Most of us will never find a treasure like the sweater once owned by legendary soccer coach Vince Lombardi that a Knoxville, Tennessee couple bought at Goodwill for 58 cents and resold for $ 43,000.
But, lift your head. There is still a lot of profit to be made from the humble objects that surround us every day, even for things that people might call garbage.
After three decades of thrift shopping, dumpster diving, and reselling, I found and sold some true rarities. Here are some amazing things you can sell for extra money.
Yes, you read that right. At a garage sale in 2019, my brother bought a set of used false teeth for $ 1. He quickly launched them on eBay for $ 75.
Buyers of this item fall into two categories: rarity collectors, and people who just can’t or won’t pay $ 900 to $ 1,200 for a new set of helicopters.
2. Old road maps
Road maps are popular with artisans and collectors of oil and gas memorabilia. Older maps with flashy graphics sell particularly well, as do maps from defunct companies like Conoco and Skelly.
3. Ugly Christmas sweaters
Mark your calendars – Every year in November, online sales of ugly Christmas sweaters start to spike.
Companies like Drunk elves they’re cashing in on Americans’ love of ridiculous outfit and making deliberately ugly new sweaters. But don’t worry, used sweaters sell very well too, and thrift stores are full of them.
In this category, stickier is better. Christmas-themed sweaters dazzled with sequins, trims, ruffles, and garlands sell for a hefty price. Every Christmas season, I sell 10-15 ugly sweaters on eBay for around $ 30 each.
4. Sea glass
If you live along the coast, go to the beach. Sea glass dropped by the waves is a fashionable product among jewelers and artisans.
Red, orange and amber sea crystals are especially prized. I’ve seen 11 pieces of red and orange sea glass sell for $ 170 on eBay.
5. Registration plates
That pile of old metal plates in your garage is worth money. In a cleaning frenzy one summer, I sold 25 plates for $ 30 on Craigslist.
Shoppers use license plates to decorate men’s caves, create art and build cool birdhouses.
Although there is a market for all metal plates, serious collectors pay a premium for pieces that are older, in good condition, and from non-contiguous states (Alaska and Hawaii).
6. Old glasses
Your great-grandmother’s wire-frame glasses are likely filled with gold, which is worth between $ 20- $ 40. Look for the abbreviation “GF” (filled with gold) preceded by a karat rating.
Gold or not, vintage cat eye glasses from the 1950s sell well too. Retro fashionistas will pay $ 30- $ 50 for ornate examples.
7. Vintage hotel keychains
Readers of a certain age will remember the diamond-shaped plastic hotel key rings (also called key rings or key rings) from the 1960s and 1970s. Today, they are a kitschy collectible.
Although collectors pay big bucks for key chains from famous destinations like The Dunes in Las Vegas, don’t rule out road dives. Expect each keychain to sell for $ 5 to $ 15 on eBay or Etsy.
Large chunks of driftwood are used in landscaping, furniture building, terrarium design, and taxidermy projects. Simple shapes cost $ 10-15, while larger, more interesting shapes can fetch $ 30 or more.
One word of caution: Before collecting driftwood on public land, check with your local authorities. Many areas prohibit the removal of any natural material.
9. Old keys
Generally made of iron or brass, antique keys are all the rage. Designers use these rustic gems to make jewelry, artisans turn them into wind chimes, and collectors frame and display them.
Last summer, I sold several old keys at a garage sale for $ 3 each. Online, buyers will pay between $ 10 and $ 15 for a unique and unique key.
10. Big pineapples
Mom and Dad correction: money does it grow on trees.
I have five large pine trees in my yard, and from time to time I collect and sell the largest pine cones that have fallen to the ground.
Decorators use pinecones as decorative texture pieces. Holiday enthusiasts use them to make wreaths and decorate tables. I’ve seen giant cones (9 inches or larger) sell for almost $ 9 each on Etsy.
11. Discontinued products
When my old favorite moisturizer, Complex 15, was discontinued, I turned to eBay in a desperate attempt to rack up every last drop. To my dismay, tubes of my $ 8.99 moisturizer were selling for almost $ 100 each.
The lesson? Some products have a tremendously devoted fan base. Before you throw anything away, check the prices online.
12. Old coffee cups
Have a closet full of coffee cups? Before ordering, please check the values.
Some mugs made by Fire-King are hot with collectors. Look especially for pieces made from milk glass (a type of opaque white glass) that features characters from the Peanuts comic strip. Depending on the rarity and condition, some of these glasses sell for hundreds of dollars on eBay and Etsy.
Fire-King also made mugs out of jadeite, an opaque green glass. The heavier jadeite pieces in the Fire-King’s Restaurant Ware line are particularly valuable. A single cup of jadeite can sell for between $ 35 and $ 40.
13. Modern paper money
Yes, your money is worth money. Modern invoices with elegant serial numbers It can be sold for more than its face value.
Check your wallet to see if you have bills with:
- Solid Serial Numbers – All digits are equal (44444444)
- Repeater serial numbers: digits in the first half of the number are repeated in the second half (40014001)
- Ladder Serial Numbers – Each digit is a number greater or less than the previous one (23456789)
- Serial numbers too low (00000110) or too high (99999979)
14. Old yearbooks
Yearbooks attract three audiences:
- Celebrity memorabilia collectors scour vintage yearbooks to find famous names and signatures.
- Graduates of a particular school buy yearbooks to reconnect with their history.
- Artists of all kinds use yearbooks to obtain old photographs and advertisements.
Values vary by year and school. I once sold a collection of four not-so-spectacular yearbooks for $ 18, and I saw a 1953 high school yearbook containing Sandy Koufax’s senior photo for $ 230 on eBay.
15. Rotary phones
Although your grandchildren probably have no idea how to use it, that rotary phone stored in the attic is worth money.
Collectors pay a premium for phones that work in bold colors like orange, pink, mint green, and blue. I once saw a dark blue rotary desk phone sell for $ 180 on eBay.
16. Vintage photographs and postcards
Is there a shoe box full of old snapshots and postcards hidden under your bed? It could be worth a few dollars.
Old images are used as accent pieces for home decoration and incorporated into works of art. Postcard collectors (yes, that’s one thing) pay big bucks for vintage cards with iconic moments in history, famous ocean liners, or Halloween images. I’ve seen a 1911 Halloween postcard sell for $ 189 on eBay.
17. Typewriter keys
Ready to throw that old Smith Corona away? Rescue the keys first! Old manual typewriter keys are reused by jewelers, mosaic artists, and scrapbooking.
A couple of years ago, I removed 55 keys from two heavily damaged 1940s typewriters. I sold the lot for $ 35 on Etsy.
Disclosure: The information you read here is always objective. However, we sometimes receive compensation when you click on links within our stories.