When many of us are looking at our personal finances, we are often on the lookout for online deals and ways to make some extra cash. Whether it’s to boost savings, pay off debts, or fund a well-deserved vacation, the quest for additional income can sometimes lead us to overlook a potential goldmine: our own homes.
You might be living among items that are far more valuable than you realize. Or, perhaps you know your parents’ attic is filled with items that haven’t seen the light of day in decades. No matter where the goods are hiding, here’s a look at five common household items that could unexpectedly bolster your savings account.
1. Vintage toys and games
Remember those cherished toys and board games from your younger days, perhaps stored in the attic? Vintage toys and games, particularly if they are kept in their original packaging, can command impressive prices. Collectors are always searching for these rare items. Toys from the ’70s, ’80s, and ’90s have now become sought-after collectibles.
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Classic examples include original Star Wars action figures or first editions of board games such as Monopoly, which can be valued at hundreds or even thousands of dollars. Beanie Babies have been listed on eBay for prices starting at $199. Among the most prized My Little Ponies are the Rapunzel Mail Order Pony and the Baby Brother Sweet Celebration Prototype, reaching sale prices of several thousand dollars.
2. Old coins and currency
It might be time to rummage through that old coin jar or the neglected wallet in your drawer. Rare coins and vintage currency can possess considerable value, especially those from unique mint years or with historical significance. A notable example is a rare 1943 copper penny that fetched over $200,000 at a sale. While not every old coin will turn out to be a treasure, it’s certainly worth a look.
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3. Vinyl records
Vinyl records are experiencing a resurgence as a nostalgic medium for music and as sought-after collectibles. Items like first pressings, limited edition releases, or albums with printing errors are particularly valuable. Take, for instance, original pressings of iconic albums such as The Beatles’ White Album, which are highly prized. The value of a collection can vary widely, with some records priced as low as $0.50 and rare first pressings reaching into the thousands. Examples include the Kiss Alive! Vintage Original Vinyl LP Album, which can be found listed for $250 on eBay, and the Down Home Boys’ Original Stack O’ Lee Blues with an estimated value of $50,000.
4. Retro and vintage t-shirts
Those t-shirts from your past, the ones you couldn’t bear to throw away, might now be worth significantly more than their original price. According to Reyne Hirsch, a long-time appraiser on PBS’ Antiques Roadshow, t-shirts from concerts, advertising, and those featuring cool designs are highly popular. A vintage ’90s Tupac t-shirt once sold for $105 on eBay, and a vintage 1990s Nintendo 64 Super Mario t-shirt is currently listed there for $399.
Even if you don’t own a rare Julia Child cookbook, your collection could still fetch a tidy sum. Mass-produced and widely used cookbooks, like those from Betty Crocker, can range in value from a modest amount to thousands, depending on their condition. However, cookbooks signed by famous chefs can sell for much higher prices. For instance, the first edition of Julia Child’s Mastering the Art of French Cooking was auctioned for $7,500 in 2019, and the first edition of The Joy of Cooking from 1931 sold for over $46,000 in 2017.
How to sell your valuable household items
Once you’ve identified potentially valuable items in your home, the next step is selling them to turn a profit. Successfully selling these items involves a combination of research, presentation, and choosing the right platform. Here are some strategies to help you get the best return on your hidden treasures.
Research and appraisal
- Identify the item’s value: Conduct thorough research on each item to understand its market value. Look for similar items sold online to get an idea of the price range.
- Get professional appraisals: For high-value items like art, antiques, or rare collectibles, consider getting a professional appraisal. This gives you a more accurate value and can be a selling point for potential buyers.
Preparing the item for sale
- Clean and repair: Make sure the item is in the best possible condition. Clean it carefully and, if necessary, make minor repairs. However, be cautious with antiques, as altering their original state can sometimes decrease their value.
- Take high-quality photos: Clear, well-lit photographs from multiple angles are essential. They allow potential buyers to properly assess the item’s condition and authenticity.
- Create a detailed description: Write a comprehensive description of the item, including its history, condition, any unique features, and the reason for its value. Be honest about any flaws to avoid disputes later.
Choosing the right platform
- Online marketplaces: Websites like eBay, Etsy, or Craigslist are significant for a wide range of items, especially if they have a national or international appeal. For specialized items, look for niche online marketplaces like Poshmark for designer clothes. Or, you can list on multiple platforms.
- Consignment shops: Local consignment shops can be a good option for items like designer clothing, vintage accessories, and some types of collectibles.
Selling valuable items from your home can be an easy way to earn extra money. With the right approach, you can maximize your profits while ensuring your treasures find a new home where they will be appreciated.
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