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Valuable 'Antiques Roadshow' Finds That Could Be Hiding in Your Home

Retro Lunchboxes

Metal lunch boxes were a staple of the 20th century. First marketed for commercial use in 1902 after children began repurposing empty cookie and tobacco tins, the metal lunchbox has evolved alongside pop culture. For many kids pre-2000s, picking out the right lunchbox was a decision of utmost importance. Not only would it have to be used for multiple months, but it also was a marker of their personality.

Any old lunchbox won’t catch a profit, but if your abandoned tins sport certain celebrities, cartoons, or other characters, it could be worth hundreds. If you happen to have a Beatles box somewhere in the closet, we’d recommend taking a second look if you’re up for making an extra $400!

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Vintage Christmas Ornaments

Christmas ornaments are festive decorations that bring tidings of joy to your household… for like two months. Because of their short life on display, the value of ornaments are constantly overlooked to the point that people have no idea what their holiday hangings are worth.

Not just any ornament is worth a lot, of course, since there is an overabundance of cheaply made plastic ones today. But the vintage and collectible varieties can be sold for a pretty penny. Just search online for prices of similar pieces and determine if your collection holds a hidden treasure! Keep an eye out for blown glass and your wallet could seriously thank you.

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VHS Tapes

VHS Tapes are basically obsolete, especially with hundreds of streaming options available at our fingertips. So if you can’t use them, why not try to make a profit?

If you have a collection of oddities in film that never made it to DVD and original releases of classic cartoons, those are usually sold at the highest prices. And if you weren’t a particularly unique VHS watcher, you can still turn tapes into cash. While the majority of your VHS tapes are worth no more than a dollar, collectible versions can snatch at least 50 bucks!

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Old Postcards

Postcards are a thoughtful way to keep in touch with friends and family while traveling. Who wouldn’t appreciate a handwritten note sent from Finland?

In fact, signatures on postcards can drastically increase its worth; we’re talking from $50 to thousands! But any old postcard from Nana probably isn’t going to cut it. Notable names are the real moneymakers. Just keep in mind that the older the card, the more it’s worth.

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Vintage Handbags

Just admit it. Us regular folks have one handbag that we actually use every day while the rest rot in the back of our closet. It’s okay, we’re not judging. In fact, sell some of those vintage pieces to bag collectors, which will open up closet space and make some spare cash.

Bags from big designers and in the best condition will be top sellers, but your beat-up Chanel can still make a decent amount! Any spare $100 is worth it in our book.

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Perfume Bottles

Scent is the primary factor for selling modern perfumes at stores such as Victoria’s Secret or Bath & Bodyworks. But when it comes to reselling, the beauty of the bottle is far more important than the perfume itself.

Antiques Roadshow aired an episode in which an original design of glassblower Rene Lalique was appraised at a worth of $40,000! What we learn from this episode is even if the perfume bottle doesn’t appear too special, it could be worth more than the prettiest of the bunch.

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Baseball Cards

Most baseball card collections are worth more in sentimentality than monetary value. In fact, most cards are words less to sell than they were to buy. Essentially, you’re losing money. So why do so many people collect them?

Perhaps it’s the thrill of the hunt that drives the baseball-card craze. Not only does collecting stimulate your curiosity to learn, but it could make you some serious cash. $1 million worth of baseball memorabilia was appraised on Antiques Roadshow. A sole Honus Wagner card was appraised for even more than that collection at $1.3 million. So all we have to say is keep on collecting!

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Comic Books

Comic books are a go-to gateway into reading for people who are unconcerned with the classics. Kids usually end up with a pretty sizable comics collection, given the nickel-and-dime prices of comics upon initial publication, and hold onto them into adulthood. Fortunately for the nerdy few, first-edition comics—such as for Marvel and DC—along with comics that introduce new characters can turn out to be a worthwhile investment you didn’t realize you made as a teenager!

This lucky turn-of-events played out on Antiques Roadshow when a man got his 1967 Marvel Silver Age comics appraised for a whopping $40,000. The price could’ve been bumped to $100,000 if the books were in better condition, so take care of your comics, people!

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Old Signs

If you’ve ever seen American Pickers, then you know how much the odd Coca-Cola sign can sell for. Some tin advertising signs from the early 1900s can go for nearly $15,000 at auction given its condition.

It’s hard to believe that cheap advertisements can sell for so much, but it’s the truth! If the Pickers can go scrounging around other people’s property and find signs worth thousands, there’s most likely some treasures hidden in your own yard.

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Costume Jewelry

We know, we know. Costume jewelry is supposed to be the cheap stuff. Usually it is but over time it only grows in value. Pieces of fine jewelry, with their high-karat diamonds and complex settings, are obviously worth some money but costume jewelry is more elusively valuable.

The most valuable pieces are “true vintage”—meaning at least 50 years old—and have an abundance of brightly colored stones in good condition.

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Pocket Watches

One of the most valuable pieces ever showcased on Antiques Roadshow was a Patek Philippe pocket watch, which sold at auction for $1.5 million. Like most other antique finds, the older the pricier.

While not every pocket watch will garner you millionaire status, many gold-plated vintage watches are currently being sold for upwards of $2,000 on Ebay, with the most valuable priced at over $50,000! 

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Antique Toys

Toy collectors are pretty common nowadays, and the large sums they splash out for a Star Wars figurine makes you wonder why you ever sold your childhood toys at that garage sale!

Star Wars, Polly Pockets, Cabbage Patch Kids, and Barbies all have great resale value, given the age and condition, of course. Even better, the classic Fisher-Price Push Cart Pete can get you a fast 3,000 bucks if his sad face hasn’t worn away. We'd be scrounging our attics for these valuable finds!

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Classic Cookie Jars

True vintage cookie jars can be appraised at around $1,000, according to evaluator Reyne Hirsch. If the cookie jar was well taken care of, and especially if it’s shaped like a famous cartoon character, $3,000 isn’t so far out of reach.

If you don’t have any cookie jars yourself, take a look at garage sales, flea markets, and estate sales to see if you can nab a ‘50’s jar and resell for a wild profit!

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Rare Coins

If you’d rather not become a metal-detector person scrounging the beach for valuable metals, looking inward at your own pockets is a good practice to keep.

Some half dollars range in value from $7,000 to $25,000! It’s easy to forget about our change until it annoys us with its constant jangling, so try to sell a few and see what you get!

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Precious Paintings

Paintings are by far the pieces most often appraised highly on Antiques Roadshow. Most artworks are brought on the show by owners who have no clue as to their actual worth. Many claim that the paintings were just passed down their family without a second thought.

Perhaps that painting in the corner of your house could turn into hundreds of thousands of dollars; at least, it did for a lucky priest! He originally bought the piece in 1992 for a measly few hundred but has since been featured in art exhibits internationally and valued at over 400,000 bucks.

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