Vintage Items Inside Of Your Parents’ Home That’s Worth A Fortune

Lindsey - December 14, 2023

Your parents’ home could hide valuable treasures, from old dolls and vintage glasses to original Fiestaware. These items reveal the craftsmanship and trends of their times. Explore the history, artistry, and craftsmanship behind each artifact on this journey, potentially finding items worth as much as their memories!

Photo: Architectural Digest

Vintage Furniture

Look for well-preserved vintage furniture, particularly pieces from renowned designers or specific periods like mid-century modern furniture. These items often hold value due to their craftsmanship, unique design elements, and historical significance, making them sought after by collectors and enthusiasts. The enduring appeal of mid-century modern design lies in its functional yet aesthetically pleasing forms. Pieces from iconic designers such as Eames or Wegner can command premium prices in the antique market.

Photo: Doylestown Gold Exchange

Old Coins and Currency

In the realm of old coins and currency, potential value lies in the uncommon and unusual. Look for items such as rare currency, silver dollars, or coins with errors or limited minting. Collectors are often interested in the historical and numismatic significance of these items, and their scarcity can significantly contribute to their overall value. Silver dollars from specific years, such as the Morgan and Peace dollars, are particularly sought after. Their silver content and historical context adding to their desirability among coin enthusiasts and investors.

Photo: Gem Gossip

Antique Jewelry

Old family jewelry may draw a hefty price! Watch out for antique jewelry crafted from valuable materials like gold, silver, or platinum and adorned with gemstones. The value extends beyond materials to encompass the intricacy of craftsmanship and the overall design. As with many antiques, pieces from specific periods or by renowned artisans particularly desirable among collectors. Jewelry from the Art Deco era, known for its geometric shapes and bold designs, holds a distinct allure for those fascinated by the intersection of art and fashion.

Photo: The New York Times

Fine China and Porcelain

Valuable fine china and porcelain items include high-quality sets or figurines from well-known manufacturers. Complete sets and pieces in good condition are sought after by collectors, and the rarity of specific patterns or designs can enhance their overall value as desirable antiques. Collectors love Wedgwood or Royal Doulton lines. These feature hand-painted details or unique glazes, representing the pinnacle of craftsmanship and elegance in the world of antique tableware.


Vintage Toys

Collectors – like children – often seek out toys. Vintage options from the early to mid-20th century appeal to collectors, especially those in their original packaging. Examples such as vintage dolls, tin toys, or board games can hold significant value, with their appeal lying in nostalgia, rarity, and the condition of the items. Toys from specific brands like Steiff or iconic franchises like Disney can fetch high prices, especially if they are well-preserved with their original packaging and accessories.

Photo: NY Post

Old Manuscripts

The rarity, condition, and content of old manuscripts all affects their value. Those by famous authors or those with historical significance are particularly valuable to collectors, historians, and researchers who appreciate the historical context these items represent. Manuscripts with annotations or marginalia from notable figures add an extra layer of historical significance, making them prized additions to private collections or institutions.

Photo: Raymond’s Antiques

Antique Clocks and Watches

Well-maintained antique clocks or watches, especially those from reputable makers, can have substantial value. They draw collectors in through their unique designs, precision craftsmanship, and historical importance. Clocks and watches enjoy desirability as both functional objects and decorative antiques. Watches with complications such as tourbillons or perpetual calendars, or clocks with elaborate chimes, can command higher values due to their technical sophistication and rarity in the antique market.

Photo: Classic Typewriter Co.


Antique typewriters can hold value for collectors and enthusiasts of vintage office equipment. The mechanical craftsmanship, historical significance, and the evolution of typewriter technology contribute to the appeal of these items as sought-after antiques. Models with distinctive typefaces or those associated with famous writers can garner additional interest and value among collectors.

Photo: The Wall Street Journal

Collector’s Items

Items related to specific hobbies or interests will always hold value – whether sentimental or monetary. Sports memorabilia and rare stamps are great examples. Collectors often seek out these specialized items, appreciating their uniqueness and the connection they provide to a particular era or interest. Limited edition items, autographed memorabilia, or items associated with iconic moments in history can command premium prices in the collector’s market.

Photo: Shopify

Vintage Clothing and Accessories

Well-preserved vintage clothing, especially from iconic designers or specific eras, can be highly sought after. Accessories like handbags and hats also draw a collector’s eye. This is not just for their historical and artistic significance, but also for their representation of fashion trends and styles of the past. Designer pieces keep folks on their toes, too! Keep an eye out for pieces from from fashion houses like Chanel or Hermes, in particular, that can be prized possessions for collectors.

Photo: Stuck at the Airport

Art Deco Collectibles

Items from the Art Deco period, including decorative objects, furniture, or even jewelry, can be valuable.These items have both a distinctive style and historical significance. The geometric shapes, bold colors, and elegant designs characteristic of Art Deco make these items desirable for collectors of decorative arts. Pieces from notable designers of the Art Deco era, such as Erté or Emile-Jacques Ruhlmann, can carry significant value due to their association with influential figures in the Art Deco movement.

Photo: Dabbling & Decorating

Collectible Glassware

Look for antique glassware from reputable manufacturers, such as Tiffany or Lalique. Colored glass, depression glass, and unique patterns can contribute to value. Collectors appreciate the craftsmanship and artistry of these pieces, and the historical context adds to their overall desirability. Limited-edition glassware or pieces with specific provenance, such as those used in historical events or owned by prominent individuals, can enhance their collectible value.

Photo: Wikipedia

Old Maps

Antique maps, particularly those from significant historical periods or featuring rare cartography, can be valuable to collectors and history enthusiasts. The intricate details and historical accuracy of these items certainly contribute to their appeal, offering a tangible connection to the past. Maps featuring exploratory routes, early depictions of continents, or those associated with famous cartographers can command higher values.

Photo: Ultimate Globes

Antique Globes

If you find an antique globe in your parents’ attic, make sure to look for accurate cartography and well-preserved stands. Antique globes are not only functional educational tools but also represent the historical understanding of geography, making them valuable as both decorative and educational items for those fascinated by the evolution of mapmaking. Globes from specific makers, those featuring outdated geopolitical boundaries, or with ornate stand designs can be especially sought after in the antique globe market.

Photo: LoveToKnow

Vintage Postcards and Stamps

Postcards featuring historical landmarks, rare stamps, or those with unique designs can be valuable to collectors of philately and ephemera. Postcards and stamps associated with significant events, personalities, or rare printings can also fetch higher prices in the collector’s market. And as a bonus, you can’t deny the beauty of these historical artifacts!

Photo: Olde Good Things

Antique Musical Instruments

Old musical instruments can play a lucrative tune! Collectors and musicians alike are drawn to the craftsmanship, quality of sound, and historical importance of these instruments. Instruments with unique provenance, such as those played by famous musicians or associated with specific cultural movements, can command premium prices.

Photo: Christie’s

Rare Pottery and Ceramics

Antique pottery and ceramics can have significant value. Collectors may seek pieces from renowned artists or periods like Arts and Crafts or Art Nouveau. The unique glazes, intricate designs, and historical context contribute to the appeal of these items among collectors. Pale green Jadeite is a great example. Likewise, limited-edition pottery, pieces with unique shapes or glazes, and those associated with influential artists or movements can carry higher values in the collector’s market.

Photo: Sierra News Online

Vintage Electronics

Keep an eye out for electronic devices like vintage radios, record players, or video game consoles. Items in working condition with their original components make for an easy yes, while and rotary phones are particularly sought after for their historical charm and unique design. The appeal of vintage electronics lies not only in their functionality but also in their aesthetic qualities. Well-preserved examples serve as nostalgic reminders of technological advancements from the past.

Photo: EJ’s Auction & Appraisal

Military Memorabilia

Items from past wars, such as uniforms, medals, or war memorabilia, can be valuable to collectors interested in military history. The rarity of specific items, historical significance, and the condition of the memorabilia contribute to their appeal among collectors and historians. Military memorabilia provides a tangible connection to pivotal moments in history, and items associated with notable figures or battles often carry additional value in the collector’s market.

Photo: Estate Silver Company

Antique Silver Tea Sets

Do you remember tea parties with real sterling silver tea sets as a kid? Well, if your parents had one – including teapots, sugar bowls, and creamers – it may be worth a great deal. Look for intricate designs and well-preserved pieces. The craftsmanship and the precious metal content make these sets desirable to collectors who appreciate both functionality and aesthetic appeal. Tea sets with elaborate engravings or those crafted by renowned silversmiths can command premium prices among silverware enthusiasts.

Photo: LoveToKnow

Antique Tools

Vintage hand tools, especially those with unique or patented designs, can be sought after by collectors or enthusiasts of woodworking or craftsmanship. The durability, craftsmanship, and historical significance of these tools contribute to their value among those passionate about traditional trades. Tools with innovative designs or those associated with specific trades or industries can be particularly prized by collectors interested in the history of craftsmanship.

Photo: The Guardian

First Edition Books

The potential value of first edition books lies in their rarity, historical significance, and the author’s popularity. Collectors often seek out these books for their literary and cultural importance. The condition of the book, including the dust jacket, can significantly impact its value, too. Collectors within the rare book market often seek out signed first editions or books associated with significant literary awards or milestones in an author’s career.

Photo: Bloomsbury Fine Art & Antiques

Antique Lamps and Lighting Fixtures

Look for vintage lamps, chandeliers, or lighting fixtures with unique designs or made by well-known manufacturers. Tiffany lamps, for example, are highly collectible due to their distinctive stained glass shades and association with Art Nouveau aesthetics. The craftsmanship and artistic value of antique lamps make them desirable for both functional and decorative purposes, with certain styles or designs becoming iconic representations of specific historical periods.

Photo: CNN

Beanie Babies

While not strictly antique, certain Beanie Babies, especially those from the original releases and with rare features, can be valuable to collectors. Again, the value often depends on factors like rarity, condition, and whether the Beanie Baby has unique attributes that make it stand out. Beanie Babies represent a unique phenomenon in the world of collecting. Certain rare or discontinued versions achieved cult status and command high prices. However, make sure you research your options – not all our childhood favorites are sought after.

Photo: Popular Photography

Antique Cameras and Photography Equipment

Old cameras from iconic brands with unique features will excite photography enthusiasts and collectors. The historical and technological significance of these cameras, along with their aesthetic appeal, contribute to their desirability. Cameras from pioneering manufacturers like Leica or iconic models like the Kodak Brownie are particularly prized for their role in the evolution of photography.


Vintage Advertising Signs

When you think of your favorite old ads, what comes to mind? Old advertising signs often feature vibrant colors and nostalgic charm. Signs associated with iconic brands or from specific historical periods can evoke memories and serve as decorative pieces in both private collections and commercial spaces. As authentic relics of a bygone era, these signs not only serve as reminders of advertising trends but also as artistic representations of the cultural landscape of their time. Signs associated with iconic brands or featuring imaginative and colorful designs can be particularly sought after by collectors looking to add a touch of vintage charm to their collections.

Photo: The English Home

Antique Textiles and Quilts

Vintage quilts, tapestries, or textiles with unique patterns or historical significance can be valuable to collectors and those interested in textile art. The craftsmanship, design intricacy, and historical context of these items contribute to their desirability, particularly among those who appreciate the artistry of fabric. Quilts with specific regional styles, intricate stitching patterns, or those associated with notable events or individuals can be particularly prized in the antique textile market.

Photo: SFO Museum

Antique Scientific Instruments

Instruments such as old microscopes, telescopes, or navigational tools can be valuable, particularly if they are well-preserved. The precision engineering, historical importance, and the evolution of scientific knowledge make these instruments appealing to those fascinated by the history of scientific discovery. Instruments associated with famous scientists or pivotal discoveries in fields like astronomy or microscopy can command significant interest and value.

Photo: Wired

Vinyl Records

Vinyl records, especially those from specific genres, artists, or with rare editions, can be valuable to collectors and music enthusiasts. Factors such as the condition of the record, the rarity of the pressing, and the popularity of the artist or album can significantly impact the value of these vintage music artifacts. Limited-edition releases, records in mint condition with original packaging, or those associated with groundbreaking moments in music history can command premium prices among vinyl collectors.

Photo: 1stDibs


Artwork, whether paintings, sculptures, or other forms, can be valuable, of course. This is based on the artist’s reputation, historical significance, and the uniqueness of the piece. Originality, artistic style, and the period in which the artwork was created contribute to its potential value, making it a sought-after item for art collectors and enthusiasts. Artworks associated with specific art movements, cultural moments, or created by influential artists can command premium prices in the art market, reflecting the broader appreciation for their cultural and historical context.

Photo: eBay

Vintage Glasses

Vintage glasses, especially those with unique designs or from iconic brands, can be valuable to collectors of glassware. The material, craftsmanship, and rarity of specific patterns or styles can enhance the desirability and value of vintage glasses among those who appreciate retro aesthetics. Glasses from renowned designers or those associated with particular fashion eras, such as the mid-20th century, are particularly sought after for their style and historical charm.


Old Dolls

Old dolls may be creepy to some, but to collectors? Potentially priceless! Factors such as the doll’s condition, age, and historical significance can significantly impact its value, appealing to collectors who have a particular interest in the history of doll-making. Dolls with original clothing, accessories, or those associated with famous doll makers can be prized possessions in the antique doll market.

Photo: Dorothea’s

Original Fiestaware

Original Fiestaware, produced by the Homer Laughlin China Company, can be valuable to collectors of vintage dinnerware. The bright and bold colors, distinctive designs, and rarity of certain pieces contribute to the appeal and value of Fiestaware, especially if the items are in good condition. Complete sets, rare or retired colors, or pieces with specific markings can be particularly sought after among Fiestaware enthusiasts and collectors of mid-century ceramics.

Photo: Antique Trader

Brass Collectibles

Brass collectibles, ranging from figurines to household items, can hold value based on their craftsmanship, age, and uniqueness. Items like antique brass candlesticks, decorative objects, or utensils may appeal to collectors who appreciate the aesthetic appeal and historical significance of brass artifacts. Brass collectibles with intricate detailing, unique shapes, or those associated with specific cultural or artistic movements look right at home on your mantel and in the vintage market.

Photo: Palm Island Coins

Silver Coins and Bullion

Check for old silver coins, silver bars, or other forms of silver bullion. Precious metals like silver can hold significant value, especially if they are in good condition. The rarity of specific coins, historical significance, and the purity of the silver content can contribute to their worth, making them sought after by both investors and numismatists. Silver coins with limited minting, unique designs, or those associated with historical events can carry additional value among collectors of precious metals.

Photo: Antique Trader

Vintage Coca-Cola Memorabilia

Items such as old Coca-Cola signs, bottles, or promotional materials can be valuable to collectors of soda memorabilia. Look for items with unique designs or from specific historical periods. The iconic nature of the Coca-Cola brand, coupled with the nostalgia associated with vintage advertising, adds to the desirability of these items among collectors and enthusiasts. Limited-edition items or those featuring classic Coca-Cola imagery reflect the enduring popularity of the brand.

Photo: LoveToKnow

Pocket Watches

Did your grandparents’ carry pocket watches? Well, the condition and rarity of specific models can contribute to their worth, attracting collectors interested in horology. Pocket watches often showcase intricate craftsmanship, and those with historical significance or intricate complications may command higher values. Complications such as chronographs, moon phases, or unique dial designs can add to the desirability of vintage pocket watches among collectors.

Photo: Wikipedia

Antique Writing Instruments

Collectors should search for fountain pens and other writing instruments from renowned brands. Look for items in good working condition with distinctive designs. The craftsmanship, materials used, and the reputation of the manufacturer all play a role in determining the value of antique writing instruments, making them sought after by pen enthusiasts and collectors alike. Limited-edition releases, pens associated with famous individuals, or those with unique nib designs can command higher prices in the vintage writing instrument market.

Photo: The Spruce

Mid-Century Modern Decor

Mid-century modern items – like furniture, lighting fixtures, or decor pieces – command high prices. Collectors will love the sleek and innovative designs of this period are highly sought after by their brotheren. The unique aesthetics and functional appeal of mid-century modern decor contribute to its enduring popularity, and well-preserved pieces by renowned designers can command significant value in the market. Designers such as Eames, Saarinen, or Wegner gained fame during the mid-century modern period, so keep an eye out for their work.

Photo: SFO Museum

Vintage Clothing Accessories

Beyond clothing, accessories like vintage handbags, hats, or gloves from specific designers or eras may have significant value. Look for items in good condition with unique features. Vintage clothing accessories not only showcase the fashion trends of the past but also hold historical and artistic value, appealing to collectors and fashion enthusiasts who appreciate the craftsmanship and design of these items.

Photo: Atlas Obscura

Old Board Games

Vintage board games, especially those in good condition and with unique themes, can be valuable to board game collectors. Look for games from specific decades or with rare components. The rarity of certain editions, the popularity of the game, and the condition of the components all contribute to the value of vintage board games. Board games with innovative gameplay, unique artwork, or those tied to popular franchises will make your next game night (or auction) all the better.

Photo: Washburn Cultural Center

Antique Perfume Bottles

Check your parents’ home for bottles from renowned perfumers or specific historical periods – the more valuable! The artistry and craftsmanship of antique perfume bottles, coupled with their association with luxury and beauty, make them highly collectible. Unique shapes, intricate stoppers, and the presence of original packaging can enhance their desirability and value among collectors and perfume enthusiasts. Especially look for limited-edition releases or bottles associated with famous perfumers to make it big on the perfume bottle market.

Photo: Geographicus Rare Antiques

Antique Atlases

In addition to individual maps, antique atlases can be valuable, especially if they are rare or showcase historical cartography. The value of these items lies not only in their navigational utility but also in their ability to serve as visual historical records, making them prized possessions for collectors and history enthusiasts. Atlases with maps depicting exploration routes, early depictions of continents, or those featuring intricate cartographic details can command premium prices among antique map collectors.

Photo: The Pink Panther Wiki

Vinyl Lunchboxes

Vintage vinyl lunchboxes, especially those featuring popular characters or themes, can be valuable to collectors of nostalgic memorabilia. Look for lunchboxes in good condition with intact thermoses. These lunchboxes evoke a sense of childhood nostalgia. Collectors and enthusiasts appreciate their enhanced features as well. People appreciate them for their whimsical designs, with specific characters or themes often determining their collectible value. The condition of the graphics, hinges, and thermos can significantly impact the overall value of these lunchboxes, too.

Photo: Ruby Lane

Vintage Marbles

If you played marbles as a kid, you know the value a well-crafted marble can command. Collectors, too, see handmade or rare marbles. These small yet intricate artifacts hold appeal for their aesthetic qualities, and the rarity of certain designs or materials can significantly impact their value among marble enthusiasts and collectors. Marbles with unusual patterns, vibrant colors, or those crafted by renowned manufacturers are prized, reflecting the diversity and artistry within the world of vintage marbles.

Exploring the world of antiques and vintage collectibles in your parents’ home can be like finding hidden treasures with fascinating stories. As collectors and enthusiasts cherish these old items, they help preserve the legacy of art and design for the future. Each discovery not only highlights the value of these objects but also reminds us of their cultural importance, fostering an ongoing appreciation for the beauty of the past in our changing world.