7 Items in Your Attic That Could Be Worth a Mint

Sophie Miura
PHOTO:

Mary Costa

If you're poised to clear out your attic and dispose of odd items that have accumulated over the years, make sure you check the value of each piece first. They might not look significant, but according to Elle Decor, some unassuming items carry a surprising value to antique buyers or niche collectors. In an interview with Eric Silver, an appraiser for Antiques Roadshow, they discover which items could cover the cost of your next big vacation. Check your attic now—these common household items might be worth a mint.

  1. Vintage computers: Early-edition Apple computers are particularly valuable, Silver says, fetching up to $900,000 at auction.
  2. Lamp bases: "One time, someone came into the roadshow with the base for a Tiffany's lamp that they had bought at a thrift shop for $5," he says. "It was only the base, but it was worth $25,000."
  3. Old appliances: It might seem like trash to you, but there are a number of associations that specialize in collecting niche goods, such as vintage toasters.
  4. Musical instruments: That old guitar gathering dust could have a surprising value, according to Silver. Even items that are 60 to 70 years old and aren't antique could fetch a good price.
  5. Paintings: It's worth having any artworks passed down by family members appraised, even if they're not to your taste. "Sometimes people have shown up with something their family was given by a painter living down the street, and it turns out that it was a very prominent painter," he says.
  6. Silver flatware: If you've inherited silver flatware and don't have a use for it in day-to-day life, it could fetch thousands at auction. Be sure to keep the entire set together for the best possible return.
  7. Trunks: Vintage trunks make for gorgeous coffee tables or works of art, but to your parents' or grandparents' generation, they were purely practical. Silver says trunks that still have the stamps or labels intact attract buyers.

Do you own antique silver flatware? Remove tarnishes with Hagerty Silver Foam ($11) before having it valued.

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