10 valuable items that could be lurking in your loft

When was the last time you had a good clear out at home? If it’s been several years, it’s likely you won’t have any idea what’s lurking in your loft.

Old suitcases in an attic with dust and other boxes
But venturing up into the eaves to find out could be well worth the effort, as you may discover some hidden gems are worth a tidy sum of money.

Here are 10 items to keep a look out for…

1. Books

Most books are only worth a few pence, so you’re unlikely to make a fortune if you decide to sell them. But search through your collection with a shrewder eye and you could strike gold.

If you were among the first to read the Harry Potter books, for example, you might be fortunate enough to own a first edition. According to online marketplace, Abe Books, hardcover first edition first printings of Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone are particularly valuable.
 
Only 500 were published, 300 of which went to libraries. And because library books generally get a little bruised and battered – or even lost – this means there are only 200 copies that are considered potential collectors’ items. Could you own one of them?

In 2002, a copy of Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone sold for £10,575 at Sotheby’s auctioneers, while the highest price ever paid for a single Harry Potter book with Abe Books is £20,000.

2. Retro toys

Digging long-forgotten toys out from their storage boxes will not only send you on a trip down memory lane, it could make you richer.

Star Wars figures, in particular, can fetch a small fortune. According to Kathy Taylor of toy auctioneer, Vectis, the most expensive Star Wars figure sold by the company was a 1978 Jawa figure (complete with vinyl cape) which went under the hammer for £8,500. It originally retailed at 99p.

Pedigree Sindy dolls, Action Man figures, Dr Who toys and G.I. Joe figures can also prove valuable. G.I. Joe dolls can sell for as much as £800 or £900, says Ms Taylor, while one Sindy doll recently sold in its box for more than £1,000.
 
And before you think about throwing out clothing for your Sindy dolls – don’t! Clothes can actually be worth more as they are rarer.
Care Bears are another childhood toy that can be worth more than you think. Even if your bear isn’t in the best condition, it could earn you between £10 and £20 – and a lot more if it’s still in its original box.
 
And it’s not just the toys that can be worth something. The boxes alone can still attract bids at auction from those wanting to add value to their toy without a box!

3. Records

Vintage first-pressed Beatles or Elvis records can sell for thousands of pounds. But it’s fairly unlikely you’ll discover one hidden away in your loft. However, there are a number of far more recent records that could still earn you a decent sum of money.
 
According to experts at Record Collector Magazine, Mark Knopfler’s The Ragpicker’s Dream LP (2002) could fetch £60, as could GoldFrapp’s Black Cherry LP from 2000.

Meanwhile, U2’s All that you can’t leave behind (LP, 2002) could leave you £70 better off.

Both the 2LP set Demon Days by Gorillaz (2005) and Showbiz by Muse (2000) could each earn you £100.



4. Designer clothing and accessories

It’s not surprising that designer clothes and accessories can retain some of their value but in some cases, you might find they are now worth even more than when you bought them.

Brands such as Gucci, Louis Vuitton and Chanel tend to hold their value particularly well, so why not try your luck flogging them online? There are numerous websites that allow you to do this, such as Clothes Agency, or you could sell via the usual suspects such as eBay and Amazon Marketplace. Watch out for selling fees though, which you can read more about my article.

5. Vintage tableware

Trends have a tendency to come back around and lately, floral teacups, saucers and teapots have been slap-bang back in fashion. So have a rifle through your cupboards as you might discover that the old tea set your grandmother passed down to you a few years back is now worth a fair sum.

6. Kitchen equipment

Even toasters, mixers or sandwich makers which are now out of date but still lingering in your kitchen or loft, can fetch decent sums on auctions sites. At the time of writing, a vintage Kenwood Chef food mixer was going for £85 on eBay.

7. Comics and annuals

If you were a comics or annual collector in your childhood, you could be shocked to discover how much they are now worth. In fact, a new world record was set in 2004 when a first copy of The Dandy comic from 1937 was sold by Comic Book Auctions for £20,350. Company director, Malcolm Phillips, said its free gift (a brightly coloured tin whistle called ‘Express Whistler’) pushed up the value.

When free gifts are still enclosed like this, comics become high-value collectibles, even if the comic itself isn’t in tip-top condition. In its forthcoming auction, for example, Comic Book Auctions has a first copy of Lady Penelope from the 1960s, complete with its gift of a signet ring. It’s likely to sell for above its £200 reserve.

Digging long-forgotten toys out from their storage boxes will not only send you on a trip down memory lane, it could make you richer.

Star Wars figures, in particular, can fetch a small fortune. According to Kathy Taylor of toy auctioneer, Vectis, the most expensive Star Wars figure sold by the company was a 1978 Jawa figure (complete with vinyl cape) which went under the hammer for £8,500. It originally retailed at 99p.

Pedigree Sindy dolls, Action Man figures, Dr Who toys and G.I. Joe figures can also prove valuable. G.I. Joe dolls can sell for as much as £800 or £900, says Ms Taylor, while one Sindy doll recently sold in its box for more than £1,000.
 
And before you think about throwing out clothing for your Sindy dolls – don’t! Clothes can actually be worth more as they are rarer.
Care Bears are another childhood toy that can be worth more than you think. Even if your bear isn’t in the best condition, it could earn you between £10 and £20 – and a lot more if it’s still in its original box.
 
And it’s not just the toys that can be worth something. The boxes alone can still attract bids at auction from those wanting to add value to their toy without a box!

3. Records

Vintage first-pressed Beatles or Elvis records can sell for thousands of pounds. But it’s fairly unlikely you’ll discover one hidden away in your loft. However, there are a number of far more recent records that could still earn you a decent sum of money.
 
According to experts at Record Collector Magazine, Mark Knopfler’s The Ragpicker’s Dream LP (2002) could fetch £60, as could GoldFrapp’s Black Cherry LP from 2000.

Meanwhile, U2’s All that you can’t leave behind (LP, 2002) could leave you £70 better off.

Both the 2LP set Demon Days by Gorillaz (2005) and Showbiz by Muse (2000) could each earn you £100.


4. Designer clothing and accessories

It’s not surprising that designer clothes and accessories can retain some of their value but in some cases, you might find they are now worth even more than when you bought them.

Brands such as Gucci, Louis Vuitton and Chanel tend to hold their value particularly well, so why not try your luck flogging them online? There are numerous websites that allow you to do this, such as Clothes Agency, or you could sell via the usual suspects such as eBay and Amazon Marketplace. Watch out for selling fees though, which you can read more about my article.

5. Vintage tableware

Trends have a tendency to come back around and lately, floral teacups, saucers and teapots have been slap-bang back in fashion. So have a rifle through your cupboards as you might discover that the old tea set your grandmother passed down to you a few years back is now worth a fair sum.

6. Kitchen equipment

Even toasters, mixers or sandwich makers which are now out of date but still lingering in your kitchen or loft, can fetch decent sums on auctions sites. At the time of writing, a vintage Kenwood Chef food mixer was going for £85 on eBay.

7. Comics and annuals

If you were a comics or annual collector in your childhood, you could be shocked to discover how much they are now worth. In fact, a new world record was set in 2004 when a first copy of The Dandy comic from 1937 was sold by Comic Book Auctions for £20,350. Company director, Malcolm Phillips, said its free gift (a brightly coloured tin whistle called ‘Express Whistler’) pushed up the value.

When free gifts are still enclosed like this, comics become high-value collectibles, even if the comic itself isn’t in tip-top condition. In its forthcoming auction, for example, Comic Book Auctions has a first copy of Lady Penelope from the 1960s, complete with its gift of a signet ring. It’s likely to sell for above its £200 reserve.

Beano and Dandy comics from the war years are also widely collected and go for hundreds of pounds each because of their unique propaganda appeal and relative rarity, according to Mr Phillips. 

8. Cameras

Cameras are another classic item that can go for a decent sum of money on auction sites – particularly if you own a vintage Leica, Rollei or Hasselblad camera. But even just your old Polaroid could fetch you around £20 to £50.

9. Tablets and smartphones

If you’ve recently upgraded your smartphone or tablet and left your old model gathering dust somewhere, why not find out whether it’s worth something?

Websites such as Mobilecashmate allow you to recycle your old phones/tablets for cash. Obviously the better condition it’s in, the more you’ll get. An old Samsung Galaxy S II i9100, for example, could fetch as much as £68. You can read more about recycling gadgets in Mark Hooson’s article.

10. Clocks

Carriage, Grandfather or cuckoo … if you’ve got an old clock that time has forgotten, don’t assume it’s worthless. Some clocks go for hundreds, if not thousands of pounds on auction websites so it could be worth getting yours valued.

Finally…

If you do unearth any valuables, remember to factor the extra worth into your home contents insurance policy, otherwise you could find yourself underinsured.

Please note: any rates or deals mentioned in this article were available at the time of writing. Click on a highlighted product and apply direct.

 

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