We deal in junk hauling and we’ve dealt with just about every item imaginable as our customers get rid of excess furniture or appliances. But not everything that gets thrown away is worthless. In fact, some of the stuff you’re considering tossing may be worth a fortune. How can you tell what may fetch a large price and what is just junk?
Sometimes it takes an expert. In a Houston Herald article on the subject, auction director Al Crisafulli told the story of a family whose baseball bat was used for decades as a personal protection device. They kept it by the door in case of intruders. It turns out that the bat was used by Lou Gehrig. It sold at auction for $430,000!
You may not have Lou Gehrig’s bat at your home, but some of the items gathering dust in you closet may be worth something and you’d be better off selling rather than calling the junk removers to take it away. Items that can potentially be valuable include things such as baseball cards. It stands to reason that older cards and those featuring well-known stars (think Babe Ruth or Ty Cobb) are more valuable than newer ones or those with new or relatively unknown players.
According to the Herald article, Crisafulli says that cards older than 1960 are the truly collectible ones. The condition of the cards will also determine how much they may fetch. Those with sharp corners and in pristine condition will sell for more money than bent or damaged cards. Those from the turn of the (last) century are rarer and much more valuable. While mostly the product of bubblegum companies today, older cards were once the domain of tobacco companies. Should you have baseball cards in your home you might want to look for brand names like Piedmont, American Caramel (a candy company) or Old Judge.
Other items that may be valuable are postcards. Most truly are junk (except they may have sentimental value to you) but older ones which have movie stars or other famous faces can be wroth a lot. So-called “real photo” cards produced from the early 20th century to the 1940s can be worth a pretty penny. These are postcards which have photos printed on their backs. Others may be “hold-to-light” postcards which reveal hidden images when held to a strong light source.
Old toys can also be a source of treasure. One man now in his 50s began collecting Star Wars characters in the 70s when the movie franchise just began. His collection may end up sending his kids to college. Other toys like early Disney characters or superhero toys can end up selling for high auction prices.
Some people spend a significant amount of time looking through OTHER people’s junk in hopes of finding a treasure. A local news station in Georgia ran a story on their website about just one such person, Jim Daniel, who scours local estate sales or yard sales looking for something valuable. He refers to himself and others who do this as “junkers.” A good find for him may be kitchen utensils from the 50s (still in packaging) or toy train sets. He says a train set from before World War II may fetch around $2,000. Other items may be less or more valuable depending on what’s popular at the time.
While it pays (sometimes literally) to check out your junk before getting rid of it, not everyone is going to have hidden gems in their closet or attic that will allow them to retire early. There are other ways to recycle or reuse household items. One way is to use those obsolete or damaged items in artwork or decoration.
“Junk to treasure” is a popular search term on the Internet and many websites and even brick and mortar shops cater to those looking for something unique. DIYers may want to take a formerly cherished item and repurpose it. Taking a look at some of the pins on the “Junk to Treasure” Pinterest page one can see how even an old cheese grater can become a work of art. If you have the time for it, repurposing what was considered junk can result in attractive memorabilia. Turning junk into a collage may even result in a welcome payday if you’re able to sell your art piece.
The upshot of all this is that, while you may need to call the junk removal company nearest you to declutter and divest yourself of unwanted or unneeded items (and we’re happy to oblige) you should take a moment to ask yourself if what you’re getting rid of could be valuable. If it turns out to be so, you’ll be glad you did.
Check out this art appraiser: https://www.art-appraisals.net/