Do you have a pile of stuff in your attic gathering dust? Chances are there could be a few pieces worth a pretty penny or two…
Potty about pottery
Your granny’s ‘bits of china’ or that ugly vase that you hid in the loft 25 years ago may be worth more than you thought. Rare ceramics and porcelain – bowls, plates, teapots, vases and figurines – are highly sought after by collectors. In the TV show Antiques Roadshow, a “rather fancy soap-dish” that the owner bought for 25p in a junk shop, turned out to be an 18th-century Delftware bowl worth over £5,000!
Anything Art Deco
What our parents or grandparents may have deemed old-fashioned or dismissed as hand-me-downs have steadily increased in value. Art Deco pieces in particular can achieve high prices at auction. Take Tiffany lamps, for example. In 2015 a beautiful ‘Dragonfly’ table lamp sold for more than $2.1 million at a Sotheby’s auction in New York.
Pop go the memories
Pop and film memorabilia from the 50s, 60s, and 70s are in high demand, as today’s mid-lifers relive the sights and sounds of their youth. According to the PFC40 Autograph Index, the value of Beatle Paul McCartney’s autograph has gone up 18% since last year, and is now worth £2,500! What’s more, a photo signed by all four Beatles could fetch £28,000 at auction.
To fan communities (and international investors) rare comic books are catnip. Earlier this year a Magic Beano Book, the pre-WW2 version of the Beano comic, was sold for £5,600 – smashing its estimated value of £2,500. Meanwhile, back in 2012, a first edition comic of The X-Men sold for a massive $492,937.50 at an online auction. Perhaps there’s a first issue lurking somewhere in that comic collection you inherited from your Uncle Bill?
Winners take all
Sports jerseys, game balls and football programmes are potentially gold-dust if they’re from the right game or signed by the right sporting hero. Even a Panini sticker album could be worth £80-£100.
Thanks to home improvement programmes such as The Restoration Man, lighting fixtures from previous design eras, from Victorian and Art Nouveau to Industrial, are selling like hot cakes. The same goes for original architectural features that are often stored in attics and forgotten about, such as fire screens, staircase end-mounts and mantelpiece ornaments.
The write stuff
First edition books, rare books (less than 10,000 printed) and those signed by the author are worth the most. Vintage magazines may also be valuable. A collection of 1,000 car magazines from 1980 to 1990 went for £110 on a buy-it-now listing. Even catalogues – especially if linked to a major brand name – could fetch £50 or more.
Toys, dolls and board games from back in the day tap into a deep vein of nostalgia that sends prices rocketing at auction. A lot depends on their condition, rarity or if they come in the original packaging. Earlier this year, a rare Jawa Star Wars figure sold for over £21,000 at auction!
It’s time to raid that suitcase stuffed with your mother’s old cocktail dresses. Vintage clothing is big business these days, which means that 50s, 60s and 70s fashions, particularly designer items, are likely to sell well. Pieces by Chanel, Dior and Yves Saint Laurent, and leather goods by designers such as Hermès and Louis Vuitton are sure bets. Even more recent pieces are collectible, if the label’s right: in 2012 an Alexander McQueen dress from 2008 fetched £85,250 and in the same Christies auction a Christian Lacroix black jacket reached £16,250.
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