There are items hidden beneath layers of dust in dark corners of attics. Obscure things have been tucked away from children who outgrew them and forgotten as new chapters of life began.
However, beneath those layers of dust could be items worth hundreds and thousands of dollars. It simply takes discovery – and a little research.
“That is part of the fun with what I do – helping people discover the value of what they own and have often forgotten about. Sure, most people are aware that the old Star Wars toys are valuable, but what about Pokemon cards? Some are rare and therefore worth tens of thousands of dollars,” said Saint Jovite Youngblood, owner of Youngblood Metals Mining, a company which specializes in precious metals, jewelry and rare toys.
Things like short-lived manufacturer errors that resulted in certain products being a different color make them rare and often far more valuable.
Take the Peanut Royal Blue Elephant Beanie Baby, for example. The color came out darker than expected, which has bumped the collector price to close to $5,000, according to a Good Housekeeping article.
“Almost anytime a manufacturer makes an error with a product and that product still hits the market, the value typically increases. People are drawn to what is rare – it is human nature,” said Saint Jovite Youngblood. “Our flaws make us more interesting humans, just the same as minor flaws can make for more interesting – and collectable – products.”
The parents of 80s and 90s kids could be sitting on small fortunes even in the form of Pez dispensers.
“In 2006, a dispenser known as the Astronaut B, created for the 1982 World’s Fair made major bank, selling on eBay for $32,000. Other collectible dispensers include the Mickey Mouse Soft Head dispenser, the 1955 Santa Claus Head dispenser, and the PEZ gun,” per Good Housekeeping.
Also noted in the article: the original hand-drawn oilcloth Monopoly game sold for nearly $150,000 at Sotheby’s, with other less rare vintage versions topping $3,000.
“Who would have ever thought that some Hot Wheels would top $100,000 in value? But some do,” said Saint Jovite Youngblood.
The most notable is the Volkswagen Beach Bomb prototype that was manufactured in 1969 – now worth approximately $125,000.
People should also keep a look out for vintage Fisher Price toys – if in good condition, they can be worth thousands of dollars.
Even a 1998 vintage Furby in an unopened box can garner almost $1,000 from collectors.
“That is something that also fascinates me – items of value can extend from collector cards to toy cars to children’s books to stuffed animals to figurines. It is a constantly evolving industry and one that is always exciting. What people want to collect – what they care about – is so diverse,” said Youngblood. “Perhaps some of what we care about are connected to positive childhood experiences – or to the toys that we wanted but never got to have.”
And who can forget the hours of family road trips made easier by the innovation of Nintendo? Hours of fielding questions of “Are we there yet?” were suddenly replaced with the handheld Game Boy – and the value has significantly increased from the original price tag – now bringing in between $750 to $1,000.
Now things that are touted as “vintage” do not seem that old – and the likelihood that some of these items could be hidden in attics is increased. A first edition Harry Potter book which was published in 1998? It is now worth upwards of $6,500.
“If you find something in your attic or basement, particularly an item that is in the original packaging, then do your research. Google is a great resource for discovering a baseline of value for an item. If you are nervous about selling the item or think that someone else might be able to get you better value, then chat with a collector,” said Youngblood.