Have you ever watched one of those antique shows where someone finds out their grandma’s teapot or that book they’ve been using to level a table is actually worth enough to buy a new car? Did it make you wonder what valuables lurk in your closet?
It turns out there are lots of everyday things that may look like junk but are actually worth hundreds; maybe even tens of thousands of dollars. Get ready to be amazed at this list of ten incredibly rare and valuable things you may just have.
10. Certain Lego Pieces
You know the feeling: You’re almost finished with that Lego creation; however, you realize you’ve somehow misplaced ONE BRICK that would allow you to complete it. You look all over, check the box, the floor, under the table and couch, but it’s nowhere to be found.
But there’s a solution—on Bricklink.com, where people buy and sell individual Lego pieces. If you happen to have a piece someone wants, it can be worth hundreds of dollars. One red Darth Vader helmet piece goes for more than $400. And no, that doesn’t include a working life-size lightsaber.
9. VHS tape of a poorly-written zombie clown movie.
In 1987, a move called Tales from the Quadead Zone was released straight to video with very little fanfare. Due to its nonsensical plot about a zombie clown from hell, few copies sold after its release, and not many have survived into this century. Its rarity has made the tape very collectible, and one sold on eBay for $700 in 2011, which is probably more than the writers got paid. If you have one in your closet, it could be worth even more today.
8. World Championship Nintendo games and Stadium Events
If you have any old Nintendo games from the eighties or nineties, some of them may be worth twenty or even fifty bucks, but most are not as valuable as the rarest video game in the world, the NES World Championship cartridges. These were given to finalists at the actual World Championship games in 1990, and there were only 90 of them, making them incredibly rare—one sold for $17,500.
If you don’t find one of those in your attic, look for Stadium Events, a virtual sports video game by Bandai. Players used an attached running pad to compete in sporting events, sort of like a very early Wii Fit.
Of course, back in 1987 when only 2,000 copies were produced, parents weren’t as concerned with their kids’ fitness as they are today, and only about 200 copies were sold before Nintendo bought the rights and the others were pulled from shelves. One still-sealed copy sold on eBay in 2015 for just shy of six figures.
7. Peanut the Elephant Beanie Baby in Royal Blue
Beanie Babies are everywhere, and most aren’t worth much more than retail value today. However, a few rare ones will still bring a nice price on eBay. One very rare Beanie Baby is Peanut the Elephant—IF you can find him in Royal Blue.
He was originally made in gray, light blue, and purple, and only a few of the royal blue ones were produced. One of the deep blue Peanuts sold for more than three thousand dollars in 2000, and they may be worth even more today.
6. Beatles “Butcher Cover” Yesterday and Today album
If you or your parents have any old vinyl albums lying around, you might want to look for the Beatles’ Yesterday and Today album. This is only valuable if it has the “butcher cover”, which features the band posed with headless dolls and some sort of bloody butcher-shop meat. Capital Records produced about 750,000 of these before complaints that the cover was too “graphic” caused them to switch to a much tamer photo of the group standing around a piece of luggage.
Many of these 750,000 were recalled and destroyed, so the butcher cover is very rare today. One sold for more than $15,000 in 2013. Other rare and valuable albums tend to follow the pattern of alternate versions produced in low numbers. This list includes a version of Bob Dylan’s The Freewheelin’ with four different songs the label decided to change, but only after a few copies had been pressed.
If you find an old vinyl album or CD that is different from others produced around the same time, it’s worth doing some research to find out how rare and desirable it is.
5. Old Technology
If you remember talking on a cell phone roughly the size and weight of a brick, attached to an even larger box with one of those curly wires, you might have something valuable. A 1983 Motorola DynaTac 8000X sold for $550, even though the seller admitted they had no idea if it still worked.
We’re guessing the buyer wasn’t planning to make any calls with it, since not too many networks support analog these days. Who knows, maybe the buyer wanted a really expensive boat anchor, since those early cell phones were pretty heavy.
In that same category, early Apple computers are not up to surfing the web at current speeds, but they can still be worth some money to collectors. The Apple 1 is the most valuable—only 575 were ever sold, and one was auctioned off at Christie’s for just shy of $400,000 in 2013. Apple II’s range from $100-2,500 depending on condition and specific model. Hang onto that broken iPad, it may be worth something twenty years from now.
4. Magic the Gathering: Black Lotus Card
Lots of kids played Magic the Gathering as kids or teens, and some adults still play. People often trade or sell cards, but few individual cards are as valuable as the Black Lotus, because only 1,100 were printed. If you have one in a shoebox at the back of your closet, you can expect to make as much as $27,000. Sadly the same can’t be said for that old New Kids on the Block fanny pack you’ve been hanging onto for years.
3. Hot Wheels Treasure Hunt cars and McDonald’s Toys
Released in 1995, Hot Wheels Treasure hunt cards are still popular with collectors. Just one of these cars, a 1967 Camaro, sold for more than $500. If you were one of those weird kids who left your toys in the box and never played with them, you can get $1,100 to $1,500 for the whole set in its original box.
If you were like most of us and played with them, you probably lost half the cars between couch cushions, under the back seat of your parent’s car, or left them at a friend’s house, but the individual vehicles can still be worth a few hundred.
In the same category of nostalgia toys, entire internet communities have sprung up around Happy Meal Toys, and some of those are also valuable. While a box of random McDonald’s toys can go for $500, complete sets also do well, especially if you kept them in good condition.
One Disney-themed set sold for $200, and a complete set of 19 Minions from Despicable Me 2 netted the seller $360. These toys are, of course, worth more if they’re in good condition and not smeared with ketchup.
2. The very first edition of Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone
In 1998, 500 copies of the first edition of Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone were printed, listing J.K. Rowling as the author—with her full first name, Joanne Rowling. The publisher soon decided she should have one of those fancy initials-only first names, and later copies of the first edition said J. K. Rowling.
Because only 500 were printed with the name Joanne, these are extremely rare, and if you have one, it could be worth as much as $50,000 or more. Lets hope your younger siblings didn’t scribble all over it with crayons.
1. Rare banknotes and coins
You may not think you can buy much with $1, and even those tens and twenties in your wallet might not buy everything you want, but some of them are worth more than their face value. Some people collect rare banknotes, and certain ones could be worth much more than the bill’s printed value. Ones to look for: Bills with serial numbers that are either very high or very low.
For example, a serial number lower than 100 or high enough to start with six nines. The higher the number, the more valuable the bill.
Also look for star notes, where a star appears at the end of the serial number, solid notes, where one digit repeats over and over, and ladder notes, where the number goes in ascending or descending order, such as 012345678.
Certain coins are also worth a lot of money due to rare defects, like the Kansas quarter that reads “In God we rust” due to a grease smudge on the pressing machine. These sell for around $100. You can also look for Wisconsin quarters—if you find one printed with an extra line below the first leaf, that’s another printing error that can net you up to $300.
That’s just a pretty brief outline though, we’ve made a whole video on this. Click here to find out more about how to identify rare and valuable currency.