While that torn-up avocado green sofa in your basement might not be worth a fortune, there are plenty of things from the 70s that have surprising value. From iconic toys to kitchen gadgets, keep an eye out for a few of these fun vintage treasures and valuable pieces of nostalgia.
Funky Belt Buckles
There's no doubt about it: the 1970s had lots of statement pieces. You might have one of these big and funky retro belt buckles lying around, and if not, you can find them in thrift stores and at flea markets. These buckles tend to feature nature motifs, flowers, and other bold graphics. They aren't all worth a fortune (most sell in the $50 range), but some are more valuable. For example, a magic mushroom belt buckle from the70s sold for about $100.
Iconic Vinyl Records
Some vinyl records are extremely valuable, including a lot of albums from the 70s. If the record is in good condition, it's probably worth at least $25 or more. Some albums are worth a lot, though. Think Kiss, the Sex Pistols, the Ramones, and pretty much anyone else who is iconic from that decade. The Beatles albums can be super valuable too with the first press of "Let It Be" selling for more than $1,000.
Working Film Cameras
You've probably noticed that film cameras are kind of having a moment, especially 35mm and 120. Back in the 70s, film was all anyone shot, and a lot of those cameras are still in good shape. Even point-and-shoot cameras from the 70s have value, but anything by Nikon, Canon, Pentax, Hasselblad, Mamiya, Leica, and others can be worth a lot. For example, a Hasselblad camera kit from the 70s sells for over $3,000.
CorningWare and Other Casserole Dishes
Do you remember seeing those casserole dishes with the handles and patterns of yellow or orange flowers? When it comes to stuff from the 70s, CorningWare can be super collectible, especially rare patterns. Almost any casserole dish by the brand that's in good condition has value, but patterns like La Romarin can sometimes be worth crazy money. A CorningWare dish in that pattern featuring tomatoes, artichokes, peppers, and other veggies sold for almost $3,800.
Vintage Barbie Dolls
Unlike some things from the 1970s (vinyl jumpsuits, we're looking at you), Barbie is a classic. And if you have a Barbie doll from this era in halfway decent shape, you probably have something worth money. Especially valuable examples are still in mint condition in their original boxes, such as a 1976 Superstar Barbie that sold for almost $700.
You might think of coin collecting as being limited to super old pennies and exotic coins, but the truth is, there are actually some rare and valuable coins from the 1970s. The 1970 quarter is one example to watch for in your spare change, especially if you can find one in really good shape. A 1970 quarter in pristine condition sold for almost $4,000 at Heritage Auctions in 2022. Even in less perfect shape, they're worth checking out.
Vintage Clothing and Shoes
While not every article of clothing from the 1970s deserves a comeback, some iconic 70s stuff has a fair amount of value. You can expect well-made clothing to be worth most, as well as anything by noted designers. Look for things that represent the 70s while still being something you can wear today - mini dresses, platform boots, funky ties, that sort of thing. For example, a totally wearable Pauline Trigère asymmetrical black evening dress sold for over $1,000.
How to Spot Valuable Stuff From the 70s
Not everything from the 70s is valuable, but if you keep your eyes peeled, you just might find a treasure in your attic or local thrift store. These are a few things to look for.
- Nostalgia - Do you remember it from when you were a kid, or is it something your parents or grandparents have talked about? If so, it may have nostalgic value that will translate to monetary value.
- Quality - Something well made is almost always worth more. Look for clothing and furniture with high-quality craftsmanship and materials.
- Iconic look - With the bold florals, over-the-top patterns, and warm colors, the 1970s have an iconic look. If something looks like it really belongs in that decade, chances are good it's worth more.
- Condition - Some 70s stuff shows its five decades of wear, and some doesn't. If you have something is super great condition, such as a toy still in the box or a set of china without a single chip or scratch, it's usually worth something.
Value of Nostalgia
When it comes to nostalgic decades, the 1970s tops the list. This tends to give stuff from this era a bit of a boost with value. If you're shopping and see something from the decade or have a few items stashed in your attic, it's definitely worth looking closer.