Common Household Items That Are Worth More Than You Think (and Others That Are Worth Even Less)

Have you ever tuned into Antiques Roadshow and watched a stranger cash in big on a piece of art work that’s been collecting dust in their late grandparent’s attic? Heck, I once watched a lady’s surprise when she discovered that a painting that was purchased for $100 was actually worth $500,000. Seeing such a display unfold on the TV has a way of inspiring us all to figure out what sort of valuable household items we may have lurking around our homes.

By and large, the majority of us have closets, attics, and basements full of stuff that we forgot we ever owned. Yet the endeavor of sifting through decades of memories and memorabilia can be overwhelming. But what if you realized you were sitting on thousands of dollars? You would probably have a little extra pep in your step.

We all have skewed ideas of what is and what is not worth a lot of money. However, you never know what something is worth until you do a little research. Here are some items you should try to sell and others with which you should probably not even bother. Let’s start with the worthwhile first.

Valuable household items

1. Antique Homer Laughlin Fiesta Dinnerware

coffee in fiestaware

Vintage Fiestaware could make you some big bucks. | Taraoldfield/iStock/Getty Images

The signature, brightly-colored ceramic Fiestaware can be purchased brand new today. The antique Fiestaware, on the other hand, can fetch a hefty chunk of change. The Homer Laughlin Company out of West Virginia introduced Fiestaware back in 1936. There was a period of time between 1973 and 1986 that Fiestaware was not produced, however, the ceramics are easily available now.

The hard-to-find Fiesta pieces are considered collectibles and can sell for hundreds of dollars. If you have vintage Fiestaware just sitting around your home, it may be worth listing it for sale.

Next: This little girl’s dream toy could make you a lot of money. 

2. American Girl Dolls

 Molly American Girl doll

These dolls are seriously expensive. | BRENDAN SMIALOWSKI/AFP/Getty Images

When your little girl asks you for an American Girl doll, you might cringe just a little. These dolls cost around $125-$150, and that price tag doesn’t include all the bells and whistles of accessories. Not surprisingly, people collect these dolls. Particularly the dolls from American Girl’s original collection. For the girls (like me) who grew up in the 90’s and had American Girls, those dolls are part of the original collection — Felicity, Samantha and Molly – and are worth a lot of money.

The original collection dolls can sell upwards of $1,000, if not more. Usually, that price tag includes a boatload of accessories, but hey, that is a solid return on investment.

Next: Who knew these things would be worth so much? 

3. Video games

Teenage girl and boy playing video games

Double check your games before you donate. | Chris Ryan/iStock/Getty Images

Not all video games are created equally when it comes to being valuable. Some, however, can sell for thousands if sealed, and hundreds if unsealed in good condition. The heavy hitters?

A sealed Earthbound Super Nintendo game could go for over $2,000. An unsealed version can go for $200. A sealed 1985 NES Wrecking Crew game has a potential price tag of over $5,000. An unsealed version could sell for $175. The moral of the story is to make sure you’re not donating or trashing a coveted game.

Next: These brightly-colored beauties are worth far more now.

4. Depression-era glassware

Green Depression glass bowls, back lit, shot from above to form an abstract pattern.

The colorful glassware is worth quite a bit now. | Judith Tacelli/iStock/Getty Images

Between 1920 and 1940, Depression glassware was heavily produced and inexpensively sold. For such dark times during the Great Depression, this glassware brightened homes. The color choices varied from amber to pink, blue to green and could be found in households across the country. Nowadays, the glassware is considered a collectible — particularly the pink, cobalt blue, and green.

A cobalt blue pitcher was priced at $450 in 2015 and a pink-colored candy dish for $75.

Next: Legends never die.

5. Signed sports memorabilia

Signed baseball

Anything signed by Babe Ruth is worth a fortune. | Spencer Platt/Getty Images

The general rule of thumb when it comes to sports memorabilia is the older it is the more it is worth. It comes as no surprise that anything that Babe Ruth touched is worth its weight in gold, but that sort of stuff is extremely rare. More realistically, autographed or homerun balls will fetch a lot of money.

Mark McGuire’s 70th homerun ball was auctioned off for over $3 million. Barry Bond’s 756th homerun ball auctioned for $752,467. Get to catching!

Next: This standard still remains valuable.

6. Silver and gold

Rings high resolution 3D image

Time to cash in on that jewelry. | Aeya/iStock/Getty Images

If you have received old jewelry from family or friends, but aren’t wearing it, it could be time to cash it in! You may not think that your grandmother’s old gold chain necklace is worth much, but you could be surprised once you start adding up weight.

Like all precious metals, the price of gold and silver will fluctuate. Whether you have just grams or an ounce, check the prices and sell when it is high.

Next: Paddle faster! I hear banjo music.

7. Antique string instruments

Vintage Guitars

Vintage guitars are worth thousands. | YURI GRIPAS/AFP/Getty Images

Do you come from a musical family? If you do, then the chance of having heirloom instruments is reasonably high. The crappy play guitar you received as a child that’s scribbled with marker is not going to be worth very much. But an antique Fender or Gibson is a different story altogether.

A 1953 Fender Telecaster guitar was valued in 2002 to be worth anywhere between $8,000-$10,000, and a 1954 Gibson ES-175 guitar with its case was valued at $5,500 in 2014.

Next: These native beauties are works of art. 

8. Native American turquoise jewelry

Collection of Native American Turquoise and Silver Jewelry.

The more intricate the piece the more it will sell for. | digitalfarmer/iStock/Getty Images

The more detailed a piece of Native American turquoise jewelry, the more it is likely to be worth. In particular, needlepoint turquoise work is considered to be some of the most valuable. The thin slivers of turquoise require a great deal of skill and patience to create, and the sheer beauty of the jewelry speaks volumes to the Native American’s attention to detail. If you are lucky enough to have heirloomed Native American turquoise in your family, but aren’t up for keeping it, you can certainly find a collector.

A rare vintage Zuni Navajo needlepoint bracelet will go for hundreds, if not more. A vintage Zuni squash blossom necklace will go for thousands.

Next: Now for the worthless items

Worthless household items

1. Precious Moments figurines

precious moments figurine

These were the go-to gift when people didn’t know what else to get. | Precious Moments

Precious Moments figurines hit the market in the late ’70s, and people loved them. Created by Samuel Becker, the religiously-based figurines were in homes all over the country. The thing about Precious Moments is that the figurines are still in production, so the value of one made in the 1980s isn’t that high. If you are looking to make more than what you paid for a Precious Moments figurine, you’d be hard-pressed to find a buyer. Don’t get me wrong, that buyer may exist, but the odds of the two of you crossing paths is slim.

The going rate for the figurines is between $10 and $30.

Next: You’ve lost your marbles if you think these are valuable. 

2. Marbles

Marbles

Most marbles have little value. | Peter Macdiarmid/Getty Images

The vast majority of marbles have very little value. If you hop on Amazon you can purchase a set of 160 for $6.99. That being said, there are some marbles that are considered valuable, but the odds of it being in your collection are slim. Run-of-the-mill marbles do not have much value.

You can purchase a lot of 800 for around $50 on eBay, which averages to the same price for brand new ones.

Next: This Mattel classic is not worth much. 

3. Hot Wheels

Hot wheels cars

There are so many on the market. | awiekupo/iStock/Getty Images

Hot Wheels are awesome. Since 1968, Hot Wheels have been the cool toy of boys and girls all over the place. And what’s even cooler? Kids still love these miniature cars and trucks. These toys are in the Toy Hall of Fame. However, if you are wanting to sell your old Hot Wheels, you may be a little disappointed to learn they won’t worth very much. Mattel has produced millions of these things, and they continue to do so.

Currently, used Hot Wheels will only earn a few bucks on Ebay.

Next: This sports memorabilia will not fatten your wallet.

4. Baseball pennants

Baseball penant

Unless they’re signed they won’t be worth much. | Doug Pensinger/Getty Images

Baseball pennants have been around for decades on decades. Unless the pennant you have at home are signed by a major league baseball player, its unlikely that you’ll be stashing away any cash from selling it. On average, a brand new pennant today will cost less than $10. Vintage pennants can sell for much less than that.

On eBay, you would be lucky to fetch $5 to $10.

Next: This cute fad didn’t last. 

5. Ty Beanie Babies

This used to be the “it” thing to invest in. | JOYCE NALTCHAYAN/AFP/Getty Images

My parents refused to buy me Beanie Babies. If I wanted them, I had to spend my allowance on them. Some of my friends seemed to have hundreds. Like so much from the ’90s, the fad faded away and kids across the nation abandoned their posse.

When it comes to selling your Beanie Babies, you’re looking to make around $5.

Next: These detailed toys do not have a high resale value.

6. Hess trucks

1965 Hess Tanker Trailer

1965 Hess Tanker Trailer | Hess

These trucks are really cool, and have come a long way since 1964. Nowadays, Hess trucks seem to have more bells and whistles than my Volkswagen. Some collectors of the trucks do exist, but by and large, the trucks do not have a big resale value. When you consider Hess still produces these trucks on a large scale, it’s understandable that the vintage versions have lost some of their steam.

A vintage Hess truck will usually sell for the same cost of a brand new one.

Next: This must-have toy from the 1980s isn’t worth much today.

7. Cabbage Patch Kids

Cabbage patch kids doll

These dolls aren’t worth much today. | Spencer Platt/Getty Images

Back in the 80s, Cabbage Patch Kids were all the rage. The dolls earned around $2 billion in sales. A little-known secret, the doll design was actually stolen from the original creator and artist named Martha Nelson Thomas. Moving along, those wild-haired, round-faced dolls are not worth very much today.

On eBay, you would be lucky to sell a doll for $10.

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