When something holds sentimental value, it can be easy to assume that it must also be financially lucrative. This is especially the case when it comes to items we’ve turned into a full-blown collection, or simply can’t bring ourselves to let go of.
Unfortunately, some things that seem like they must have accrued value over the years fall flat. Such is the case for antique silverware, film cameras, old playbills, and even figurines. You won’t believe how many nostalgic items are virtually worthless nowadays.
Vintage Band T-Shirts
Band t-shirts are so prevalent that the odds of you having a rare one is slim to none. More than likely, your t-shirt is only worth around $10, even if it’s from several decades ago.
On top of that, you aren’t likely to find a high-paying buyer. eBay has a vintage and rare Queen tour shirt from the ’70s that’s only listed at $9.49. Between it being in perfect condition, having significance, and finding the right buyer, getting a pretty price for this item is unlikely to pan out.
Ty Beanie Babies seemed to be everywhere at the turn of the 21st century. The toys are similar to plush animals but are slightly smaller and more steady, making them easier to display on shelves.
In the mid-90s, the value of Beanie Babies skyrocketed as collectors started selling them on eBay for well over their initial retail price. But like most fads, the prevalence of the item faded with the trend, resulting in less interest and a lower price tag.
Model Train Sets
Model train sets are one of the more beloved gifts that have elicited childhood nostalgia for generations. However, their sentimental value doesn’t always translate to a large price tag.
The most valuable sets, such as the Howard Gondola, can be worth around $1,000, but those are far and few in between. More than likely, the model train set sitting in your closet is only worth about $100. If you do collect these model train sets, be prepared to spend tons before finding a worthy one.
Many of us fondly remember trading baseball cards as a kid or at least showing them off to friends. The items are almost a time capsule of beloved baseball players, making them nostalgic to fans.
If your entire collection is filled with the most star players around, such as Ken Griffey Jr., you’re still only looking at about $100 each. Even still, stars like Mark McGwire’s card is only worth $10. Even if your collection is impressive, it’s going to take a lot of patience to see a decent profit.
Serving platters are one of those items that can be kept in the family for decades. They may have appeared at the most important of family events, and thus have sentimental value making them worth passing down.
However, when it comes to trading them in for cash, many platters aren’t worth much. It would have to be in top-notch condition and from one of a few noteworthy brands, such as Royal Albert Old Country Roses.
Though Pandora jewelry is relatively new compared to some of the more vintage items on this list, discontinued pieces made them noteworthy. Though the value of certain charms is impressive, those are very rare.
Thus, trying to sell these gems won’t likely result in much profit unless it’s one of the discontinued items that are harder to attain. Pandora necklaces and bracelets aren’t as prevalent as they were in the early 2000s, but you never know when the next trend will bring them back.
Newer Comic Books
Comic books are like cars; once you leave the store, the value depreciates. Many comic books from newer decades aren’t worth much, even if they’re kept in great condition. Just think of how much a book loses its valued once it’s become used.
On the contrary, comics that are from the 1930s, ’40s, and ’50s are often worth millions since they feature some of the biggest superheroes known today. The comic that first featured Batman, for example, sold for almost $3 million!
When you think of antiques, silverware may be one of the first things that come to mind. The prevalence is actually what makes it less valuable than you would think. Since there are so many listings on eBay, the prices aren’t as impressive as you’d hope.
The rule of supply and demand certainly applies here. Silverware’s appeal often has to do with its sentimental value, so you’re better off keeping it in the family, especially if you can’t sell it for what you think it’s worth.
Vinyl records may have seemed like the perfect thing to hold onto when CDs came out, but they didn’t ever reach the value some may have anticipated. They would have, if not for the demand staying so high.
Thanks to the “vinyl revival” of the 2010s, many households have record players in them today. This lead to companies like Sony Entertainment returning to vinyl production, meaning there’s a massive amount of vinyl records so they aren’t worth much.
Though Pez isn’t the most popular candy out there these days, the dispensers are what make them a timeless treasure. The plastic tubes feature cartoon character heads that collectors love to gather in droves.
If you’re a big Pez fan, you may be discouraged to hear that each dispenser is typically only worth about a dollar or two. Some are worth more, like the $9 Elvis Presley edition, but you’d need quite a large collection for it to be worth your while.
Unless your stamp is incredibly rare, like the one shown above, it’s unlikely to get you much. This one is from the year 1855 and is worth around $40,000. But most stamps will hardly make a dent in your wallet.
The key is rarity. Since stamps are mass-produced, trying to find one that isn’t is like trying to find a needle in a haystack. Stamps that were significant may be worth something, so do your research before setting your expectations.
Porcelain dolls are one of the more recognizable collector’s items. When you think of vintage toys, these dolls are likely to be one of the first items that come to mind. Plus, there’s something haunting about the toy, especially when collectors have a room full of them in the house.
Despite their fame, these dolls are priced at around the same price as any other doll, about $10. A few rare editions may be worth more, but odds aren’t in the collector’s favor.
Millennials may remember collecting Pogs as a young child as they were popular in the ’90s. The pieces were kind of like buttons in that the round items featured unique images.
The images were so interesting that some people didn’t even realize that the coin-like pieces were part of a game. However, they fell off the radar and are only worth about $1 each these days. Even if you have a huge collection, few people are looking to buy these.
Modern Star Wars Toys
As cute as baby Yoda is, the toy isn’t likely to sell for much, even decades into the future, because of how mass-produced the item is. The same can be said for just about any Star Wars toy nowadays.
On the other hand, those from the ’70s that were not in such high demand back in the day can be worth tons. For instance, the “Joe Camel” figurine could go for thousands to a Star Wars enthusiast.
Royal Family Memorabilia
Considering how famous the British royal family is around the world, it may be surprising to hear that their memorabilia isn’t worth much. At the same time, few fans of the family are so interested that they want a cabinet-full of items with the members’ faces on them.
That may explain why such items– from mugs to buttons to dolls– aren’t valued very high. Plus, the items are mass-produced, so they aren’t exactly rare.
Though film cameras are nostalgic, they aren’t realistic for many and therefore don’t have enough demand to drive up the price. Nowadays, working with digital cameras or smartphones is much less expensive and realistic for many.
When someone is after a film camera, it’s often for the parts, according to Daniel Kalter of Lincoln Square Pawnbrokers. To top it off, the film is typically pricier than the camera itself, which Daniel asserts is worth practically nothing.
Barbie dolls are one of the most popular toys, and they have been for decades. That’s precisely why they aren’t worth much. They have been mass-produced for so long that even if your doll is from years ago, it isn’t likely worth much.
The Barbies that are worth a ton are the originals from 1959. These can be worth tens of thousands of dollars because they’re from a time when the doll wasn’t a major cultural icon yet.
Franklin Mint Collectibles
Franklin Mint dolls are sometimes worth thousands, such as this 2010 Kate Middleton rendition that sold for $7,500 at an auction. However, this is the exception, not the rule.
Though Franklin Mint advertises their dolls as being worthwhile to collectors, many of these items are only worth $20-$50. Nevertheless, eager sellers will sometimes list their items at a couple of hundred dollars, despite it being worth much less. When it comes to these collectibles, it’s worth doing some digging before buying or selling.
Precious Moments came out in the late ’70s and have been accumulating on people’s mantels ever since. The adorable figurines are modeled after Timmy the angel, but they now include a variety of Disney characters and event themes.
Since these figurines have been so popular for such a long time, there are likely thousands of your pieces out there, leaving the value low. Plus, they cost around $100 to buy new, so trying to sell an expensive used version isn’t likely.
Hummel figurines have been around for quite some time, first rising to prominence in World War II. Soldiers stationed in Germany would send them home to family members as a lighthearted gift.
It’s no wonder they became a significant symbol, with their value skyrocketing in the 1970s. Since then, though, fewer consumers have the nostalgia to sustain such high prices. Antique Galleries owner Mike Rivkin says that they’re “virtually unsellable today,” making them an item for the thrift store.
Cabbage Patch Kids
Cabbage Patch Kids were all the rage in the early ’80s. They were so popular that retailers could get away with charging $30 per doll, which was quite pricey at the time.
These days, Cabbage Patch Kids are so plentiful that you’d have to have one in mint condition for it to be worth anything. Odds are, the dolls were played with and taken everywhere since it was the toy of its time, so it’s probably too worn to accrue value.
Funko’s line of Pop! figurines are perfect for showing off your love of certain characters at home or in the office. The adorable design features bobbleheads that are humorously massive compared to the rest of the figurine.
The items are so popular that you’ve probably spotted them at your local bookstore or on a coworker’s desk. Owners often keep them in the box for safekeeping, but the jury is still out regarding if they’ll be of value someday.
Norman Rockwell Collector Plates
Norman Rockwell was an incredible artist who did cover illustrations that appeared on The Saturday Evening Post for almost 50 years. He’s also responsible for the cover art on American classics Tom Sawyer and Huckleberry Finn.
Despite these achievements, Norman Rockwell collector plates aren’t worth much. According to Antique Trader, the value of such plates has actually dropped down from about $60 each to just $10 each! They are at least nice home decor.
Remember how clunky VHS players were compared to today’s technology? You also had to rewind them back after you finished watching your movie. Additionally, the player was clunky, as if you didn’t already have enough stacking up your entertainment center.
Now that so much technology has rapidly become microscopic, there isn’t a demand for good old VHS tapes and players. If anything, people are desperate to get their collections out of the house, resulting in plenty of supply for low costs.
If you thought you were getting ahead by purchasing a Blueray player shortly after DVDs became the new rage, it was probably disappointing to see smart televisions takeover.
Now that virtually every blockbuster is available on a television app, there’s no need to collect dozens of little plastic cases that serve to do little more than clutter. As with VHS, technology simply moved too quickly to make DVDs a thing of intrigue. Nowadays, they typically sell for a few bucks at Walmart.
Happy Meal Toys
McDonald’s happy meals have been around for decades, and kids have been digging in to find the toy hiding in the box since the ’70s. Such a longheld tradition you would think might result in some valuable vintage toys.
In actuality, the value nosedives as soon as you open the package, so odds are you’re already out of luck. On top of that, the item has to be rare, and McDonald’s sells millions of happy meals every day.
Morgan dollars may seem extremely valuable simply because of their age, however, they were so popular that their value went down. Though they were worth something at the turn of the 20th century, that isn’t the case anymore.
They are at least worth more than a dollar, generally estimated at about $20. However, the price also relies on the condition and how rare the particular coin is. You’d have to have a supreme version to get much more out of a collector, though.
Indian Head Pennies
Back in 1859, the United States Bureau of the Mint decided to produce Indian Head coins, which were the one-cent coins before Abraham Lincoln was placed on them. They were especially popular after the Civil War.
By the year 1907, there were more than 100 million in circulation, rendering the coins virtually worthless. In 1901, Victor D. Brenner designed the penny that we all know today. Depending on their date and whether or not they’ve been circulated, Indian Head pennies are generally only worth $15 to $200.
When we say “brown” furniture, we aren’t just referring to the color. The term is a layman’s way of saying antique furniture that is characterized by wooden features that are often stained.
These pieces might include a headboard, cabinets, dressers, etc. Many of these pieces aren’t worth much unless they are specific to a certain design era, such as art deco. Obviously, if the furniture has historic significance, then it will be worth tons, but odds are your family’s rocking chair wasn’t formerly owned by Abraham Lincoln.
The most well-known children’s books are typically in large supply, making them easy to find and low in value. Since parents often love to share their beloved childhood tales with their kids, these stories typically don’t go out of circulation.
Just look at Dr. Seuss, whose books are so prevalent that you can find them at a retail store for just a few dollars. Unless you own an early edition or one that’s specially signed, it probably is worth very little, even if it is an older hand-me-down.
Longaberger baskets are distinguished from other brands if for no other reason than their basket-shaped building, which is an Ohio landmark. These hand-woven baskets have been turbulent in terms of value over the years.
Though their value escalated in the ’90s, they’ve since plateaued. Furthermore, the company shut down in 2018, and the impact on the collector’s items still is wavering. Though you may find some Longaberger listings for a few thousand, these are often for a collection of a dozen or more items.
Vintage Playboy Magazines
Ever since its release in 1953, Playboy has held its own among some of the most well-known magazines to date. However, that’s also why copies that date all the way back to 1970 aren’t likely to be worth much.
By then, the magazine was in such high demand that there are tons of them floating around. However, the earlier renditions may be worth something since they are rarer. At the same time, you’d have to find someone who’s willing to buy a pricey vintage copy.
College pennants are really only impressive to the person who attended that school since it has sentimental value. Otherwise, it’s no more than a piece of felt attached to a plastic stick.
Even if it’s a vintage pennant from an ivy league, few people will be interested in purchasing it, especially if it’s priced high. Unless you’re able to locate a very niche collector, it’s probably going to be unsellable. Plus, anyone who attended the school would probably have their own pennant.
Hot Wheels are one of the most popular toy car brands around. Ever since the ’60s, kids have been playing with them, making Hot Wheels an in-demand item for over half a century.
That’s why very few editions of the toy cars are worth anything. Most of the models were mass-produced, so even if it’s vintage it may have little value. Some have sold their rare Hot Wheels for a pretty penny, but that’s typically major collectors.
Like many other figurines we’ve seen on this list, the carnival souvenirs from Kitschy aren’t worth as much as you may expect. Though you can spot these adorable nicknacks at various antique stores, you probably won’t find one worth more than $25.
The chalkware dogs and the kewpies were some of the more popular items in the brand. The problem is that they easily get damaged, bringing their value down. Even in this photo, you can see that the paint on the dog to the far right has chips in it.
Autographed Sports Memorabilia
Autographed sports memorabilia can be worth quite a bit of money, but the process isn’t as straightforward nowadays. That’s because many signed memorabilia is replicated for mass-production these days.
That makes some buyers hesitant to trust the authenticity, and also means that some sellers may think they have something valuable, but it’s really a knockoff. As for the items that are factory-made, they are far too prevalent to be worth much. Unless you’re sure you have something special, don’t expect much.
You may be surprised to see cookie jars on this list since it’s a relatively common item. The reason why is that Andy Warhol had a cookie jar collection that sold for about $250,000 in the ’80s.
Thus, cookie jar collectors are a real thing, but it’s extremely niche. The odds of you finding one of these collectors and them wanting to purchase your cookie jar isn’t likely. Even if you have a very old and rare one, you probably won’t find someone willing to spend a ton on it.
Salt And Pepper Shakers
Salt and pepper shakers are one of those items that aren’t necessary by any means, but some people take them very seriously nonetheless. While there are some collectors of salt and pepper shakers, it’s a very specific niche.
Buying a valuable pair in hopes that it’ll be worth something one day is quite the risk. There was a set that sold for $40 on eBay recently, but those opportunities are the outlier, not the rule.
Thomas Kinkade Collectibles
Thomas Kinkade was such a marvelous painter that he earned the nickname “Painter of Light.” Unfortunately, his appeal ended up having a negative impact on the value of each work.
The Guardian reported in 2012 that Thomas’s work could be found in one in twenty households. Since they are in such abundance, many of his paintings are only worth about $20. It’s no wonder that the most prestigious artists keep their works limited and difficult to attain.
When traveling or going to events, there are a plethora of household items that double as souvenirs. From magnets to water bottles to coasters, there’s no shortage of items branded with a location or special occasion.
One of the said items is little bells that are typically porcelain or metal. These knickknacks don’t serve much of a purpose in everyday life, so they only add clutter to a home. It’s hard to imagine someone who would want a souvenir from something they didn’t attend, so they’re only worth a few dollars.
Before the internet, playbills were a huge deal. It makes sense considering that these packets have all the details about a major hit play, like who were the stars and the director.
Now that all of this information is available online, there’s no need to collect playbills. The result was a major drop in their value. Though Barbra Streisand’s Funny Girl playbill was once worth hundreds, comparative playbills are only worth $10 or so today.
License plates may seem like an odd thing to collect, but some have unique stories and were eventually discontinued. Still, there isn’t enough of a compelling reason for the general public to want them, so they’re typically worth very little.
Autoweek reports that the average vintage license plate is only worth about $30. More basic variations are worthless, such as the ones pictured here displayed at only $5.95 each. Since they’re easy to collect, you probably won’t be able to haggle a higher price.
Pins are fun to collect and dig through regardless of their value because they are so varied and can represent the owner’s various interests. However, their prevalence makes them of little value.
Even vintage pins that are from major events, like the Votes For Women pins pictured, are worth only $10 or so due to their mass production. If you’re lucky, you may stumble upon a pin that’s rare and worth thousands, but that’s like finding a needle in a haystack.
Like Hot Wheels, Hess trucks are a popular toy that’s been around for some time. Since these trucks aren’t as utilized as they were in the ’60s, though, there’s plenty of collectors out there looking to buy.
The one problem is that you’re not going to get a serious buyer unless your toy truck is in pristine condition and one of the more rare models. If you’re like most people and actually played with your Hess truck as a kid, then it’s probably worth less than $40.
Newspapers come and go every day, so the odds that yours is uniquely special is unlikely. Even if you did have a vintage newspaper revealing a monumental event, it’s likely that it’s a reproduced version.
Your paper would have to be a first edition of an iconic print from so long ago that it isn’t already available in great quantities. Even then, you’d have to find a niche buyer and somehow authenticate it, which can be difficult to do.
Vintage College Clothing
You may think that your vintage Yale t-shirt is worth a ton, but the reality is that these items are akin to ivy league pennants. For one, they’re mass-produced and highly bought since they show school pride and are nostalgic.
For two, they aren’t in demand by just about anyone except for people who attended the school. And even then, they would have already purchased their school memorabilia while attending! You’ll be lucky to sell these items for $30.
Unremarkable Vintage Clothing
You may be under the impression that your clothes are worth something because they’re vintage. While it’s true that some vintage clothes were made to last by designer labels, they still had cheap clothes back in the day.
It’s just as likely that your grandmother has a hidden gem in her closet as it is that you do. Items that haven’t come back into style and don’t have anything significant about them are called “unremarkable” vintage clothing, which anyone could find at a thrift store.
Costume jewelry is the cheaper counterpart to fine jewelry, so it’s no wonder that it doesn’t have much value. You may be hoping that your costume jewelry has gone up in price since it’s old, but the mass-production of such products makes that impossible.
Even if your costume jewelry is closely related to a passing trend, such as long necklaces or chokers, too many consumers have these to make it a sought-after item. The exception would be if your jewelry was from a fancy designer before they went the fine jewelry route.
Disney VHS Tapes
We mentioned previously that DVDs and VHS are worthless since they are inconvenient, mass-produced, and do live up to modern alternatives. Still, you may be thinking that a remarkable franchise like Disney has some exceptions.
Unfortunately, not even Disney’s “Black Diamond Collection” has much value. You’d be lucky to sell one of those tapes for more than $5. Unless you find someone who is such a Disney fanatic that they’ll take it for a ripoff, it probably isn’t worth the trouble.
Pokémon is one of the more successful franchises, so you may be thinking that the corresponding cards from your childhood are worth something. In actuality, they are much too popular to be of value.
In the ’90s you may have been able to turn a profit from some of the rarer Pokémon cards, but nowadays there are just way too many franchise-related products. Just head to a Pokémon championship and you’ll see how many collections are out there.
Patchwork quilts are so unique that you would think they’d be of value, but that isn’t the case. The variations that are worth something have to be in tip-top shape and typically date all the way back to the 1800s.
The quilt your grandmother made twenty years ago may be sentimental, but it won’t be of interest to a collector. That’s why it generally makes the most sense to keep these items in the family.
MP3 players and the once-popular iPod may seem like they’re worth something now that they’ve become the dinosaurs of the music industry, but they aren’t. At least, they aren’t worth anything yet.
Though they’ve been replaced with streaming so completely that they’re already a vintage collector’s item, there were too many produced to make any one all that special. At most, you may be able to auction off an iPod Nano for about $70 to a nostalgic buyer.
Old school farm tools like this one may seem like they’re worth a fortune, but odds are they aren’t. Though they aren’t as prevalent as some of the other items on this list, they were mass-produced for years thanks to the trend of turning them into decorations.
Something like this antique corn sheller would be worth just as much as a newer edition, and that’s only if it still worked. Odds are, you’ll end up only getting about $50 per tool.