A family, who was on the verge of moving out of their home due to foreclosure, was saved when they came across a rare comic in their basement that featured Superman's first appearance. Guess how much it was worth?
Could you imagine?!
Needless to say, the family was able to keep their home and live happily ever after. Perfect example of how people may not even realize what they own -- you could be sitting on a chair that's worth thousands of dollars and not even know it.
Here are just a few examples of items that are surprisingly very valuable:
Colonial Furniture: People don't often realize that these pieces are worth anything because, well, they don't look like they should. Simple in construction and design, early Colonial furniture tends to be more conservative and less ornate than, say, a Victorian piece. So do some research before throwing out that "boring" armoire that has been in passed down to you.
Advertising: There are so many collectors of anything with old advertising on it. For example, my father is a huge fanatic for old gas memorabilia; he has tons of Mobile signs (among others) around his shop. Even old food product labels (depending on the age and brand) can have value.
China: Take a close look at your family's china and look for a manufacturer name; usually this is found on the bottom. If it's Wedgwood or Tiffany, you may be holding quite a hefty price in your hand. Also, search for a date ... it can help you get an idea of whether it's a reproduction or a true antique.
Toys: Especially if they're still in the package, old toys can be worth a ton of money. I just looked on eBay and found a 1986 My Little Pony going for $300. I had about 60 of them growing up, and who knows where they are now -- yes, I'm kicking myself.
Comic Books, Magazines: As seen in the story above, comic books can be insanely expensive. Vintage magazines, like this 1962 Vogue that I bought for $10 at a flea market, can be worth up to $50.
Old Clocks, Watches: The worth of old watches and clocks often surprises people, but the trick is to have one that's made by a well-known early clock/watch maker.
Learning all of this makes you want to hoard everything you buy from here on out, doesn't it?
Think you have any items that might be worth money? Have you ever had something appraised?
Images via riptheskull/Flickr, Brittny Drye