15 Retro Items That Have Surprisingly Appreciated in Value

Have you ever noticed that fashions and fads tend to circle back every few decades to become trendy again? It almost makes me want to never throw anything away.

Maybe that’s why some people have a packed garage or attic filled with boxes of “junk” they refuse to throw away. You never know;. These boxes could be literal treasure chests.

Retro items, such as clothing, electronics, decorations, or furniture, have become popular again, thus making them worth some serious dough. If you own any of these items, you might want to get them appraised. You could be sitting on a possible goldmine.

1. Musical Instruments

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If you had a parent or a grandparent who was a musician, you should search the attic for their old instruments. Vintage guitars and pianos are particularly hot items these days.

Guitar collectors are looking for Fender-brand guitars from the ’50s and ’60s. Fender Stratocasters can be sold for as much as $1,700. Depending on the year and brand, pianos can fetch a much higher price tag. Check out the Blue Book of Pianos to see if you have anything worth some money.

2. Pyrex Cookware

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If you grew up from the ’40s through the ’80s, it’s a safe bet you watched your mom and grandma bake with this iconic cookware. A recent resurgence in these pastel and classic patterned dishes is the result of viral TikTok trends.

Collectors have sought out some of these pieces at estate sales, garage sales, and swap meets. Pieces in pristine condition can be worth as much as $3,000.

3. First Edition Books

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Book collectors are always on the hunt for rare, first-edition books. Often, they can be found buried in someone’s garage, while the owner is utterly unaware of the potential goldmine they have stashed away in a dusty corner.

Classic books and famous authors can earn the most money. The rare first edition of Chaucer’s The Canterbury Tales from 1476 has gone for more than $15,000, while the first edition of Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone sold for just less than $7,000.

4. Vinyl Records

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An entire generation of people is kicking themselves for not holding onto their old vinyl records. The once-outdated technology has come back into style, and record collectors will pay an arm and a leg for some classic albums.

Vinyl from classic artists like The Rolling Stones, The Beatles, Bob Dylan, Elvis, and Michael Jackson can sell at auction for over $1,000. Imagine if your parents hadn’t sold these for a quarter a piece at a yard sale 20 years ago to free up garage space. They could have put you through college.

5. Typewriters

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Computers have made the typewriter completely obsolete. There’s no need for this vintage machine, yet collectors still look for retro typewriters for a sense of nostalgia. They have become decorative pieces in someone’s office or den.

If you find a model from the 1940s or earlier, you can sell it at an auction for at least $800. That’s not a bad trade for something you considered a hunk of junk just a few minutes ago.

6. Original Nintendos

Nintendo Entertainment System
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Gamers love old-school retro games. They get them a chance to relive their childhood and play the games that made them fall in love with gaming.

Vintage video games have become a big market, and an original Nintendo Entertainment Set, paired with some original games, can be worth over $1,000. If you have a system tucked away in a closet, check and see if it still works. If so, you could soon book a vacation with the extra money you just made.

7. Furniture

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They just don’t make furniture the way they used to. I am currently writing at my grandfather’s old desk, built in the 1950s, and it’s still as strong as the day it was built. There weren’t big box stores selling particle board furniture you had to assemble yourself. You bought pieces made of solid wood.

Antique chests of drawers, dressers, desks, and tables can be easily refurbished to brighten them up and prepare them for auction. These vintage pieces can easily earn you over $2,000.

8. Toys and Board Games

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Those board games you used to play as a family on Friday nights could be worth some serious cash. Fully intact vintage editions of classic games like Monopoly and Scrabble are a gem for toy collectors.

Look for special franchises of toys like Barbie, Star Wars, G.I. Joe, My Little Pony, and Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. Collectors want these types of toys, and specific models can cost up to $1,000.

9. Original Fiestaware

Contemporary Fiesta
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Fiestaware has been around since the 1930s. The iconic glassware came in several bright colors, but the original colors have the most value. Red, Cobalt, Yellow, Light Green, Old Ivory, and Turquoise were at one point discontinued.

If you stumble across some plates and bowls in these colors, congratulations. You’re in for a payday. These original sets can sell for as much as $1,500.

10. Crayola Crayons

Crayola Crayons
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Crayons were a big part of most of our childhoods. Coloring books were the original thing parents gave us to keep us quiet before iPads were invented. They were always a fun way to kill an afternoon, as long as you had the classic 64-pack of Crayola Crayons.

I don’t know why you would, but if you had a crystal ball and could see the future, you would know how smart it would be to keep an unopened box from the ’60s. One of these boxes could be worth up to $500.

11. Rotary Phones

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There was once a time when we attached these heavy old phones to our kitchen walls. You picked up a ringing phone, completely unaware of who was on the other side. There was no way to screen calls from someone you didn’t want to talk to, and if you called your friends, you had to risk talking to their parents.

If your grandma is anything like mine, she still has an old rotary phone on her wall. Maybe she knew something we didn’t because rotary phones have become valuable these days, and some can go for a couple hundred bucks.

12. Silverware

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Most of our parents had a fancy set of silverware intended only for special occasions, even though those occasions never happened. They just sat in the drawer, waiting for royalty to enter our modest home.

Some of these silverware sets might have been passed down from your grandparents or great-grandparents. If they’re really old, they could be made of valuable silver. Keep an eye on those because if they are a specific style, they could be worth a lot of money, sometimes in the thousand-dollar range.

13. Sewing Machine

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There was once a time when a sewing machine was a common feature in someone’s home. If you had a rip or tear in your clothing, you could easily fix it at home. It is a dying skill these days, but collectors are clamoring over these retro items.

Some of these retro sewing machines have a price tag of over $1,000 — and that’s on the low end. Auction sites have listed models selling for as much as $3,500.

14. Malm Fireplace

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I think these fireplaces were prominent in every movie set in the 1950s. They definitely have a 1950s feel. They’re big and round at the bottom and have a tall, skinny chimney. When they were introduced in the 1950s they had a futuristic feel, but now, they just look like a piece out of a time capsule.

Malm Fireplaces was the most popular brand and is still popular today. For those who want that 1950s nostalgia feel, these fireplaces can be worth as much as $5,000.

15. Cookie Jars

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Does anyone keep a cookie jar on their counter? Would the younger generation even understand if the idea of a cookie jar was brought up? The invention of Tupperware might have eliminated the need for a cookie jar.

Collectors are trying to buy back a memory from their childhood. There’s a whole niche of these people collecting these vintage jars. Will they fill them with cookies, or are they purely decorative now?

















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