Christmas Special: “Well, it happens.”

11. At one point, the special received a “censored” edit.

Over the years, How the Grinch Stole Christmas has been edited in order to shorten its running time (in order to allow for more commercials). However, one edit—which ran for several years—censored the line “You’re a rotter, Mr. Grinch” from the song “You’re a Mean One, Mr. Grinch.” Additionally, the shot in which the Grinch smiles creepily just before approaching the bed filled with young Whos was deemed inappropriate for certain networks and was removed.

12. The special’s success led to both a prequel and a crossover special.

Universal Pictures Home Entertainment

Given the popularity of the Christmas special, two more Grinch tales were produced: Halloween is Grinch Night and The Grinch Grinches The Cat in the Hat. Airing on October 29, 1977, Halloween is Grinch Night tells the story of the Grinch making his way down to Whoville to scare all the Whos on Halloween. In The Grinch Grinches The Cat in the Hat, which aired on May 20, 1982, the Grinch finds himself wanting to renew his mean spirit by picking on the Cat in the Hat. Unlike the original, neither special was deemed a classic. But this is not to say they weren’t well-received; in fact, both went on to win Emmy Awards.