25+ Antiques Worth Money & a Second Look

Before you head out antique shopping, find out which items are most valuable so you can keep your eyes peeled for a good deal.

Updated February 22, 2024


Don't assume that the stuff you've inherited is worthless. Keep an eye out for these valuable antiques to look for if you're cleaning out your attic or perusing the wares at the flea market.

From barware to barber chairs, you may be surprised what's worth a second look. Some of these items are worth thousands of dollars.

Novelty Barware


While many barware sets have value, it's usually in the range of $20 to $100. It all depends on the materials and style. However, if you have a novelty barware item, it may be worth more.

Think corkscrews with women's legs, cocktail shakers in the shape of penguins, fish-shaped bottle openers, and other totally whimsical and unique items. For example, a 1937 ruby glass cocktail shaker in the shape of a woman's leg sold for almost $1,500 on eBay.

Hunting Decoys


You've probably seen those wooden ducks sitting in antique shops (or on your grandpa's mantel). These aren't just decorations; they're hunting decoys, which were once used to help attract game.

Because they received hard use in the outdoors, it's not easy to find them in good condition. Some, made by famous decoy artists like Elmer Crowell and Joseph Lincoln, may be worth a ton of money. In fact, decoy auction firm Guyette and Deeter lists decoys that have sold for up to $856,000.

Depression Glass


While collecting Depression glass is usually an affordable hobby, a few pieces of this glassware are amazingly valuable.

Look for colored glassware in excellent condition and in desirable patterns like Cameo or American Sweetheart. Then, keep an eye out for unusual pieces or shapes that may be worth a premium. For instance, a center-handle sandwich plate in the green Cameo pattern sold for almost $4,000 at auction.

Related: Determining the Value of Pink Depression Glass

Original Paintings


There's a lot of variation in the paintings you find in attics and thrift stores. Some look like a second grader made them, but others can be the work of skilled artists. Some are extremely valuable, too.

Skip the paint-by-number projects and look for original art with themes people enjoy. Think equestrian paintings, pictures of famous people, and beautiful scenes. Pay special attention to paintings with signatures and those in gorgeous frames since those things can add value. Some examples are worth millions, but it's common to find paintings worth hundreds or thousands of dollars if they are high quality and desirable. Paintings are among the most valuable items on Antiques Roadshow, too.

Old Postcards


Before you toss that old postcard collection from when you were a kid, take a quick look at what it includes. The value of old postcards depends on a number of factors, but certain designs can be highly collectible. These include cards that show holiday themes, famous people, and unique moments in history. Also, look for older cards with matte printing and those with advertising on them. Some examples sell in the range of $150.

Quick Tip

There's a special market for holiday postcards, and a lot of people concentrate on collecting them. The funkier the design, the better, too, so those weird valentines or slightly creepy Christmas cards might bring top dollar.

Barber Chairs


You might be surprised by the value of antique barber chairs. There are several different types of antique barber chairs in existence, but the Koken brand is especially valuable. Koken barber chairs sell from $500 to over $5,000. If you have one, you may have something very valuable.

Old Clocks


Rare antique clocks can be worth $100,000 or more, but even more common clocks are worth money. Clocks representing a specific era and decorating style, such as Art Deco or Mid-Century Modern, are very popular with decorators and antique collectors.

Before you send an old clock to charity or pass one by at the flea market, take some time to learn how to identify antique clocks. You might find that timepiece is a treasure.

Cast-Iron Doorstops


Doorstops have a useful purpose, but in the age of air conditioning, many have been packed away in attics and basements. If you happen to have a cast-iron doorstop in a charming shape, you may be holding onto a fortune.

Sweet figural doorstops in the shape of animals and characters are worth from $50 to over $1,000. An adorable Hubley doorstop in the shape of a quail sold for almost $1,300 at auction in 2022.

Stained and Leaded Glass Windows


When an old building is torn down, people sometimes salvage the windows, stashing them away in a barn or basement. If the old windows have leaded glass detailing or pretty stained glass elements, they may be worth a lot of money.

Antique stained glass windows range from ornate to simple, but many are super valuable because of the historic beauty they can bring to modern construction. Notable examples, like this leafy Art Nouveau window, sell for around $2,700, but even simple designs regularly fetch hundreds of dollars.

Rare Books


Some books can be extremely valuable, and it's not always the ones you think. Learn how to identify rare books, especially first editions that can sell for a lot of money. Cookbooks, in particular, can be valuable. Abe Books reports that the first edition of The Joy of Cooking regularly sells for over $4,000.

Quick Tip

Always check to see if a book is signed. Even if you're not familiar with the author, a signed copy can be valuable.

Related: Antique Book Values: Resources for Assessing Worth

Victorian Art Pottery


During the late 1800s and early 1900s, art pottery became a popular collectible in American homes. These pieces were affordable to buy at the time. What's more, they were handmade and unique, although they followed designs set forth by the various companies.

Some notable manufacturers to look for include McCoy, Frankoma, and Roseville. One Roseville Pottery piece sold for over $38,000, but even lesser-known antique art pottery has value.

Old Cameras and Lenses


For many years, digital photography seemed to outstrip film cameras in terms of popularity, and many old film cameras languished on shelves in storage units and attics. However, a resurgence in interest in film photography in recent years has pushed values up again.

Certain antique cameras and lenses are worth hundreds and even thousands of dollars. Lenses made of brass are often worth a lot of money, with many very good examples selling for close to $2,000.

Quick Tip

While not every camera is valuable, many are. Look for cameras that shoot film you can still buy (35mm and 120 film are easy to get). Make sure the camera works, too, since people are buying these to use to take photos.

Related: Here's What Your Vintage Kodak Brownie Camera Could Be Worth

Chandeliers and Light Fixtures


Antique chandeliers are another example of salvaged architectural features that can be worth a ton. The light fixtures sometimes survive when old houses are torn down or renovated to match a different style. As tastes change and people want to add historical charm to their homes, the light fixtures become valuable again.

A beautiful American crystal chandelier from about 1900 sold for $7,500, but even smaller and simpler vintage chandeliers are worth money.

Antique Silver


If you have your grandmother's silver, you may have a valuable antique. It's all about how much silver it actually contains. Antique sterling silver flatware can be extremely valuable, but silver plate isn't worth as much. Look for sterling silver hallmarks on the backs of the pieces to determine whether your silver is sterling.

Then look at pictures of antique flatware patterns to see what pattern you have. This will help you find the value of your sterling. Some patterns, like those made by Tiffany, are worth thousands.

Quick Tip

The most valuable silver items are in good condition, so look for crisp pattern details and minimal wear and scratches. A monogram will decrease value in many cases, but even monogrammed silver can be worth a lot.

Old Tools and Toolboxes


Do you have some antique hand tools in your garage? If so, you may have some money on your hands. Look for tools in good shape with patina but no real damage, and check the brand.

Brands like Stanley can be especially hot with collectors. Antique toolboxes are also valuable, with old wooden models selling for hundreds of dollars on eBay.

Rare Coins


Old coin collections sometimes offer up some valuable prizes, too. This is one thing that's always worth money, but it can be worth a lot of money.

If you're sorting through some coins, keep a list of old coins that could be valuable. Some, like the 1913 Liberty Head Nickel, can be worth millions of dollars.

Quick Tip

When you're looking at old coins, watch for anything that's a little odd. Many of the most valuable coins are minting errors where the coin is stamped strangely. This is one spot where weirdness really pays off.

Related: 10 Most Valuable Old Pennies & What They're Worth

Old China Sets


Nearly everyone has a set of china inherited from an older relative, and many aren't worth much. Don't bother with newer sets in general. However, some older china sets are actually extremely valuable, especially those made by coveted brands.

Look for china by Spode, Wedgwood, and other important names. Then, check the condition. One complete set of Wedgwood china in a turquoise Florentine pattern sold for almost $2,000.

Related: Value of Wedgewood China & How to Identify & Preserve It

Vintage Typewriters


Even though few people use typewriters to write anymore, they have held their value as antique decorative items. Learn about the best vintage typewriter brands and their values. You might have an Underwood worth $1,000, and even an ordinary Remington can sell for $150.

Musical Instruments


Antique musical instruments are among the most valuable items you can find in your attic or at a thrift shop. Look for instruments in good, playable condition. Antique pianos can be valuable, as can violins. Antique violin values can range into the millions, but it's common to find them in the hundreds.

Perfume Bottles


Antique perfume bottles came in many different styles and materials. You'll see gorgeous glass and crystal examples, as well as bottles made from stone. Many sell for $100 or more, and some very fine examples, like a Victorian glass bottle in the shape of a fish, sell for about $1,500.

Fountain Pens


Fountain pens are functional today, and some people specialize in collecting vintage models. If you have one from an older relative or see one at a shop, it might be worth checking out. The most valuable are crafted from high-end materials like sterling silver, tortoiseshell, ebony, and gold. A vintage Tiffany gold fountain pen sold for about $1,500, but it's common to find them in the $100-$200 range.

Antique Furniture


Antique furniture is another high-value item, with many pieces ranging from $200 to $2,000. Learn how to identify antique furniture and assess its value so you won't pass up a treasure or sell an heirloom for way less than it's worth. Look for pieces in very good condition made of solid wood.

Quick Tip

If there's something special about a piece of furniture, like it's inlaid with pretty wood or has gorgeous hardware or a unique shape, it's almost always going to be worth more. Consider getting something appraised if you think it could be worth a lot.

Vintage Jewelry


Don't forget to sort through old jewelry. The best pieces might be buried in the bottom of an old jewelry box. Even antique costume jewelry can be valuable, and fine jewelry is always worth money.

Look for valuable gems, precious metals, and other special touches. Brush up on understanding markings on jewelry so you can determine what the jewelry is made of and who the manufacturer may be. It's common for fine jewelry pieces to be worth hundreds or even thousands of dollars, but the exact value is extremely variable.

Old Stamps and Stamp Collections


That stamp collection you found in your attic has some pretty great potential, so give it a good look. Many stamps are worth a few dollars, but some are actually worth millions. Some of the most valuable stamps feature important people or events, such as a stamp of Abraham Lincoln from 1867 that sold for $1.6 million.

Old Fishing Lures


Remember Grandpa's tackle box? If you still have it and its contents, you might be ready to reel in a real treasure. Some of those old fishing lures can actually be worth hundreds of dollars. Look for lures still in their original boxes, plus those with all their paint. Examples from before 1950 are worth the most.

Antique Coin Banks


If you've ever seen one of those old coin banks where you put the coin in and something fun happens, you might have seen something worth way more than pocket change. Usually made of cast iron, these banks encouraged saving by having a dog jump through a hoop to deposit a coin in a barrel, or a clown eat a coin with his hand. They did all kinds of entertaining things.

The most valuable banks are from the 1800s, so look for signs that it's really old. Many of these were reproduced over the years, but chipping paint and great detail are signs of an older one.

Get an Appraisal to Know for Sure


If you suspect you may have a valuable item, like an antique figurine worth money, it's always a good idea to double-check with an appraisal. You can get antiques appraised online or visit a local professional for help. Either way, you'll know for sure whether you've found a treasure.

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25+ Antiques Worth Money & a Second Look