Top 10 Most Valuable Types of Collectibles You May Have at Home

By Rebecca Lake · August 21, 2023 · 13 minute read

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Top 10 Most Valuable Types of Collectibles You May Have at Home

Selling things from around the house that you no longer need can be an easy way to make some extra money. If you have some valuable collectibles on hand, you might be able to turn them into more than just pocket change.

Some of the most valuable collectibles include vintage comic books, baseball cards, and toys. Taking a look through your attic, basement, garage, or closets might turn up some items that you could potentially sell for top dollar.

What Are the Most Valuable Types of Collectibles?

Some collectibles tend to be more valuable than others, and it’s helpful to know which ones might command the most (or least) money. As you’re sorting through your stuff, here are 10 of the highest-value collectibles to keep an eye out for.

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1. Vintage Comic Books

Comic books are one of the most popular collectibles because of how much they can appreciate in value over time. Devoted comic book fans who want to grow their collections may be willing to drop hundreds or thousands of dollars on a single edition. Even if you’re not getting that much for old comics, you can still sell them to make a little money on the side.

What Makes Vintage Comic Books Valuable?

Rarity and condition usually determine how valuable a vintage comic book ends up being. First editions, limited runs, or editions that introduce a character for the first time are all examples of comic books that may sell for a lot of money. Comic books that are in mint or near-mint condition are usually priced higher, which makes sense as collectors may be willing to pay more for a book that has limited wear and tear.

What Is the Most Valuable Comic Book?

The most expensive private sale of a comic book on record involved an edition of Superman No. 1. The comic reportedly sold for $5.3 million in January 2022, making it the most valuable comic book in recent years.

2. Baseball Cards

Baseball cards are in-demand collectibles that you might be able to sell online, at sports memorabilia conventions, or at local hobby shops. Along with baseball cards, you might be able to sell other sports memorabilia, such as baseball bats, gloves, jerseys, pennants, miniature helmets, or figurines.

What Makes Baseball Cards Valuable?

How much are my baseball cards worth? The answer can depend on the age, rarity, and condition of the card. Of those factors, scarcity can have the biggest influence on what a baseball card will sell for. The fewer there are of a particular card, the more money you might be able to get for it if there are collectors actively seeking it out.

What Is the Most Valuable Baseball Card?

The most valuable baseball card of all time is a Honus Wagner card. Specifically, it’s the 1911 American Tobacco Company T206 card, which sold for $6.6 million at auction in 2021. Nicknamed “The Flying Dutchman,” Wagner is also among the first inductees to the Baseball Hall of Fame.

3. Vintage Bakeware

You might not give much thought to your mother or grandmother’s collection of casserole dishes, but they could be worth a fortune, depending on which ones they have. Vintage CorningWare and Pyrex dishes in particular can have a decent resale value if you’re able to find buyers who are looking for missing pieces to add to their collections.

What Makes Vintage Bakeware Valuable?

The value of CorningWare and Pyrex pieces is usually tied to their age, condition, and rarity. The actual design can also make a difference, as some patterns are considered to be more desirable by collectors than others. Pieces that feature patterns with limited runs or that are several decades old may command higher prices than ones that are more widely available.

What Is the Most Valuable Vintage Bakeware?

One of the most noteworthy examples of high-value vintage bakeware is the Lucky in Love line from Pyrex. A single bowl featuring the hearts and shamrocks design that the line is known for sold on eBay in 2022 for a winning bid of $22,100.

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4. Rare Coins

If you have a collection of old coins gathering dust, you might be sitting on a literal goldmine without realizing it. Coins are one of the most popular and most valuable collectibles, with many of the rarest editions fetching thousands at auction. While their face value may be relatively low, their collectible value can sometimes be astonishing.

What Makes Rare Coins Valuable?

The value of coins is typically tied to three things: age, rarity, and condition. The older and rarer a coin is, the more it’s going to be worth in most cases. Its condition plays a part, however, as two coins from the same period may not have the same value if one is in better condition than the other.

What Is the Most Valuable Rare Coin?

One of the most valuable coins in the world is the Saint-Gaudens Double Eagle, which was minted between 1907 and 1933. These coins are highly valued for their beauty and rarity — the 1933 Double Eagle coin is estimated to be worth up to $20 million.

5. Vintage Toys

Hanging onto old toys is something people may do if they hold sentimental value. But certain toys may have monetary value if they’re deemed to be collectibles. Examples of collectible toys can include dolls, action figures, and board games. Trendy and retro toys can also grow in value over time if collectors are giving them special attention.

What Makes Vintage Toys Valuable?

Whether a vintage toy is considered to be valuable or not can depend on things like its rarity, uniqueness, and age. A toy that was manufactured as a special or limited edition, for example, may become sought after by collectors if there are only a few of them to be had. Versions of toys that include manufacturing flaws that distinguish them from other versions may also prove valuable.

What Is the Most Valuable Vintage Toy?

Excluding a 2010 special edition Barbie, which technically doesn’t qualify as vintage, the most expensive toy sold at auction is a 1963 G.I. Joe prototype. Featuring hand-sewn clothing and a hand-painted face, the figure sold for $200,000 in 2003, before being donated to the Library of Congress in 2018.

6. Stamps

Collecting stamps is a popular hobby, and if you happen to inherit a collection from a parent or grandparent, you might be wondering what it’s worth. The answer could be anywhere from a few dollars per stamp to more than seven figures.

What Makes Stamps Valuable?

Stamps are assigned value based on a few things, starting with their rarity. For example, some of the most valuable stamps are ones that are the result of a misprinting. Their value is tied not only to the printing error but the fact that only a handful of them exist.

As with other collectibles, the condition of the stamp also matters. The more pristine a stamp is, the higher its value is likely to be.

What Is the Most Valuable Stamp?

One of the most valuable — and notable — stamps is the Inverted Jenny, issued in 1918. The stamp features an image of an upside-down Curtiss JN-4 biplane, and it’s believed that most of them have been destroyed or lost over the years. In 2019, a set of four sold at auction for $1.74 million.

7. Vintage Magazines

Vintage editions of popular magazines could easily be worth a few hundred or a few thousand dollars, depending on which ones you have. At the lower end, old magazines might sell for $5 to $20 per copy, which isn’t bad if you’re hoping to clear out clutter in your home and make a few dollars while you’re at it.

What Makes Vintage Magazines Valuable?

The value of a vintage magazine usually hinges on its age, rarity, and condition. A magazine that’s in mint or near-mint condition, for example, is likely to be worth more than one that has a torn or wrinkled cover, or is missing some pages. Editions of a magazine that’s now out-of-print may also be worth more than editions of a publication that’s still in operation.

What Is the Most Valuable Vintage Magazine?

One of the most valuable vintage magazines might surprise you. In 2021, a rare first edition of The Shadow No. 1 sold to a bidder for $156,000, making it the most expensive pulp magazine ever sold.

8. Antique Furniture

Antique furniture tends to be valued for both its age and its craftsmanship. A bed frame that’s hand carved, for example, is typically viewed as being more valuable than one that’s mass produced in a factory. Some of the most valuable furniture is associated with a specific style, such as Chippendale or Rococo.

What Makes Antique Furniture Valuable?

There are several factors that can make antique furniture valuable, including its:

•   Age

•   Construction

•   Materials

•   Hardware

•   Finish

Furniture that’s associated with a particular designer or stylistic movement can also be collectible. Authentic Shaker furniture, for instance, can easily sell for several hundred or several thousand dollars per piece. A professional appraisal is usually the best way to tell whether a particular piece of furniture is valuable.

What Is the Most Valuable Antique Furniture?

If you’re going by auction prices, the most valuable piece of antique furniture sold in recent years is The Badminton Chest. The chest, constructed in Florence and once believed to have been owned by the third Duke of Beaufort, sold at a Christie’s auction in 2004 for $36.7 million.

9. Jewelry

Jewelry, and related items like watches, are valuable collectibles to have simply because of their staying power. When you buy jewelry that is well made and features a classic design, it stands a better chance of withstanding the test of time. Necklaces, bracelets, brooches, rings, earrings, and pendants all have the potential to be considered collectible.

What Makes Jewelry Valuable?

Jewelry’s value is based on several factors, including the materials used to create the piece, the maker or designer, and its age. The rarer the materials or the more renowned the designer, the more a piece might be worth. The same is true for jewelry that features diamonds or precious stones. The higher the stone’s grading and the larger it is, the more value it may hold.

What Is the Most Valuable Jewelry?

As anyone who has purchased an engagement ring knows, jewelry can be pricey. The most valuable jewelry pieces are the ones that are either exceptionally rare or have some type of historical importance. Some of the world’s most expensive jewels include the Hope Diamond, the Cullinan Diamond, and the Koh-i-Noor Diamond, all of which have associations with royalty, and all of which are estimated to have valuations surpassing $100 million.

10. Antique, Classic, and Vintage Cars

Antique, classic, and vintage cars and other vehicles can also prove to be highly valuable, as these items tend to see strong demand from serious collectors. How much is my car worth? That’s a question an appraiser would likely need to answer, though you might be able to do some preliminary research using online valuation tools for vintage, antique, and classic vehicles.

What Makes Old Cars Valuable?

Valuations for antique, classic, and vintage cars can depend on several factors, including the vehicle’s age, condition, and mileage. How much of the original parts remain can also be a factor for vehicles that have been rebuilt or restored.

What Is the Most Valuable Antique, Classic, or Vintage Car?

Based on recent auctions, the most expensive collectible car is a 1955 Mercedes-Benz 300 SLR Uhlenhaut Coupe. The vehicle sold for $143 million at a 2022 auction held at the Mercedes-Benz Museum in Stuttgart, Germany.

What Types of Collectibles Gain the Most Value?

Collectibles that gain the most value are typically ones that are rare and in demand. In addition to the examples mentioned above, other valuable collectibles can include:

•   Vintage golf clubs

•   Vintage children’s books

•   Vinyl records

•   Retro gaming sets

•   Artworks

•   Fine wines and liquors

•   Shoes

•   Handbags

•   Clothing

•   Perfumes

•   Old photographs

•   Vintage electronics

•   Antique firearms

•   Antique or vintage kitchen appliances

•   Vintage tools

•   Musical instruments

Keep in mind that there are distinctions between items that are antique, vintage, and retro. Something is usually considered to be antique if it’s 100 years old or older. For vintage items, the threshold is typically 40 years, while retro items are 20 years old. The time frames may be different for vehicle valuations, as collectors may assign an additional category of “classic.”

As a general rule, the older an item is the more valuable it tends to be.

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How to Sell Valuable Collectibles

Selling valuable collectibles begins with understanding what your items are worth. Getting them appraised by someone who’s knowledgeable about the type of item you have can give you an approximation of its fair market value. For example, if you have a collection of antique watches, then you might take them to a jewelry appraiser for a professional valuation.

Following an appraisal, you may want to take the additional step of getting your items certified as collectible. Having a certificate of authenticity or collectibility can prove to interested buyers that your item is the real deal.

When you’re ready to sell your items, you can research different outlets for doing so. Where you decide to sell can depend largely on what you have to sell. Some of the options for selling collectibles include:

•   eBay

•   Etsy (for vintage items)

•   Local antique buyers

•   Consignment stores

•   Craigslist

•   Facebook Marketplace

•   Local comic book stores (for vintage comic books and other pop culture collectibles)

•   Sports memorabilia dealers

•   Flea markets

•   Auction houses

Pawn shops are another option for selling collectibles if you need money in a pinch. Keep in mind, however, that you likely won’t get the full value of your item if you’re selling to a pawn shop.

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What Might Be Considered a Collectible in the Future?

It’s difficult to say what may or may not become a collectible, as it can depend largely on trends and how value is assigned to different types of items. Collectibility can depend on several things, including:

•   An item’s novelty or rarity

•   Demand for that item

•   Whether the item has any special historical or social significance attached to it

Applying those tests can help to identify collectible items that have the best odds of growing in value. Examples of items that may be considered collectible in years to come include:

•   Funko Pops

•   Gaming consoles

•   First editions of books that are being published now

•   Trending toys

•   Autographed memorabilia, which may increase in value once the signer passes away

In general, the value of a collectible item largely rests on how many there are to collect and the condition of each one.

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The Takeaway

If you’re looking for alternative types of investments to add to your portfolio, valuable collectibles are one option you might consider. It’s possible that you may have a treasure trove of collectibles that could be worth some serious cash sitting right under your nose at home. And while you’re looking for collectibles to sell, consider what else you can do to make the most of the money you already have.

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Are valuable collectibles considered a financial asset?

What is a financial asset? In simple terms, it’s something that has positive value; assets are things you own, like real estate, cars, or bank accounts. Since collectibles typically appreciate in value, they could be considered a type of financial asset.

How do I know if my old items are valuable?

Getting a professional appraisal is usually the best way to determine whether old items are valuable. An appraiser can look at the item to assess its age and condition and then use their knowledge and expertise to give you an estimation of its value.

What is the 100-year rule for antiques?

The 100-year rule for antiques assumes that in order for an item to be considered an antique, it must be 100 years old or older. Vintage items, meanwhile, typically earn that label if they’re at least 40 years old, while retro items are usually at least 20 years old.

Photo credit: iStock/Kemal Yildirim

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