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With all your stuff hiding up in the attic, down in the basement, or deep in the garage, some valuable antique items are bound to be hidden among the bunch. Tucked away, collecting dust, may just be a collector’s item or a lucrative sale. Do you know if that hunk of junk might actually be worth something? As you’re cleaning, thinking about calling junk removal services, give it a second thought – that junk might be worth more than you think. Keep reading to learn which 10 items might be worth a pretty penny!

First of All, What is Considered an Antique?

Most simply, antiques are categorized by their age. An antique item is at least 100 years old, meaning that it had to have been manufactured in 1922 or earlier. Antique items are unique because they come from an era of different customs, materials, and manufacturing processes, which have led to arguably higher-quality, longer-lasting items. 

Another word you will often hear is “vintage” – this is not to be confused with “antique.” The rule of thumb is that vintage items are usually 20-25 years old. Vintage items embody the trends of the time, making them collectibles for many people.

1. Collectible Tin Lunch Boxes

Most lunch boxes these days are made from plastic, rather than tin. Collectible lunch boxes featured popular cartoon or comic book characters of the time, typically featuring bright colors. These lunch boxes came with a matching thermos, so if you can find an original combo – you may be in for a nice payout! 

2. Typewriters

Not every typewriter is worth something, however, if you find one that is unique in shape or color, it might be quite profitable! If it is in working condition, typewriters from the 1940s or earlier can be worth a pretty penny. A non-working machine can earn you some cash, too (typically around $50!)

3. Leather Trunks or Suitcases

Leather trunks and suitcases have become an interesting decor piece in many homes, leading many companies to produce vintage-looking pieces. But if you can find an authentic leather suitcase that was actually used to transport luggage back in the day, it can be worth something! Always be sure to check the logo, you find one that goes for a few hundred dollars. If you’re really lucky and you find a Louis Vuitton leather trunk, you can sell it anywhere from $6,000 to $28,000!

4. China Sets

These are perhaps the most common antique items you might find, hiding away in storage boxes. If you get your hands on a full set of high-quality china, you may be in for a treat! China sets are also pretty simple to identify. They should have a brand and style stamped on the bottom of the piece. There are a lot of valuable vintage china sets out there, as well, which are made out of opaque porcelain. Antique china tends to be more translucent, as it was made from bone ash!

5. Globes

Globes can add an interesting look to any space, especially when they are antique! If you find a dusty globe sitting up in your attic, make sure to check the illustrations. Are they hand-painted? This might indicate that they are older. If you see countries that no longer exist, that’s a sure sign that your globe is worth something. 

6. Signs

There are a lot of collectors out there who love building a collection of antique metal signs for their basements, garages, and “man caves.” The older the better, especially when the business doesn’t exist anymore. There’s also a whole fanbase surrounding gasoline signs, like Sinclair, or other brands like Coca-Cola. So if you have any old signs hanging out in the garage, look them up – they might be worth something. 

7. Silver Kitchen Utensils or Kitchenware

Silver cutlery used to be a sign of wealth and status that was passed down by generations. It was a routine to shine and polish the utensils before dinner. Nowadays, cutlery and kitchenware are not made of silver, but rather cheaper metals as those are cheaper to produce and easier to keep nice and shiny.

Silver is usually stamped with a number for easy identification, but there are also many other tricks that will help determine if you have silver or a different metal. For example, test your metal with a magnet – real silver has very few magnetic properties, so you shouldn’t feel a pull towards the metal at all.  If you have a full set laying around, take it to a silver dealer to get an appraisal. 

8. Weather Vanes

Weather vanes don’t seem like they would be very sought after, but they definitely can be. They were often custom-made for a farm, meaning there is unique craftsmanship behind the piece. The older and more interesting, the more buyers will be willing to battle out the highest price in an auction! 

9. War Posters

War or peace posters are a piece of history, making them very wanted by many history fans and collectors. They can go for a few hundred dollars if they are free of creases, rips, and stains. Be careful of replicas, though!

10. Old Computers, Radios, or Electronics

Depending on the brand, quality, and uniqueness of the item, computers, radios, and cameras may be a lucrative sale. Old Apple computers, for example, can go for a few thousand dollars if they are still in working condition. Small box radios can also go for a few bucks. However, a vintage camera lens can go for quite a bit, depending on the brand and quality.

Conclusion – Is it Junk or a Valuable Antique?

Now that you know some of the items that can go for a shiny penny, check your attic, basement, garage, and crawlspace for treasures. What you might consider junk could be a collector’s item that buyers might be willing to spend a lot of money on. If you’re not interested in selling these items, you can always keep these vintage or antique finds for yourself! Better yet, pass them down to your children or grandchildren, because chances are they have never seen something like it before!

We hope you found this blog post Is it Junk or a Valuable Antique? useful. Be sure to check out our post Is Antique Dying? The State of Antique Furniture Today for more great information!

How to Get Maximum Value With Antique Furniture

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