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From our grandparents, many of us will inherit a lifetime of objects that only appear to have sentimental value. However, if you’re not up on your antiques, you could be in possession of a fortune without realizing what you’ve got. That’s because there are a number of vintage gems that may have unexpectedly been increasing in value over the years. Here’s 40 that you need to know about.

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40. Antique rolling baker’s rack

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If you had a baker in your family, you may have come across one of these quite unassuming-looking rolling racks. In the early 20th century, food factories used them to store and move freshly baked bread around the premises. The racks are quite common, but nevertheless, they could fetch up to $425 at auction, appraiser Bene Raia told Country Living magazine in 2019.

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39. Your grandma’s wedding dress

Lots of women hold on to their wedding dresses, which is good news for vintage fans who want to tie the knot in something retro. The most sought after designs tend to come from the 1910s up to the 1950s. Their value will, of course, depend on their condition. Some gowns from the early 20th century, however, can sell for over $1,000.

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38. First edition books

If you’ve inherited an epic book collection from your grandparents, then you’re incredibly lucky. But it’s also worth checking to see if you have any first editions of well-known titles. In 2016 Eric Silver, an appraiser on Antiques Roadshow, told Country Living magazine, “First editions of books from the 30s, 40s or 50s can sometimes be worth tens of thousands of dollars.”

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37. Land deeds

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Land deeds are the type of documents often passed down from generation to generation. And while most of them will be of little interest to anyone outside of the families they concern, if they’ve passed through the hands of a famous person or historical figure they could be worth money. War commissions can also hold value, but again they must involve someone of note – like a famous general.

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36. Yo-Yo quilts

So-called Yo-Yo quilts were all the rage in the 1930s when the toy of the same name gained prominence. In 2019 Marsha Bemko from the Antiques Roadshow told Country Living magazine, “Hundreds of cotton circles were cut and hand-sewn together to make this coverlet.” Today the quirky bedclothes are worth around $275.

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35. Violet Columbia Mason jar

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These purple-tinted jars were made accidentally when manufacturers mistakenly added manganese to the glass. This gave them a violet color when placed in sunlight. Nevertheless, the kitchenware was made available to customers in 1905. They are said to be very rare, and could, therefore, carry a hefty price tag of $400.

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34. Cast-iron mailbox

Not all old cast-iron mailboxes will be worth much money. But if you happen to get your hands on a Griswold one from the early 20th century, then you could be on to a winner. They’re worth around $125 and, in this instance, the plainer the item the better. That’s because versions left in their original form are worth more than painted ones.

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33. Dollhouses

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Dollhouses made by the British toy-making firm Lines Brothers, under the Tri-ang brand name, are worth more than $100, according to eBay. However, the biggest house the company ever made was produced in 1924 and measured almost six feet wide. This mammoth plaything is the stately home of the Tri-ang world and is worth around $2,000.

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32. Upside-down Ball Mason jar

The Upside-down Ball Mason jar spawned from a molding error which led to the name and logo being stamped upside-down. Only about 12 of these accidental models were made. However, from 1900 to 1910 other Mason jars were turned on their heads on purpose, for use as dispensers. These carry a value of up to $1,000.

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31. Old soda crates

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The soda industry was in its infancy at the turn of the 20th century, created by local drugstores making their own concoctions to sell to customers. Many of these small-batch recipes were packed into hand-stenciled crates before delivery. Now rare, these decorative delivery boxes are worth as much as $200. More recent examples from the 50s and 60s, however, are worth around $20.

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30. Perfume bottles

Vintage perfume bottles are like miniature works of art. During the 19th century each one would was handmade by expert glassblowers. Some big names in this field were the Boston & Sandwich Glass Company and the New England Glass Company. If you have bottles from either of these firms in mint condition, they could be worth up to $1,000.

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29. Silverware

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If you happened to inherit your grandmother’s dinnerware, then you may have hit the jackpot. In 2016 appraiser Amy Parenti, from Freeman’s auction house in Philadelphia, told Country Living magazine, “People often inherit silver. It would be valuable if it’s from a company such as, say, Tiffany or Gorham. If it’s much older, or a flatware service, it’ll also be worth more.”

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28. Christmas ornaments

Many families pass Christmas decorations down through the generations, and some of them could be valuable. Silver explained, “The material they’re made out of, like hand-blown glass, could make them very valuable. One blown-glass ornament was listed at $1,700. There’s another called a Kugel, which is German and pear-shaped, which is $18,000.”

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You’d be forgiven for thinking that costume jewelry is worth little in comparison to real gems. However, that’s not always the case. Silver told Country Living magazine, “Costume jewelry, depending on the maker, can be worth as much or more than real diamonds or precious stone jewelry. There are plenty of recognized makers, such as Miriam Haskell, whose costume jewelry can sell for thousands of dollars.”

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26. Vintage toasters

Toasters that come in pastel colors are definitely fashionable at the moment. As a result, some vintage editions may be worth a pretty penny, even though they’re like an everyday item. Toaster enthusiasts even have their own dedicated trade associations. As Silver explained, “For every item that you have in your house, some version of it might be very valuable.”

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25. Football programs

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Sporting memorabilia is big business and even your old football programs might have value. And items that concern old Yale vs. Harvard sports contests are extremely collectible. In 2019 Heritage Auctions’ Marsha Dixey valued some rare programs from the turn of the 20th century at $700 when giving an appraisal for Country Living magazine.

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24. Antique mechanical banks

Early 20th century banks could be worth a handsome sum, particularly if they have an automatic component. Parenti told Country Living magazine, “One mechanical bank involved putting in a coin, and a young child would go down a slide. That was found in someone’s attic, and it actually sold for quite a high price.”

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23. Old pens

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A pen might appear too common to have any value. Some writing utensils, however, could fetch a high price, particularly if they have historical value. The Antiques Roadshow presenter explained, “There was one fountain pen that sold for $950. Valuable pens could have been used by the president to sign proclamations or laws.”

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22. Postcards

People tend to keep correspondence because of its sentimental value, but some mail is extremely collectible. According to Parenti, “People also often have a lot of postcards, and those can be a value, especially if they’re pre-World War I Halloween cards and postcards that have been handmade from the Victorian era.”

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21. Louis Vuitton trunks

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If your grandparents liked to travel in style, then their old trunk could carry a hefty price tag, particularly if it’s a designer piece. Silver told Country Living magazine, “Louis Vuitton trunks could be worth thousands. They can be very cool because they will often still have the labels from the ships that they went on.”

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20. Milk glass banana stand

Milk glass became popular in the Victorian era as a more affordable alternative to porcelain. Production lulled during the Great Depression but enjoyed a resurgence following World War II. Values will vary from item to item, but one 1950s reproduction banana stand was said to be worth $100 in Country Living magazine.

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19. Windsor-style armchair

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Windsor chairs have multiple thin spindles around the back and sides, fixed to a sculpted, solid seat. Popular items of furniture for centuries, they’ve seen multiple revivals over the years. Of particular value are chairs from the 18th and early 19th centuries, which can reach five-figure sums.

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18. Persian rugs

Handmade Persian rugs increase in value over the years, but this can be a slow process. However, if you have a rug that’s passed down through the generations, it could be worth money by now. Examples that are over a century old are antique, and their price depends on a number of factors, including size and condition.

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17. Antique crayons

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When you think about it, kids snap crayons all the time. So if you’ve managed to keep a box intact over the decades, that’s an achievement in itself. However, antique versions could be worth money. Vintage Crayola crayons are highly sought after, with some sets valued at up to $500.

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16. Depression glass

So-called Depression glass was an inexpensive form of glassware popular during the economic crisis of the 1930s. The biggest producer of this colorful product, the Hocking Glass Company, made its popular Miss America pattern between 1935 and 1937. Today, single items from this collection sell for under $10. A complete set of eight pieces, however, is worth around $1,000.

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15. Old seed packets

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Most gardeners probably wouldn’t consider hanging onto the packaging their seeds come in. However, antique seed packets are quite collectible. American examples from the early 20th century sell for about $12. More desirable European version, though, can sell for $50 each, which is not to be sniffed at.

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14. Phones

Vintage phones are another example of everyday items that can sell for impressive sums. One particularly popular brand is Western Electric, which dominated the American telephone market for almost half a century. Both single handsets and candlestick models are sought after even now and come with an estimated price tag of around $300 to $400.

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13. Cuckoo clocks

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While the Black Forest in Germany is most famous for great desserts, the region is also synonymous with cuckoo clocks. Examples from the area are highly sought after by collectors, and even new ones can sell for hundreds of dollars. Antiques examples, meanwhile, are worth much more. For instance, in 2009 one Johann Baptist Beha clock sold for $8,000.

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12. Model trains

Toy trains were popular throughout the 20th century, meaning that many families will have had one at some point. They remain highly collectible to this day, with people willing to part with vast amounts of money for rare pieces. Pre-war Lionel trains are particularly sought after and can fetch anywhere between $20 and several thousand dollars.

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11. Griswold pans

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When it comes to antique pans, those made by Griswold are some of the most sought after. The American manufacturer was in operation from 1865 to 1957 and has a reputation for quality. As a result, many items of Griswold cookware are collectible, with one rare six-and-a-half-inch pan selling for around $2,400.

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10. Fiestaware

Colorful Fiestaware, launched by the Homer Laughlin China Company in Newell, West Virginia, began brightening up dinner tables across the land in 1936. The bold designs proved so popular that they spawned many knock-offs over the years. However, the original Fiestaware from the 1930s is extremely valuable, with full sets selling for around $1,500.

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9. Vintage glasses

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If your grandparents wore spectacles, keep an eye out for forgotten pairs in their belongings. That’s because vintage glasses can attract a decent sum of money. In fact, some designer pairs made over 25 years ago are worth almost $1,000. So it would be a shame to leave them lying in a drawer somewhere.

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8. Old stock certificates

Forgotten stock certificates could be your ticket to the high life. According to Country Life magazine, one buyer found a document worth $130 million in a box of papers they’d purchased. The certificate in question was from 1917 and listed 1,625 shares in an oil company that later teamed up with Coca-Cola.

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7. Duck decoys

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Painted, wooden duck decoys became popular among bird hunters in the mid-19th century. However, they became collectors items around a decade later, with some examples worth hundreds of thousands of dollars. That being said, on eBay in March 2020, a duck from the turn of the 20th century was listed at a more modest $299.

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6. Pocket watches

If you’ve inherited one of these exquisite timepieces through your grandparents, you may want to consider getting it appraised. That’s because pocket watches can attract crazy money. For example, the Patek Philippe Supercomplication sold for $24 million at auction in 2014, placing it among the most expensive pocket watches in the world.

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5. Cookie jars

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Decorative cookie jars emerged in the 1930s and have become collectors items today. Some of the first manufacturers to make the novelty items include the McKee Glass Company, McCoy Pottery and American Bisque. And it’s jars by these companies that tend to be the most appealing to buyers. As a result, they can sell for over $600.

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4. Pyrex dishes

Many of us remember patterned Pyrex dishes in our mother and grandmother’s kitchens. First introduced in 1908, it wasn’t until the 1930s that the company began to experiment with colors and patterns. And while the glassware might appear commonplace, some examples are worth thousands of dollars.

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3. Kitchen knives

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Knives are a great example of everyday kitchen staples that could also carry significant value. In fact, vintage blades sell for over $2,000 on eBay, with carbon blades and handmade cutting implements particularly sought after. Even if your old knife isn’t worth much, it may still be of use following a trip to your local sharpeners.

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2. Cameras

Retro cameras can be worth a pretty penny if they’re still in working order. Brands such as Leica and Rolleiflex are highly sought after, with some models boasting a resale value of more than $1,000. Vintage Polaroids from the mid-20th century might also bag you a fair sum, being worth around $100.

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1. Jadeite kitchenware

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Jadeite kitchenware, produced by the Hocking Glass Company – who were also behind Depression glass – first appeared in the 1940s. And if you’ve managed to inherit some, you could be in the money. Jadeite salt and pepper shakers tend to sell for around $50, while loaf pans might fetch $150.

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