These 10 Items Worth More Than You Think


If you've just inherited something, relax and check it out. These things might be worth more than you realize.

After 25 years of evaluating and selling antiques, I understand how challenging it can be to handle an inherited estate. Here's how it typically goes: a family inherits a house filled with generations' worth of stuff and feels overwhelmed. They pick a few items for themselves and get rid of the rest by renting a dumpster.

Even though this method might seem practical, it's a huge missed opportunity. Some seemingly ordinary items can actually be quite valuable. So, if you've recently inherited, relax and assess the situation. These items might be more valuable than you realize.

1. Kitchenware

Check your kitchen cabinets – they could hold some valuable items! People really like buying cookware with a history of use. Keep an eye out for Pyrex and Fire-King casserole dishes, Texas Ware mixing bowls (like the one in the picture), and Revere Ware pots and pans. These brands aren't just practical; they're also sought-after collectibles.

2. Furniture from the midcentury

From architectural elements to small tables, midcentury design is currently popular. If you've inherited a home filled with midcentury modern furniture, you might be in for a pleasant surprise.

Buyers are interested in more than just high-end designers. Furniture that was midrange when initially made, such as pieces from Heywood-Wakefield, can now fetch several hundred dollars.

3. Old tools

At estate sales, I've seen people head straight to the garage or basement workshop to find tools. Vintage Craftsman, Skil, and Stanley items are popular because they're better quality than modern ones.

You don't have to clear out the whole toolshed. If you inherit one of these 20 valuable old tools, you can even hire a handyman whenever you need help.

4. Vintage phones

Vintage is back in style. Collectors are willing to spend a lot on rotary phones crafted from an early plastic called Bakelite. Princess phones from the 1960s and '70s, especially in unique colors like pink, mint green, and orange, are highly sought after and fetch high prices.

5. Vintage clothes

Do you have closets full of vintage clothes, shoes, and accessories from an inheritance? There's a market waiting for them.

ThredUp, an online consignment and thrift store, predicts that the global used clothing market will reach $350 billion by 2027. This demand is driven by a new generation of consumers who value sustainability and admire the quality and style of vintage clothing.

6. Stainless steel silverware

The stainless steel flatware you find in many department stores nowadays might as well be called 'bentware.' It simply doesn't match up in terms of quality and durability compared to pieces from the 1960s and '70s. People are recognizing this and are willing to pay more for better quality.

7. Vintage eyeglasses

Companies like Warby Parker have found success by offering eyeglass frames with a vintage flair. However, there's a robust demand for genuinely old-school glasses. The following styles are currently popular:

  • 1950s "Cat-eye" frames
  • Round wire frames
  • Horn-rimmed frames (also known as "Buddy Holly glasses")

Vintage pieces in good condition can fetch prices ranging from $25 to $65 per pair.

8. Retro Christmas Ornaments

For Christmas decoration enthusiasts, Santa Claus is indeed real. Vintage glass ornaments crafted in Germany by Shiny Brite are in demand throughout the year.

And those ceramic tabletop Christmas trees from the 1970s? Nowadays, they're fetching hundreds of dollars.

9. Unique artwork

Over time, lots of older adults gathered family art spanning generations. Whether bought in a gallery or crafted by an aspiring artist, original creative pieces can fetch a good amount of money.

And even if it looks a bit rough, don't dismiss art that seems crudely done. Pieces described as 'naive' or 'outsider art' might actually be valuable.

10. Old records

That collection of vinyl records in milk crates might have a hidden treasure. Even if you don't own one of the rarest records ever, you could still earn a good amount in the resale market.

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