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Is It Junk? Or Is It A Chunk Of Cash?

Updated on August 18, 2014

Clean up could mean you can really clean up!

What's in your attic? What's it worth?
What's in your attic? What's it worth? | Source
It can't make a pot of tea now, but will my cup "runneth over"?
It can't make a pot of tea now, but will my cup "runneth over"? | Source
"Knock Off"?  Or is it a collectible?  In either case it still lets you talk with someone, even if they are on a cell phone!
"Knock Off"? Or is it a collectible? In either case it still lets you talk with someone, even if they are on a cell phone! | Source

Be careful what you throw away!

The kids grew up and you needed their room for a guest room, so you threw away some of their odds and ends. But, what did you really throw away? And, if you made a mistake, how do you avoid making any more?

If it was that first issue of "Sports Illustrated" or "Playboy." or even that toy Hot Wheekl(c) VW car they sold in 1966 which your son get in a trade for something, you just might have thrown out some equivalents of a brand new, real automobile! Most folks know that old comic books, and sports trading cards have avid collectors, along with stamps and coins, even old envelopes, and some period letters.

That leaking teapot your grandmother used to keep on display by the fireplace, even though you were much too young to have ever seen her use it, turns out to have been made by a blacksmith in Connecticut well before even your grandmother was born. But who would have known that, and besides you can see the small hole in the bottom!

Short of going to a live session of the Antique Roadshow the PBS televises, what recourse do you have? There are professional appraisal services online for a fee, some very good and reasonable. Local antique dealers can sometimes be helpful, but remember how they make their living. There are magazines devoted to collectibles, and some libraries have copies and can also tell you how to access others via computer.

Several local and regional shows are devoted to current collectibles. One prominent host-expert for more than 30 years has been Tony Hyman whose books have included several editions of his book on "Hyman's Trash or Treasure."

What are some other items to keep in mind?

That odd teapot is just one of a whole variety of antique cookware that can bring lots of dollars.

Each year when you are packing up the Christmas decorations for another year, if you are hard pressed going into the new year, there are collectors looking for many of the older decorations, even the really old artificial trees that were made of aluminum and feathers.

Did you give up smoking, but the odd cigarette lighters or old tobacco pipes are still waiting to be thrown away? Some lighters, and some pipes, are collector's items these days. Often lighters had engravings for a memorable event or military unit. Some pipes made from briar, or more expensive materials, are heavily sought after.

Speaking of military items, war souvenirs, including items from the war in Vietnam, have lots of collectors worldwide, in addition there are museums still adding to their collections (but pledged to staying within their budgets, while many collectors are not so limited in what they can afford to pay.)

Less commonly recognized collectibles you will find on the web, in magazines, and mentioned in books, are matchbook covers, PEZ(c) candy dispensers, recordings on 45, 33, and 78 rpm records, vintage bicycles, old "five and dime" costume jewelry, some clothing items, old books (some were private printings,) handcrafted items (such as the teapot) including glassware, pottery, old radios and electronic items, etc.

The list goes on, and on, so what do you have and what is it worth? Find out before you are sorry, and then continue making room for new valuables.

(c) 2011 Demas W. Jasper All rights reserved.

Selling beats just throwing it away!

Did you sell something that was just collecting dust in 2011?

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    • Perspycacious profile image

      Demas W Jasper 5 years ago from Today's America and The World Beyond

      Oh the gems which lie hidden away in all our old Hubs, too! Thanks for resurrecting this one. Reading it just might give someone that much needed vacation money!

    • TIMETRAVELER2 profile image

      Sondra Rochelle 5 years ago from USA

      One can always go online with Kovels to look up values or browse antique shops to see what they're asking for objects. It's fun to do, and you're right, people sometimes throw out things that have a lot of value! Loved this one...voted up and interesting.

    • Perspycacious profile image

      Demas W Jasper 5 years ago from Today's America and The World Beyond

      Spring cleaning might see some "Antique Roadshow" quality items surface around your place, or your grandparents'. Don't make that drive to the city dump until you are sure you've looked things over twice to be sure what's "naughty" and what's "nice". You could perhaps have the funds right there for that much needed summer vacation!

    • Perspycacious profile image

      Demas W Jasper 6 years ago from Today's America and The World Beyond

      A safe deposit box is a better idea for anything that really needs to be hidden from the plethora of potential thieves, including but not limited to blank extra checks, passports, car title, stocks and bonds, expensive jewelry worn only on special occasions. Less valuable items that are still worth hiding can be "squirreled away" in commercially available "hidden compartments" which can look like books, canned goods, etc. Having a regular but protective hiding place saves the inevitable confusion of "where was it I hid that darn thing!?"

    • tammyswallow profile image

      Tammy 6 years ago from North Carolina

      Hi Mr. P,

      I did a really dumb thing this year. I had a questionable house guest that my kids had over. I always kept two diamond rings on my nightstand from previous engagements.. etc.. I figured I would hide the rings really well from my company so I put them in a sock in my drawer. A few months later I forgot all about them being in there. I emptied my chests and gave bags of stuff to Goodwill. It took me about two weeks to remember they were in the socks. I will only use a jewelry box now. Someone at Goodwill got some serious goodwill! I really liked your hub.

    • Victoria Lynn profile image

      Victoria Lynn 6 years ago from Arkansas, USA

      Awesome! I have so many collectibles. I wonder if any are worth a decent amount of money. I'd be willling to part with some if they're worth something. Thanks for the info!

    • Perspycacious profile image

      Demas W Jasper 6 years ago from Today's America and The World Beyond

      Score one for MsDora (and offspring)!

    • MsDora profile image

      Dora Weithers 6 years ago from The Caribbean

      Good advice. A few months ago I discovered an item that someone gave to one of my children years ago. The child never showed any interest; it is worth $150.00--enough to buy something else that he'd be interested in.

    • profile image

      geffreytodd 6 years ago

      Is it Junk?

      Got a Hifi record player, over 50 years old and still works. Wood needs the care of a professional restore. Missing one tube that is replaced temporarily with six transistors that are over 30 years old. 20" woofer. Original Tweeter and mid-range. That thing well knock pictures off the wall.

      The man that put the transistors in 30 yrs ago offered $3000.00 dollars for it. Wonder what it would be worth today(?).

    • profile image

      grmike 6 years ago from Halifax

      As long as you're able to discern what's trash then this is useful but remember this can also happen when people become obsessed

    • rebeccamealey profile image

      Rebecca Mealey 6 years ago from Northeastern Georgia, USA

      A good trip down memory lane and a wake up call to watch what we throw away. Good job! voted up and awesome.