The Habitat
Share to PinterestVintage Items You Should Never Throw Away
Share to PinterestVintage Items You Should Never Throw Away

If you’re feeling the urge to get rid of stuff, or if you've got an estate to sort through, you're going to want to keep this list handy. You could be sitting on a treasure trove of vintage items that are actually worth some serious cash.

Collectors seeking out specific, highly coveted toys, books, and household items will pay a pretty penny for things you’ve probably forgotten you had packed away.


Happy Meal toys

Share to PinterestMcDonalds Happy Meal toys

It’s a bit painful to think about how many Happy Meal toys people have tossed away over the years. And, chances are, some were worth much more than they paid for those boxed kids’ meals. Back in the late 1990s, McDonald’s used the Ty Beanie Baby and other toys to successfully sell more Happy Meals.

Adults and children alike braved long lines to order them, and if you still own them, collectors will enthusiastically buy them from you. Furby mini-figures and Inspector Gadget toys were also popular Happy Meal prizes that are worth some green.


Disney VHS tapes

Long before the days of streaming videos and DVD movies, the VHS tape was the king of household entertainment. Millions of fans purchased whole libraries of beloved Disney movies and collectors will happily pay you to take them off your hands. Most sell for between $5 and $25, but others go for much more.

Copies of Beauty and the Beast tend to have a higher value. While you probably won’t get rich selling off your Disney VHS tapes, you can still earn some cash if you’re willing to part with your favorite childhood flicks that you probably can't even play anymore.


Harry Potter books

First edition books have always been collectible, but if you’re lucky enough to have a hardcover, British version of the Harry Potter books lying around, you could earn $55,000. The American first editions sell for much less — around $6500 — but most people wouldn’t turn that down, even if the books are a major connection to their childhood.


China sets

It may seem a bit out of fashion and a waste of money to have an expensive set of dishes that only see the light of day during special occasions. The fact is, vintage china sets can sell for thousands of dollars.

Check the bottom of ceramic china dinnerware for hallmarks or monograms to find out who made it. Hard-to-find pieces from Lennox or Welmar can fetch a nice price. But it's the dinnerware and serving dishes from 17th and 18th century Europe — like those created by Meissen, Spode, Limoges, and Wedgwood — that are especially valuable.



Lots of people collect vintage Pyrex cookware and serving pieces, and some will pay a few hundred dollars to get them. The older, more coveted Pyrex dishes feature bright colors and unique designs on the sides. A matching set of stackable, rectangular-shaped “fridgies” with lids can earn you up to $100 or more on eBay. Rarer promotional or special edition pieces, like those decorated with the gold starburst pattern, carry a much higher price tag, from a few hundred dollars to more than $1000.


Cookie jars

Having a vintage cookie jar in your possession could pay off. The most sought-after pieces feature cartoons or recognizable characters, like Popeye or Howdy Doody, and they can sell for a few hundred dollars. But you could hit the jackpot if you happen to have a rare piece, like the Abingdon Pottery Witch cookie jar. Kovels Price Guide lists it at $1600.


Apple iPod

Share to PinterestUpright view of a 1st generation iPod sitting on top of a wooden table with the main display turned on

If you have a first-generation iPod MP3 player from 2001 sitting in a drawer, and you’re willing to part with it, you could add some dollars to your bank account. The reason they’re so valuable is that Steve Jobs himself built some of them.

While some collectors will dish out $1000 for one of these original versions, iPods in their original packaging could earn even more. Some collectors are willing to pay several thousand dollars for never-opened, first, second, or third-gen editions.


Cabbage Patch dolls

These dolls became a national phenomenon in the 1980s and can be worth quite a bit if they’re in good condition. Most sell for between $10 and $30, with some “Baldies” going for $100. The most valuable Cabbage Patch dolls are the Original Coleco CPK dolls that came out in 1983 and 1984, the Cabbage Patch Twins, the Preemies, 1983’s dark-skinned Cabbage Patch dolls, and those manufactured overseas in 1984. Dolls that are in their original box are worth much more.


Perfume bottles

Share to PinterestVintage, colorful, elegant perfume bottles
Toli / Getty Images

The market for intricately crafted perfume bottles has been going strong for decades. Most collectors say the leading factor in their value is their rarity. Famous perfumeries sometimes release limited editions of their scents in exquisitely crafted bottles, and these are especially valuable. The better their condition or the more famous the glassmaker, the more they’re worth. Original packaging also adds to their value.

Many antique versions were created using special glass in unique colors with engravings and other embellishments, including 14K gold mounts or silver stoppers. While super-rare bottles need appraisals to determine their worth, others can earn you up to $200.


My Little Pony

If we’ve learned anything about collectors, there’s no question that they hold a special place in their heart for toys from their childhood — they’ll pay a lot for them. The highly prized Princess Rapunzel was only available through mail order by collecting and sending in proofs of purchase along with $8.95.

One of these golden-haired, pink ponies with pale blue eyes sold for $1500 on eBay. Others sell for between $25 and $50, except for rarer versions like Yum Yum Pegasus Pony, Moon Jumper, and Princess Pristina, which sell for around $500.


Crayola crayons

Share to PinterestMulticolored crayons on a white background

It may be surprising that a vintage box of crayons can sell for up to $500. Of the 400 colors released by Crayola since 1903, the rarest is the C-Rex, an orange/red color developed in 2003 specifically as a giveaway in boxes of Kraft Macaroni and Cheese. Other rare colors include Light Blue, created in 1910, and the Mustard Yellow crayon added to the box between 1941 and 1945.

If you don't have any old ones, take heart. The company regularly retires colors and replaces them, boosting the retired colors to collector status, so your current box could be worth something someday.



Valuable vintage editions may be hiding within those stacks of magazines sitting around your grandparents’ house. Copies published before the 1950s are especially collectible and could be worth a few hundred dollars if they’re in great condition.

The first edition of Playboy, which featured Marilyn Monroe on the cover, was estimated with a value of $635,000. Magazines that cross over with other collections could be more valuable, such as sci-fi magazines featuring first-appearance interviews with respected, fan-favorite authors like Frank Herbert and Phillip K. Dick.


Beanie Babies

Not all, but some, Ty Beanie Babies are super collectible. These cute little stuffed toys were all the rage in the 1990s. Parents and toy collectors alike snatched them up, hoping they’d one day be worth tons of money. And the rarer versions were, until 1999 when the market crashed.

Yet, there’s still a market for these cuddly stuffies, some of which sell for a few hundred dollars. The top three most sought-after Beanie Babies are Valentina, the fuchsia-colored bear, Whisper, the fawn, and Patti, the magenta platypus.



The first licensed character that appeared on a lunchbox was, unsurprisingly, Mickey Mouse as Steamboat Willie in 1935 and valued at around $2000 in recent years. The Superman lunch box released in 1954 has been one of the most coveted, earning more than $10,000 for an owner who sold one.

Lunch boxes featuring the Beatles, the Jetsons, Star Trek, and the Lone Ranger have been sold for $1000 or more.


American Girl dolls

The American Girl dolls may not be cheap, but they’re super popular. If you’re lucky enough to have any of the original versions released in 1986, you could cash in. A Samantha doll can go for as much as $7000, yet one autographed by her creator, Pleasant Rowland, sold for $12,000 at an auction. Pristine Molly dolls are worth up to $5000 and Kirstens can go as high as $2000.


Polaroid cameras

A vintage Polaroid camera can earn you between $100 and $500. If you have its original carrying case and film, you’re more likely to fetch a price in that upper range. The rarest version is the Polaroid 185 Land Camera, for which some collectors will pay up to $1000 if it’s in mint condition.



Share to PinterestCropped image of woman playing record at home
Halfdark / Getty Images

The returning popularity of vinyl records has also brought attention to vintage turntables, and people are willing to dish out some serious green for them. In the 1970s, premium turntables became a status symbol for music aficionados around the world.

In recent years, the sound of a vinyl record on a quality turntable has once again attracted discophiles and casual music listeners alike. If you have a vintage turntable at your disposal, you could make a couple of hundred bucks or more.



Share to PinterestFurby 1998 Leopard With Green Eyes Eating A Lollipop

Furbys were the first domestically-aimed robots to be sold to the public. They not only reacted to touch but could also learn, translating words from their own language into English. If you happen to have one of the early versions of the toy or a limited edition in its original packaging, such as the Kid Cuisine Furby, the Pink Crystal Furby Baby, or the Rusty Dots Furby, collectors might be willing to pay up to $300 to take it off your hands.


Polly Pockets

Mattel hit the jackpot when they came up with the idea for this range of tiny companion dolls and their accessories. You can cash in, too, if you have specific Polly Pocket sets. Fairy Light Wonderland sets have sold for $450 on eBay, while a birthday-themed set went for just under $300.

Even compact playsets have a fan base who will pay between $20 and $60 just to add them to their collections.


Vintage band t-shirts

For decades, fans have been buying vintage band t-shirts and proudly wearing them to show off their support for their favorite musical groups. Some, however, packed them away to keep them safe and in mint condition, and people will pay thousands of dollars to get their hands on a few of these.

Limited run promotional t-shirts are a premium find, along with those illustrating a specific historic tour. A Nirvana shirt from their 1993 Utero Tour sold for $7000, while a 1980s Run DMC sold for $13,000.



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