If you need motivation to clean out your attic, think of it as an opportunity to earn some extra cash. Thanks to nostalgic collectors with money to burn, many of the items that were once everywhere have now skyrocketed in value. This includes kitschy 1970s memorabilia like Pyrex casserole dishes and ceramic Christmas trees, and retro 1990s toys like Pokémon cards and Polly Pocket. Here are the vintage treasures to look for during your next decluttering project.
1. Old typewriters
The once-ubiquitous typewriter is now a collector’s item. On eBay, vintage models from the late 19th and early 20th centuries can sell for well over $1000. If they’re in good condition, even typewriters made in the last half-century can earn sellers a couple hundred dollars.
2. Pokémon cards
Rare, first-generation Pokémon cards have been known to fetch five-figure sums. A promotional Pikachu card from 1998 sold for $54,970 through Heritage Auctions in 2016. That card had been made especially for an illustration contest, but the Pokémon cards that came in regular packs can be valuable as well. In 2014, a pristine copy of a 1999 Charizard card sold for almost $12,000.
3. Beanie Babies
If you haven’t looked at your Beanie Baby collection since the 1990s, now’s the time to break it out. Mint-condition toys with manufacturer errors and rare variations can earn serious cash. In January 2019, a Valentino bear with multiple errors sold on eBay for just shy of $42,300.
4. Ceramic Christmas trees
Unlike the holiday ornaments you made in elementary school, these items are worth far more than their sentimental value. Vintage ceramic Christmas trees from the 1960s and ’70s can sell for $100 to $450 on eBay. Their value peaks between late November and early December each year, so make sure you leave enough time to dig through your old decorations to sell them for the best price.
5. VHS tapes
Before giving away your VHS tapes for pocket change in a garage sale, look up their value. Schlocky horror movies, professional wrestling shows, and even early episodes of Barney are potentially worth hundreds of dollars on tape.
6. Vinyl records
Some variant copies of old records are extremely valuable. A version of Bob Dylan’s album The Freewheelin’ Bob Dylan with alternate tracks was accidentally released in 1963, and today it can sell for as much as $35,000. And certain albums from The Beatles with rare labels, serial numbers, or recalled cover art are also highly sought after by collectors.
7. Comic books
The influx of superhero movies has been a boon to comic book collectors. The comics worth the most money tend to be inaugural issues of iconic series, or issues that marked the first appearance of a beloved character. The Incredible Hulk No.1, Marvel Comics No.1, and X-Men No. 1 all sold for upwards of $300,000.
8. Boy Scout badges
Was your grandfather an Eagle Scout? The merit badges and medals from your Boy Scout days may be worth more than a trip to summer camp, but scouting memorabilia from the first half of the 20th century tends to rack up the highest bids, with some collectors willing to shell out hundreds of dollars on eBay.
9. Polly Pocket
Before Mattel bought Polly Pocket in 1998, the dolls and accessories came in cases that really were small enough to fit in your pocket. Today, original versions of the tiny toys can net owners big bucks. In 2016, a sealed Polly Pocket Jewel Case earned $600 on eBay, and two years later, a Polly's Crystal Ball set sold for the same price.
10. Pyrex dishes
The tacky, colorful dishware that was a staple in 20th-century kitchens could earn a small fortune today. Complete sets are worth the most money, but depending on their pattern and condition, single items can be surprisingly valuable. In early 2019, a vintage Pyrex casserole dish with a rare “Lucky in Love” pattern sold for $6700 on eBay.