Cash in your attic: how to tell what’s worth saving

17th June 2014 - 09:58

Valuation website Value My Stuff suggests the ten most valuable collectables likely to be found in the nation's attics  

Did you know that nearly one fifth of Britons own a painting worth over £500? Or that 15 percent of households have antique furniture worth over £500?

According to a new survey by online valuation service, Value My Stuff, a large proportion of us could be sitting on a goldmine.

To help you identify what might be worth something and what is better sent to the charity shop, Value My Stuff expert Sarah Fysh has come up with the top ten most valuable collectables likely to be gathering dust in your attic.

1. Ceramics and porcelain

Old knick knacks and presents can be worth a lot more than you thought. Items needn’t be ancient or from far flung places to be of extraordinary value. At the end of last year a pensioner found a coffee pot at a house clearance which, when he took it with a mixed lot to be valued at his local auction house, turned out to be one of the earliest known examples of Worcester porcelain and sold for £41,900 (right).

2. Anything Art Deco

Since the release of The Great Gatsby film, Art Deco has been enjoying a steady rise in value.  If the designer is right or the lines of the item are appealing to the eye, Deco furniture can achieve high prices at auction.  Examples include the increasingly popular Tiffany lamps.

3. Pop and film memorabilia

Memorabilia dating from the 1950s to the 1970s is the most popular in the market though more recent items can still be of worth. For instance, a Star Trek DVD Booklet with the right signatures could sell for £200 or more.

4. Comic books

Originally seen as merely children’s reading, today comic books are viewed as standalone art forms. Their market value has increased for varying reasons including the growth in 'fandom' communities and buyers’ desire to own nostalgic pieces. A run of the first 1950s Eagle comics went for well over its £200-300 estimate earlier this year when it fetched £520 at auction (left).

5. Lighting and architectural items

Lighting fixtures from previous decades still have appeal commercially, particularly pieces with an industrial feel. Other architectural pieces that hold good value include fire screens, staircase end mounts and mantelpieces.

6. Sports memorabilia  

This is another overlooked genre. Baseball cards, sports jerseys, game balls and football programmes all have potential value if they are from the right game or signed by the right people.  Their worth can be anywhere from £50 into the thousands.

7. Books and magazines 

You never know when a book might be worth something. A certain edition by a certain author can fetch surprisingly high prices. First edition books, rare print runs (of less than 10,000) and those signed by the author have most potential. 

Equally hunt out old magazines.  A vintage Playboy magazine with Marilyn Monroe recently sold for over $1,000.  Even vintage catalogues can have value, especially if they are linked to major brand names such as Selfridges, fetching £50 or more.

8. Royal and political memorabilia

The public has always had an interest in royal and political memorabilia and while today it is more mass-produced - lowering the value - speciality items can still have value.  For instance, a 1916 menu signed by Edward VII Prince of Wales had an estimate of £150-200.

9. Toys, dolls and board games

Antique or vintage games, toys and dolls can sell at auction for anything from £50 upwards thanks to their nostalgic appeal.

For an item to do well it needs to have at least one of the following characteristics: good condition, rarity, a complete set, a large collection or in its original box.  For instance a DINKY – A1026 No. 27 Tramcar set of four in beige trade box, all with cream roofs and advertising ‘Ovaltine’ in gilt letters, circa 1930s, can be worth between £450 to £550.

10. Clothing and jewellery

Vintage clothing and costume jewellery are always good sellers if in good condition. The most desirable items of vintage fashion are cocktail dresses, particularly from the 1950s, 1960s and 1970s.

If you have a find and would like to get it featured in Homes & Antiques and valued by one of our experts, send in your query along with clear, high-resolution photographs to asktheexperts@immediate.co.uk.

Alternatively, upload your photos onto Value My Stuff where you can get a valuation from one of 62 experts within 48 hours. Value My Stuff charge from £7.50 per item valued.

The Contemporary Craft Festival, Bovey Tracey, Devon
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