Collecting has become a serious investment, not just a hobby, even when it comes to items that used to be thought of as junk.
You’d be surprised what sells, so don’t just chuck something out in your spring cleaning just because you think it’s rubbish.
Take a look at these 12 ways to make money collecting and see what weird and wonderful items in your attic might be able to make you a fortune!
- Make money collecting comic books
- Make money collecting old phones
- Make money collecting piggy banks
- Make money collecting vintage computers
- Make money collecting Ladybird books
- Make money collecting vintage shoes
- Make money collecting Barbies
- Make money collecting Hollywood memorabilia
- Make money collecting Harry Potter
- Make money collecting snow globes
- Make money collecting Bakerlite
- Make money collecting Chinese snuff bottles
Collecting comics isn’t just for kids – famous adult collectors include Nicolas Cage, Samuel L Jackson and Jonathan Ross.
Collecting comics can be fun but it can also make you some serious cash if you know what you’re looking for. Here are a few tips:
- Generally, the older the item, the rarer it is and is therefore more valuable.
- Misprints, recalled editions, promotional issues and special features are usually rare, and so are higher in value.
- In comics many central characters would have been introduced in early editions so theses comic books are highly sought after.
- Finally, the older the item, the fewer are likely to have survived which means they will be very valuable.
The market’s limited to models from the early to late 1980s, so anything from the 90s onwards, when the mobile market exploded, isn’t valuable.
This might sound surprising, but like so many other collectibles, the humble piggy has risen over the past few years from unloved children’s ornament to a valuable item that can change hands for upwards of £50 at car boot sales, on websites and at collectors’ fairs.
If you had a NatWest children’s account in the 80s or early 90s and can’t remember throwing out the piggy bank, you would be well advised to hunt it down.
In October 2014 one of Apple’s first pre-assembled computers – the Apple-1 – was sold for a staggering $905,000 at an auction in New York.
A recycling company in the US has just announced that it’s looking for a lady who brought in a box of electronic ‘junk’ including what turned out to be one of the original Apple computers. It sold for around $200,000 and the company wants to find her so that they can give her her 50% share!
So it shows that you need to check quite carefully before you throw away old computers, particularly any really old ones or any made by Apple!
Many people who grew up using the old computers and consoles are now feeling a sense of nostalgia and so are compelled to get their hands back on a model that they have not had access to for some time.
If you think you have an old computer or console getting dusty in your attic, click here to see how you can cash-in on this trend!
If you’re a parent, chance are one of your offspring currently has their nose in a classic Ladybird book, wrestle it out of their hands at once, put it in plastic and stick it in the attic. It could be worth some sensible money.
Because on the quiet, and almost under the noses of traditional booksellers, the desirability of Ladybird books has risen over the past few years to the point that some rare and collectible copies can now change hands for around £300.
The Ladybird imprint is actually 100 years old this year which shows just how vintage some of their books are now. You might have a rare one hanging about the attic.
You can find Ladybird books in car boot sales, jumble sales, charity shops and on websites. Prices for Ladybird books seem to depend on two main factors – which series they are from (some are much more popular than others) and how rare they are but if you find a hidden gem you could make a good lump of cash.
Although second-hand shoes have not been at the centre of the recent retro revival, our new-found interest in the fashions worn by previous generations has created an opportunity for collectors.
In fact there has never been a better time to dip your toes into the vintage shoe market.
Given that people have long disposed of their old shoes, you can expect to find unwanted footwear in all sorts of places. Happy hunting grounds are charity shops, car boot sales, attics and even the back of your mum’s wardrobe.
Take a look on eBay, where you’ll get an idea of prices currently being paid for vintage shoes and which types are most popular. Keep a close eye on the fashion press, too, to see where the style trends are heading.
Despite being 53 years old, Barbie’s pulling power has remained defiantly undiminished. She is officially the biggest selling toy in history: three Barbies are sold every second!
The bombshell first burst, fully formed, onto the toy scene in 1959 and now, standing at just under 12 inches tall, she heads a business worth almost two billion dollars a year. Individual dolls can be worth thousands of pounds.
Collecting popular culture memorabilia is a fun and exciting way of making money. Props, costumes and rare records can be a great investment, with some valuable items turning up in the strangest places.
With film, Hollywood memorabilia is much more popular (and therefore valuable) than items from British cinema and these collectibles have grown in popularity as music and films have become bigger business. When it comes to music, Beatles artefacts are the most collectible worldwide.
Elvis Presley memorabilia is hugely popular with people paying anything from £5 for a new Elvis doll to $100,000 upwards for a rare Vegas suit.
More books are published, per head, here than in any other country, and us Brits are also avid book collectors.
It’s still possible to find a gem in charity shops and at car boot sales, but it’s getting harder all the time. You will have to pick up an awful lot of rocks before you find the diamond.
- the popularity of the author,
- the rarity of the book
- and its condition.
Collecting modern first editions is a good place to start because it’s considered relatively straightforward and cheap and of course silver screen adaptations like Harry Potter and Lord of the Rings are always in demand by collectors and sellers.
It may not seem like a great money-making opportunity, but in the UK snow domes picked up for only a few pounds at a car boot sale can go for £15 in specialist shops if they are in reasonable condition and have unusual designs.
Their appeal for many collectors is emotional. “They are perfect, little, untouched worlds that remind you of the lost simplicity of childhood,” says London collector Lucy Summers.
Chances are you have no clue what bakelite is right? Well don’t worry you’re not the only one… so you probably didn’t know it’s a nice little money maker too.
Bakelite is a precursor to plastic. It was used a lot in the first part of the 20th century for all kinds of things.
It was formed as part of the casing for the bouncing bombs dropped on German dams by the RAF during the Second World War, but it had rather more domestic applications, too. These included being made into buttons, telephones, television sets, bangles and more.
Now Bakelite has proved itself to be in demand for yet another reason – as a valuable collector’s item.
You could earn anything from 50p for a Bakelite sock-darner to £1,000s for a nicely-shaped, brightly-coloured radio in good condition so if you want to know more take a look at our article on how you can make a pretty penny from Bakelite.
Chinese snuff bottles were created after the Chinese began importing tobacco in the late 16th century.
They considered smoking it to be harmful, but thought that taking it as snuff was actually medicinal (!), hence the production of snuff bottles rather than boxes or tins, as used in the West, because that was how medicines were carried about.
In recent years the price of good-quality Chinese snuff bottles has shot up thanks to the growing knowledge of collectors. Get yourself some know-how on these trinkets and you could discover a fun way to make extra money on the side.
Do you make money collecting or selling rare items? Maybe you’ve now been inspired to give it a go?
Let us know in the comments below or on Twitter here @MoneyMagpie