Household Hidden Gems


We've all got things lying around in our homes that might look ordinary to the untrained eye, but to a seasoned collector, some of these items can be worth a packet. Next time you're putting things together to go into storage, take a closer look at those old toys and VHS tapes – you could have a small fortune on your hands!

(All values are approximate, and have been converted to GBP without adjustment for inflation)

Rare VHS tapes

Most valuable: £9,200

Original price: Around £20 (1980s) 

Those VHS tapes might seem worthless now, but some of them are anything but. While the most expensive VHS sale in history – Tales from the Quadead Zone, for $13,000 – is an exception, early copies of classics like Beauty and the Beast and Star Wars can fetch a good price from VHS collectors.

Check prices on: eBay 

Magic: The Gathering cards

Most valuable: £90,000

Original price: £1.80 for pack of 15 (1990s) 

Got a nerdy brother who could never quite let go of his Magic: The Gathering collection? Even if you don't find the legendary Black Lotus, it's not unusual for individual cards from early sets to sell for hundreds of pounds each - so that dusty boxful of cards could be packing serious bank.

Check prices on: Star City Games

Vintage mobile phones

Most valuable: £2,400

Original price: £2,800 (1984) 

We might laugh at the old 'brick'-style mobile phones of yesteryear, but good examples from the 1980s can fetch high prices from collectors today. Early Motorola and Nokia phones attract the most interest, especially in the original packaging – even the once-ubiquitous Nokia 3310 is becoming a collector's item.

Check prices on: eBay

Tamagotchi

Most valuable: £300

Original price: £12 (1996) 

Remember these lovable electronic critters? Although most have surely perished from neglect since their heyday in the 90s, their value has soared over the past decade and a half. The most expensive known Tamagotchi is the limited-edition Devilgotchi, although any one from 1996 will be worth a few bob – especially in the original packaging.

Check prices on: eBay

Happy Meal toys

Most valuable: £250 

Original price: Free (with a Happy Meal)

When McDonalds started giving away toys with Happy Meals in 1979, they probably never suspected that they'd become collectibles. In 2009, one enterprising 11-year-old auctioned off his collection of McMemorabilia – including the complete set of 101 Dalmations toys - for more than £8,000.

Check prices on: eBay

Transformers G1 series

Most valuable: £9,000

Original price: £7.99 (1984)

Produced between 1984 and 1991, the first generation of those robots in disguise have soared in value. As usual, they're worth the most in their original packaging, but even "loose" G1 Transformers like Megatron and Optimus Prime regularly go for well over £100 on online auction sites.

Check prices on: transformerland

Atari 2600

Most valuable: £200

Original price: £140 (1977)

The first truly popular home games console, the Atari 2600 brought Space Invaders into the living rooms of more than 30 million people. Many households will still have one stashed away in the loft, and the wood-panelled versions can be pretty valuable – especially when accompanied by game cartridges.

Check prices on: eBay

Old vinyl

Most valuable: £100,000

Original price: Varies

While it's unlikely you have a copy of the Quarrymen's That'll Be The Day hidden away in your home (but you never know!), it's well worth picking through any large collection of records you find. Old 45s from the 1950s and 1960s reliably fetch at least a fiver each, and more if they're rare or sought-after records. Vinyl trends come and go, and at the time of writing, disco is in.

Check prices on: popsike 

LEGO sets

Most valuable: £2,712

Original price: £342

That's right: those tiny bricks could be worth big money. Not just any bricks, though – complete sets (like the 2007 Millennium Falcon) are worth the most. It was widely reported in 2015 that the price of LEGO was rising faster than gold, mostly due to the fact that the company retires hundreds of sets every year – making every one a potential collectible.

Check prices on: bricklink

Old books

Most valuable: £8 million

Original price: Varies

With print media falling out of favour in the digital age, now could be the time to sift through your bookshelves and see if you've got a winner. While not many will be worth over $11 million - the amount The Birds of America was auctioned off for in 2010 – early prints of nostalgic classics like Roald Dahl's novels will still sell for an impressive amount.

Check prices on: AbeBooks 

 


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