Retirement Income

Clean out your home and make some cash

Clean out your home and make some cash


“Books are one of the biggest antique goldmines,” says John Linden, lead designer at MirrorCoop whose work includes interior design with vintage and antique decor. “Collectors pay a lot of money for first-edition copies of certain books. A first-edition copy of James Joyce’s Ulysses, for example, is valued at around $US8,000; while there were only 1,000 copies printed, those books pop up all the time, says Linden. If you own one of these rare books, you’re sitting on a gold mine. 

Costumes and masks

“Vintage Halloween masks and costumes are fun and collectible, but not worth a ton of money,” says Gary Germer, owner and appraiser with Gary Germer & Associates. A Darth Vader mask recently sold for $US47 on the estate sales website Everything But The House; a set of Star Trek shirts sold for $US91. Vintage holiday decorations can also be pretty valuable. 

Old microphones

Some of us sang into hairbrushes while others used a real microphone. If you have a vintage microphone laying around, you could find a musician or music producer who would be willing to spend for it. Rare finds like the Neumann U-47 from the 1940s are worth tens of thousands of dollars online, Orkin says. But the vintage microphones most people are likely to find stashed away in a box is from a maker called Shure, which could probably fetch around $US50, Orkin says. 

Vintage cookbooks

Take a closer look at the old cookbooks that have been handed down to you; even if they have been lovingly used in the kitchen, they could be worth some scratch. Linden says cookbooks that have gone out of print are highly valuable. And celebrity chefs like the beloved Julia Child are always in demand. “In fact, there is a 1961 first edition of Mastering the Art of French Cooking selling on AbeBooks for $US2,000 right now,” Linden says.

Pedal cars

You hung onto your grandpa’s pedal car for nostalgic reasons, but depending on the age and condition, it could be a goldmine. Even with a little rust on it, a 1930 Lincoln pedal car is worth about $US1,000, Germer says.

Written by Lisa Marie Conklin. This article first appeared in Reader’s Digest. For more of what you love from the world’s best-loved magazine, here’s our best subscription offer.

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