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Vintage Household items that People Are Paying Thousands For

By: Lauren Wurth | Last updated: Jul 25, 2021

With the stratospheric rise of online shopping coupled with nearly unfettered access to just about anything you can imagine at prices that are often a matter of negotiation, people are indulging in nostalgia more than ever.

Now before you roll your eyes and wonder what all the spending is all about, we invite you to have a look at these X# items. I just one of them doesn’t catch your interest, well, you’re a strong person indeed.

1. Game Boys: Old-School Fun in the Palm of Your Hand

They are the original handheld video game system. Well, actually there were others, like Red Light Football, but those were absolutely terrible. The original Game Boy is as nostalgic as it is cool, and you’re going to want to climb into the back of your car and pretend you’re a kid on a road trip again, or hide beneath your blankets with a flashlight and rock Metroid all night!

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These are a bit hard to find, but if you have one, you’ll be sure to fetch a good price for it.

2. Antique Cookie Jars: Don’t Get Caught With Your Hand in One

Let’s face it, they don’t make ‘em like these anymore. Antique cookie jars are as fun to look at and to have around as they are to raid. They are solid, heavy, and make a lovely resonant sound when you open them.

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Made from characters in the style of 1930s animation, you’ll be hitting up Microsoft for a copy of the instant retro cartoon classic, Cup Heads. If you’ve got one of these in pristine condition, you’ve got pure gold on your hands.

3. Vintage Perfume Bottles: Elegant Blasts from the Past

Nothing says class like a vintage, antique perfume bottle. You can still buy fine perfume in a nice bottle, but there’s something about the craftsmanship and the styling of these older models.

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They aren’t hard to find, because people love them so much. But they can be a bit pricey, and if you’re lucky there might still be a hint of the old magic inside. Perfume bottle collectors will pay a pretty penny for these.

4. VHS Tapes: So Much Nostalgia, So Little Time

You don’t get the look and feel of a movie case like the old foam padded VHS tapes, especially the ones with Disney films on them. Just having a few of these around for decoration is great. But if you can get your old VCR running, you’ll enjoy all the weird sensations of running a film strip in front of a projector light.

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Almost every family home has got a few old VHS takes lurking in them. Have a look around, you never know what old treasures you’ll find.

5. Vintage Christmas Ornaments: Enough Cheer for the Whole Year

Remember those weird candies that your grandma always had in a tin on her coffee table, especially around the holidays? Well, that’s kind of what old and vintage Christmas ornaments look like all mixed up in a big box together.

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In those days they used colors and textures that manufacturers would never use now. There’s just something wholesome about them.

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6. Vintage School Lunch Boxes: Got any Twinkies in There?

My favorite old school lunch box had an image from the Empire Strikes Back of snow troopers mounting a large laser gun in an ice cave. It was a rare and wonderful oddball, as were all the best old metal kid’s lunch boxes from the 1970s and 80s.

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Today they make them out of plastic because one teacher had one dropped on her toe and called her congressperson. These things are pure gold.

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7. Pokemon Cards: You are Obligated to Capture Them All

Believe it or not, Pokemon has been around for at least 30 years, and that’s just in the United States. Today, some of those old Pokemon cards are worth a bundle!

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Forget the weird apps that have you walking into the street with your head down. Get your hands on some of these vintage Pokemon cards and you’re on your way to payday.

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8. Vintage Ad Signs: Care to Open a Retro Diner?

The most recent pop culture reference to these old gems is probably virtual home decor in the popular Fallout games series. But these old tin signs just ooze charm. They are a throwback to a time when most advertising was still done by shop owners and ma and pop management teams.

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They are unique, and look good no matter where you put them! Possibly the biggest collectors of these are the owners of stylish diners and auto garages.

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9. Gen 1 iPod: Why Wait in Line When You Can go Back in Time?

The original iPad 1 looks something like the old, but venerable Mac Plus. It seems strangely old. But back in the day, you could do a surprising amount of things with a button and a wheel.

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Actually, there are five or so buttons, but it really has a sort of 2001 A Space Odyssey aesthetic to it. If you can find one that works, it’ll fetch a handsome price.

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10. Old CDs: Hang One from Your Mirror

They were just like old vinyl records but smaller, shinier, and doomed to obsolescence much sooner. But in the early 90s when these things were new, there was nothing more alluring than a shelf full of whatever catches your fancy rendered in ones and zeros.

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They really did take up very little space, but MP3s take up none, soooo they’re history. Valuable history.

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11. Boy Scout Badges: Some Young Man Worked Hard for These

Not many people remember the Boy Scouts, not directly at least. But those who do have a special, burning passion for these classic, coveted patches. Earning these was literally a badge of honor, and not easy for a kid to earn.

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So it stands to reason that people would be willing to pay top dollar for them now. It’s you’ve got some, you’re sitting on gold.

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12. Old Coins: Because it’s Money, Old Money

If you’ve ever taken a close look at a foreign coin, you’ll have noticed the appeal of the other inherent in them. With old coins, it’s the same appeal but with the allure of time added into the mix. All very old coins are interesting to see and think about. But some of them are extremely valuable as well.

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If you find anything rendered in round metal with archaic Latin characters on them, you’ve really got something.

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13. Weather Vanes: Old Timey Tech That’s Useful & Handsome

In bygone times when people lived off the land and knew the signs of the weather intimately, the position of a weather vane could be extremely useful. Today, they’re still useful, especially if you’re hunting, golfing, or sailing by dead reckoning.

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But they still have loads of charm and are in high demand, largely from collectors who grew up on a farm where there was always a weather vane pointing due whatever.

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14. Pyrex: There’s Just Something About Those Designs

Pyrex food containers are the great grand daddy of Tupper ware. They are microwave safe and do a bang up job keeping your food fresh. Better still, they have striking retro designs and are heavily sought after by collectors – and by kitchen captains who know what’s good.

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If you have some, for goodness sake, keep it! Or sell it for a bundle.

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15. Costume Jewelry: You May Not Be Cleopatra, But She Ain’t You Either

It’s cheap, it’s gaudy, and it looks great- too great. In fact, most costume jewelry could pass for real jewelry if it wasn’t so over the top… but it is. People know it’s not real, but it’s getting harder to find the stuff that people love the most- the fancy stuff.

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If you’ve got some, you can be sure you’re not the only one- and someone’s sure to want to take it off your hands.

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16. Tiffany Lamps: Stained Glass Style Like You'll Never See Again

It’s sad that these are not being made anymore- at least not by anyone who will sell them to you for a reasonable price. But that’s why people are willing to pay out the snoot for a good old Tiffany lamp in good condition. Let’s face it, these things are downright beautiful.

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From the wood work to the stained glass designs, they are just a joy to have around, and there are collectors out there with deep pockets who are ready to part with a load of cold hard cash to get one.

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17. China Sets: Your Grandma Guarded Hers With Her Life

It’s delicate, beautiful, and the designs are works of art. But don’t let their daintiness fool you, real China dishware is a joy to use, and it will last a veritable eternity if taken proper care of. In fact, that was their purpose, to be passed from generation to generation remaining in tip top condition for many decades.

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That’s why, if you’ve got a really old set, you might be able to pay a few month’s rent with it. Just don’t tell Grandma.

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18. Vintage Stamps: It's History, It’s Currency, It’s Art

In a more honest world, these things are as good as cash. The U.S. Postal Service has had a long tradition of commemorating historical events, people, and places on the face of stamps.

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That’s just part of the reason they are so valuable, their historicity. But these things are art in their own right. Collectors create mini art galleries from them and are willing to pay a pretty penny for them.

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19. Vintage Rocking Chairs: Elegant, Relaxing, Vintage

There’s nothing quite as wholesome as an old-timey wooden rocking chair standing in the middle of a large, creaky, wooden floor. Surviving antiques show their age as well as their solid construction.

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The Amish still make chairs like these because they understand the value of them. But you can still find them online. If you happen to have one in your attic, count yourself lucky.

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20. Boom Boxes: Don’t Show up on Electric Avenue Without One

Today, speaker and battery technology is so advanced that a single speaker the size of your hand can crank out the volumes that these could do with ten pounds of batteries and twice as much hardware.

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But there was something audacious about holding one of these on your shoulder and blasting tunes turned all the way up to 11. In fact, many moneyed collectors would be willing to hand over good money if you happen to find one in your attic.

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21. Antique Trunks: Mystery, in a Box

Anyone with a sense of mystery and an attraction to things gone by will appreciate the beauty and utility of an antique trunk. The cheapest known examples cost at least $500 to $700 on the open market.

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Some of the rarest and most ornate examples go for several thousand. There’s just something about the “what’s inside” feeling you get looking at these- even if you know full well what’s in it.

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22. Vintage Typewriters: Mechanical Wonders From the Past

These things used to exude executive power back in the days when the industrial revolution was just getting fired up. There’s something special about the sound of the keys and the sharp clang of the return that just makes these things sing.

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If you find an old model like this one with the lacquered powder coated housing, you’ve really got something special.

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23. Signed Yearbooks: Whose Will You Find?

Maybe it’s the pandemic or maybe it’s something to do with bygone youth- but people are buying up old yearbooks like gangbusters.

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I guess they don’t do things like this for high school kids these days. But people are very attracted to them. Takes all kinds.

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24. Vintage Comics: Even The Flash Looked Cooler Back Then

Vintage comic books have always been highly sought after by collectors and the nostalgic. However, in today’s world, people rightly wonder if such things will ever be put into print again.

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It would be a sad thing if another image of Superman never rolled off a press, except for the fact that it would drive up the value of any such existing items. If you’ve still got an old comics collection, you might want to look into it.

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25. Original Star Wars Toys: Still More Imaginative Than GI Joe

When I was a kid we would have epic battles between the forces of GI Joe and those of Star Wars. Sadly, many of our action figures did not, in fact, survive these battles, and many a tiny plastic body part are likely buried beneath multiple layers of soil and crab grass in the back yard of the old family home.

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Needless to say, many ranking nerds like myself will pay top dollar to have these little guys back in their lives.

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26. American Girl Dolls: Adorable, Classic, Valuable

Adorning the high shelves over doorways of little girl’s bedrooms across the country, these little works of art have stood proud.

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They have been a popular collector’s item for decades, but today they are rarer than ever and are more hotly pursued than ever before. The famous Samantha doll went for more than $4,000 on eBay.

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27. Air Jordans: They Won’t Make You Play Like Jordan, Much

Back in the early 90s, kids would do just about anything to lay hands on a pair of Air Jordans. Today, that passion still lives in the hearts of those who remember- and who survive.

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If you have an original pair of Air Jordans in good condition, you might get as much as $20,000 for it.

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28. Vintage Cartridge Video Games: Those Ducks Won’t Know What Hit ‘Em

Do you remember the days when, if your video game was malfunctioning, you would rip it out of the machine, blow on the contacts, and slam it back in with the authority of a ferocious biker kicking his kickstand up? Those days may be gone, but the artifacts can still be found.

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If you have an old Nintendo system in working condition, you can easily ask as much as $1,000 for it. But if you ask me it’s worth a heck of a lot more than that.

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29. Old Cell Phones: Remember the Flip Phone?

There something about the flick of a flip phone that feels smooth. More importantly, the end of the flip phone era was the end of being able to hang up on someone with authority. If you would like to hang up on someone and still feel good about yourself, you might be a flip phone collector in the making.

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If you’ve got one laying around, you might be able to get a couple of hundred bucks for it. But wouldn’t you rather get it running and get back to hanging up on those deserving such treatment?

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30. Antique Guitars: They Rock, so Hard

Old guitars, the ones that were made with rock and roll love, are still running strong. In fact, collectors believe the old electric guitars have the best sound. Of course, they might be suffering from hearing loss- but they are willing to pay good money for them.

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Today, classic Fenders and Gibsons are going for anywhere between $5,000 and $10,000. It’s all part of my rock and roll fantasy.

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31. Happy Meal Toys: Weird, Wonderful, Old

Back in the day, you wanted them, you needed them… and when you got them home, you hated them, and you destroyed them. But now, with nostalgia figuring into the equation, people are paying out the wazoo for the original denizens of the Happy Meal box.

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These most cheaply made of all the world’s toys are now going for as much as $500 in some cases.

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32. Flip Clock Radios: Like a Roll-A-Dex for Time

Remember these old clocks that were so cool that one just had to be in the opening sequence of every film made in the mid-80s? There’s a good reason for that. They were mechanically interesting.

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They made a satisfying clicking sound, and they were pretty accurate. Today, computerized lights are cheap and simple- but boring. Old flip clocks have been known to sell recently for as much as $300.

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33. Old Band T-Shirts: Because the Shirt Remains the Same

Got an old t-shirt of your favorite rock band on it? You might be sitting in a gold mine as collectors are hungry like the wolf for these throwbacks to a more sincere time in pop culture history.

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If you’ve got a Beatles T in good condition, you might get lucky as did one seller when he took $20,000 for a shirt with the album cover of the Magical Mystery Tour on it.

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