With holiday bills coming due and no stimulus checks going on, people across the country are looking for a little extra cash to shore up their stretched budgets. In some cases, they may not have to look any further than their basements, attics and storage sheds.
They, their parents, grandparents, or former owners may have thrown old things in a box years ago that could make them rich today – or at least give them a small piece of change they don’t need to know about. hadn’t bet.
If you spot any of the following items when sorting through old clutter, do some research and maybe even do an appraisal before giving them away for next to nothing at a garage sale.
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In 1994, just before becoming the richest person in the world, Bill Gates invested $30.8 million on “Codex Leicester,” a 72-page manuscript that Leonardo da Vinci wrote between 1506 and 1510, according to CNBC.
That’s nearly $58 million in today’s money.
Chances are you won’t find original doodles of history’s greatest thinker tucked away in your attic, but old books can definitely be worth the money.
According to AbeBooks, which is an excellent source for estimating the value of any antique books you find – Biblio.com is also excellent – condition is usually the most important factor. First editions – especially those signed by the authors – are more valuable than later editions. And, as with most collectibles, rarity increases value.
According to Flea Market Insiders, furniture is considered antique once it reaches 100 years old. While valuable original furniture is very rare, replicas of older pieces from the early 20th century are now themselves considered antiques, which could increase their selling price.
Contemporary furniture loses two-thirds of its value the moment you buy it, but antiques can double in value every five years, an annual gain of 20%.
Have you come across an end table or a tidy ottoman with over a century of history under its belt? Visit a site like ValueMyStuff to upload a photo for a quick and accurate assessment.
More advice: 10 things in your house to sell instead of giving away
old video games
The summer of 2021 has seen a flurry of activity in a niche of the auction world that trades in both nostalgia and historical significance – the buying and selling of old video games.
The first record was set when a collector bought 1987’s “The Legend of Zelda” for $870,000. Two days later, 1996’s “Super Mario 64” fetched $1.5 million at auction. Then a few weeks later, a 1985 copy of “Super Mario Bros” broke all records with a final price of $2 million when the auctioneer’s hammer fell.
Like furniture and books, “antique” is often confused with “vintage” in the world of video games. Most older cartridges and consoles aren’t worth millions, thousands, or even more than a few dollars at a yard sale, according to The Gamer. But collectors will pay big bucks for the right game.
Games in excellent condition – especially those in the original packaging – always do the best. But also look for games with glitches or easter eggs, or look for games that were notoriously terrible to play or are otherwise special or rare.
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While the hobby has plummeted since its heyday in the 1950s and 1960s, stamp collecting is still a worldwide obsession – and if you come across any old stamps, they could be worth a pretty penny.
Vouchers are incredibly rare — 98% of stamps are worth as much or less than the shipping and handling costs they were designed to cover, according to StampWorld. But that remaining 2% is what keeps collectors coming back.
As with so many found treasures, condition is paramount, according to auction house Warwick & Warwick. Bright and original colors are of particular importance. Stamps issued before 1960 are the rarest and have the greatest historical value. Of particular interest are stamps issued before 1900 from countries with infrequent postal deliveries. Stamps with errors or perfect perforations tend to fetch the highest price at auction.
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