We have all come across stories of people stumbling upon valuable collectible items in unexpected places, such as a rare comic book at a Salvation Army store or a hidden wine cellar worth a fortune beneath the floorboards of a new house. From baseball cards to vintage soda cans, numerous items could be worth a substantial amount of money. It’s worth checking your basement to see if you’ve unknowingly been sitting on a potential goldmine for years.
List of Most Valuable Collectible Items
Here is a list of some of the most valuable collectible items of all time that could fetch a significant sum:
- Original 1959 Barbie Doll
- 1927 World Series Ticket Stub
- The Elvis Presley Board Game (1957)
- New York Yankee Bobblehead 1961-62
- Vintage Pyrex Casserole Dish
- First Edition Boy Scout Handbook
- Action Comics No. 1 Comic Book
- The 1856 1-Cent Magenta Stamp from British Guiana
- The 2018-19 Luka Doncic Basketball Card
- “Birds of America” by James Audubon
- The Beatles’ White Album
- First Edition Where The Wild Things Are
- Nike Air Jordan 1s
- First Edition G.I. Joe Action Figure
- McGwire’s 70th Home Run Baseball
- Metropolis Poster
- Michael Jordan 1986 Fleer Rookie Card
- Honus Wagner Baseball Card
- Double Eagle Gold Coin
- Vincent van Gogh’s “Portrait of Dr. Gachet” Painting
Original 1959 Barbie Doll
- Manufacturer: Mattel
- Original Price: $3*
- Current Value: $27,450*
The first most valuable collectible item on the list is the Original 1959 Barbie. Before the invention of Barbie dolls, dolls were primarily babies or stuffed toys. Barbie dolls revolutionized the market and the toy industry as a whole. Over the decades, Barbie has evolved with new designs, careers, and diverse representations.
Mattel, the first toy company to advertise directly to children, played a significant role in the success of Barbie. Although the original dolls faced criticism for their lack of diversity and for reinforcing gender stereotypes, they have become highly sought-after collectibles. An original 1959 Barbie doll can be worth a small fortune, especially in pristine condition.
1927 World Series Ticket Stub
- Manufacturer: Major League Baseball
- Original Price: $1*
- Current Value: $41,825*
The 1927 World Series featured the New York Yankees, led by legendary players Babe Ruth and Lou Gehrig, who dominated the league that season. Attending this historical event and witnessing the greatest team in baseball history in action was a memorable experience.
Due to the significance of the 1927 Yankees and the rarity of the ticket stubs, they have become highly valued among sports memorabilia collectors. What was originally a $1 purchase can now fetch over $40,000, showcasing a remarkable return on investment.
The Elvis Presley Board Game (1957)
- Manufacturer: Teen-Age Games, Inc.
- Original Price: $1.50*
- Current Value: $2,150*
Another valuable collectible item is Elvis Presley Board Game. The game released in 1957, is a rare collectible item. At most, six copies are believed to have survived over the years, which explains their high Value. The game, designed for the young at heart, allowed players to discover who loved them, who would “go steady” with them, and who would marry and elope.
The scarcity of this game, combined with its connection to Elvis Presley himself, who tragically passed away at a young age, has contributed to its increasing value among collectors.
New York Yankee Bobblehead 1961-62
- Manufacturer: New York Yankees
- Original Price: Unknown*
- Current Value: $59,750*
Bobblehead dolls, especially those associated with sports teams, have become highly sought-after collectibles. The New York Yankee Bobblehead from the 1961-62 season is particularly the most valuable collectible due to its extreme rarity. Only two of these bobbleheads were ever produced.
These hand-painted, 14-inch ceramic and paper-mâché bobbleheads are considered prized possessions for collectors. However, finding one in excellent condition can be challenging, especially since they were originally marketed towards children who may not have preserved them carefully. When they do appear at auction, they are highly sought after.
Vintage Pyrex Casserole Dish
- Maker: Pyrex
- Original Price: $15*
- Current Value: $4,000*
Pyrex, established in 1915 by Corning, Inc., initially introduced a line of transparent glassware designed for kitchen use. Its versatility to be used in the oven, on the stove, or as a storage container quickly made Pyrex a household favorite.
Over time, Pyrex expanded its product range and changed its aesthetic, leading to the emergence of vintage Pyrex collecting as a popular and profitable hobby. Vintage Pyrex items like the 1959 Pyrex Casserole Dish hold significant Value today, reaching thousands of dollars in worth.
Pyrex even announced the relaunch of the iconic “Lucky in Love” Casserole Dish from 1959 to 2018 to cater to the demand for vintage designs. Adorned with green four-leaf clovers, a green grass garden, and adorable pink hearts, the one-quart dish remains one of the most sought-after vintage Pyrex designs.
First Edition Boy Scout Handbook
- Maker: Boy Scouts of America
- Original Price: Free to Boy Scouts
- Current Value: $2,200*
First editions of classic books often acquire much greater value than their original Price, as history enthusiasts with disposable income are willing to pay a premium for a piece of the past. The first edition of the Boy Scout Handbook, published in 1910 by the Boy Scouts of America, now holds a value of at least $2,200.
The Boy Scout Handbook (BSH) serves as the official guidebook for Scouts. It is a descendant of the influential book “Scouting for Boys” by Boy Scout founder Lieutenant General Robert Baden-Powell (1857-1941). A first edition of the BSH is currently available for sale on ScoutStuff4Sale.com for $3,500.
Owning a first edition of the Boy Scout Handbook is highly coveted by collectors who have an affinity for scouting or want to be perpetually prepared. While the book has undergone minimal changes since its initial printing, possessing a first edition is a notable bragging right.
Action Comics No. 1 Comic Book
- Maker: Jerry Siegel and Joe Shuster
- Original Price: 10c*
- Current Value: $3.2 Million*
Action Comics No. 1 is regarded as the first-ever superhero comic book, introducing several iconic superheroes, most notably Superman, and marking the beginning of the superhero genre. It is the most valuable collectible comic book ever, making it a highly sought-after item for collectors.
Published in 1938, the cover of Action Comics No. 1 features Superman effortlessly lifting a green car while onlookers flee the scene. With 200,000 copies initially printed, the first issue quickly sold out, leading to subsequent monthly sales reaching one million copies.
The popularity of comic books has surged in recent years, thanks in part to the success of franchises owned by Disney and Sony. While the original issue of Action Comics No. 1 was priced at a mere 10 cents, a well-preserved copy can now fetch up to $3.2 million, making it one of the most valuable collectible items.
The 1856 1-Cent Magenta Stamp from British Guiana Stamp
- Manufacturer: British Guiana
- Original Price: 1 cent*
- Current Value: $9.5 Million*
Unearthed in 1873 in a basement by a Scottish schoolboy among his uncle’s stamp collection, the British Guiana 1-Cent Magenta Stamp has traversed several hands before landing in possession of Arthur Hind in 1922. Hind reportedly outbid three kings to acquire it for $36,000. Since then, its Value has experienced a significant surge, prompting stamp enthusiasts worldwide to examine their collections in hopes of discovering similar treasures.
The rare 1-cent stamp from British Guiana, issued in 1856, is the sole known surviving specimen. With each of its four recorded sales, it has repeatedly set records for the highest price ever paid for a single stamp. The most recent transaction saw it change hands for an astonishing $9.5 million, purchased by renowned shoe designer Stuart Weitzman.
While some may find it difficult to comprehend the allure of stamp collecting, the hobby has been a prominent niche market for decades. Stamp enthusiasts are willing to pay exorbitant amounts to obtain the most valuable collectible and unique pieces for their collections.
The 2018-19 Luka Doncic Basketball Card
- Manufacturer: Rookie Card
- Original Price: $16.99*
- Current Value: $4.6 Million*
Autographed basketball cards have attained astronomical values in recent years. Previous instances include the sale of Giannis Antetokounmpo and LeBron James 2013-14 Patch rookie cards, each fetching $1.8 million, as well as a Michael Jordan autographed card featuring a fragment of his game-worn jersey, which sold for $1.44 million.
The record-breaking sale occurred with a signed, single-print rookie card showcasing Dallas Mavericks’ point guard, Luka Doncic, commanding a staggering $4.6 million. Despite being in only his third NBA season, it is improbable that this record will be surpassed anytime soon.
Other rookie cards have also garnered substantial sums, such as Tom Brady’s card, which sold for $1.32 million. These cards are valued nearly as high as the players, but they still need to reach their net worth. For instance, Tom Brady’s net worth stands at $145 million, while Luka Doncic’s is estimated at $5 million.
“Birds of America” by James Audubon
- Author: John James Audubon
- Original Price: $126*
- Current Value: $10.27 Million*
“Birds of America” is a collection of meticulously painted watercolor bird prints by James Audubon. Comprising four large volumes, this book features 435 intricate illustrations. Only four copies of this most valuable collectible volume are known to exist. In 2018, during an auction, one of these copies fetched over $10 million and that makes it the one of most valuable collectible items.
The book’s purchaser, Carl W. Knobloch, Jr., generously donated it to the Knobloch Family Foundation (KFF), a conservation-focused organization run by his family. The proceeds from the book’s sale will be invested in environmental causes.
Opportunities to acquire such rare and unique items are few and far between. Moreover, witnessing their auction for charitable purposes adds an extra layer of significance to “Birds of America.” James Audubon could hardly have envisioned such incredible achievements for his work.
The Beatles’ White Album
- Manufacturer: Apple Records
- Original Price: $11.28*
- Current Value: $790,000*
The White Album, released in November 1968, marked the ninth studio album by the legendary band, The Beatles. Recently, Ringo Starr’s personal copy of the album was put up for sale, fetching an astonishing $790,000 at an auction.
There are two key reasons behind this remarkable Price. Firstly, the album belonged to Ringo Starr and was part of his collection. Starr even mentioned that the new owner would receive the record with his fingerprints on the vinyl, adding a unique touch. Secondly, this particular copy was numbered No.0000001, as each record in the edition was assigned a number. It happened to be the very first one ever produced.
The market for Beatles memorabilia is immense due to the band’s iconic status. Items ranging from lyric sheets to other artifacts can sell for hundreds of thousands, if not millions, of dollars. While this sale stands out, numerous similar transactions have occurred, and undoubtedly more will follow.
First Edition Where The Wild Things Are
- Manufacturer: Harper & Row
- Original Price: $1.99*
- Current Value: $20,000*
Maurice Sendak, a renowned illustrator and author, is best known for creating “Where the Wild Things Are,” which has become one of the most beloved children’s books ever. Sendak’s notable works also include “In the Night Kitchen,” “Outside Over There,” “Nutshell Library,” and “Chicken Soup with Rice,” among others.
“Where the Wild Things Are” is a captivating children’s book that revolves around a boy who gets into trouble and is sent to his room, which transforms into an island inhabited by intimidating monsters. Through his experiences, the boy learns valuable lessons and even becomes the king of the monsters before returning home. This enchanting tale of imagination and rules resonates with children and adults, making it a timeless classic.
In 2012, following Sendak’s passing, there was a surge of renewed interest in his works. News outlets reported that a signed first edition of “Where the Wild Things Are,” published in 1963, was sold for $25,000 in May, as confirmed by vendor Abebooks.com.
Nike Air Jordan 1s
- Manufacturer: Nike
- Original Price: $65*
- Current Value: $560,000*
Air Jordans have become highly sought after, often selling for $100 to $200 upon each new release, if not more. However, the initial Nike Air Jordan 1s, launched in the mid-1980s, were priced at just $65. Peter C. Moore designed these iconic shoes for Michael Jordan during his illustrious career with the Chicago Bulls.
The Air Jordan 1s were initially released from 1985 to 1986, with subsequent “Retro” versions appearing in 1994, the early 2000s, and 2007. New releases continue to captivate enthusiasts to this day.
The immense success of the Air Jordan 1s led Nike to release the Air Jordan IIs in 1986, with a minimal gap between the editions. Today, original Air Jordan 1s from the 1980s can command prices exceeding half a million dollars, while retros typically sell for $200 to $400.
First Edition G.I. Joe Action Figure
- Manufacturer: Hasbro
- Original Price: $4*
- Current Value: $200,000*
1964 the first G.I. Joe action figure was introduced, achieving tremendous popularity. However, production costs proved high due to its large size, leading to the discontinuation of the original action figures.
Soon after, Hasbro recognized the potential of providing a character backstory, laying the foundation for an entire universe of heroic military figures. As a result, the original first edition G.I. Joe action figure has gained extraordinary Value, with one such figure selling for $200,000 at an auction in 2003.
G.I. Joe has remained iconic in American culture since its inception, leading to a significant following. The character starred in two action-packed Hollywood movies featuring Channing Tatum, further solidifying G.I. Joe’s impressive legacy.
McGwire’s 70th Home Run Baseball
- Manufacturer: Unknown
- Original Price: $6*
- Current Value: $3 Million
Mark McGwire, renowned as one of the most formidable power hitters of the 1990s in baseball, set a record by hitting 70 home runs in a single season in 1998. The baseball he used to achieve this remarkable feat became a significant part of baseball history and earned him a place in the Baseball Hall of Fame.
In January 1999, this historic baseball went up for sale and was purchased for a record-breaking $3 million by an anonymous buyer. It was later revealed that Todd McFarlane, a notable figure in the entertainment industry, had invested his entire life savings into acquiring the ball. The sale price exceeded previous records by more than 23 times.
While spending one’s life savings on a baseball may seem extravagant, Todd’s profound love for the game superseded any logical considerations. Considering the potential increase in its Value over time, this acquisition might be a wise investment. Only time will tell.
- Manufacturer: Heinz Schulz-Neudamm
- Original Price: Unknown*
- Current Value: $690,000*
“Metropolis,” released in 1927, is one of the most expensive silent films of its time. This German expressionist science-fiction film delves into the theme of social class division. It was directed by Fritz Lang, and graphic artist Heinz Schulz-Neudamm created the iconic poster for the film.
Out of the four posters originally produced, one resides in the Museum of Modern Art, another in a German museum, and a third in a private collection. The fourth poster was sold for an impressive $690,000 in 2005 to a collector based in the United States.
Movie memorabilia, including posters, rare costumes, and autographs, can fetch incredible prices in a highly lucrative market. Given the widespread love for movies, delving into this business can be intriguing for those seeking additional income.
Princess Diana Beanie Baby
- Manufacturer: Ty
- Original Price: $5-$7*
- Current Value: $22,222*
The purple Princess Diana Beanie Baby was created shortly after her death to raise funds for the Princess of Wales Memorial Fund. Anything associated with Princess Diana garnered immense attention, leading many to preserve these Beanie Babies in their attics, anticipating a rise in Value.
Determining the actual worth of Ty Beanie Babies remains a subject of debate. While some argue that most are not worth more than $5 to $7, others speculate that certain editions can fetch values exceeding $500,000. Allegedly, the stuffing inside plays a significant role in determining their valuation, with the first edition filled with PVC pellets commanding higher prices.
Nevertheless, it is undeniable that some individuals are willing to pay substantial sums to add the most valuable collectible Beanie Babies to their collections. Considering their immense popularity in the 1990s, it might be worth thoroughly searching through storage spaces for potential hidden treasures.
Stadium Events Video Game for Nintendo
- Manufacturer: Nintendo
- Original Price: Unknown*
- Current Value: $41,300*
Stadium Events, the rarest officially licensed game for the Nintendo Entertainment System in the United States, holds a special place in gaming history. Only 200 copies were produced in 1987, and today, only 10 or 11 original American versions are known to exist. The game even included a mat for exercising while playing.
Considered a precursor to games like Dance Dance Revolution and Wii Fit, Stadium Events has achieved legendary status within the gaming community. Occasional stories surface of fortunate individuals stumbling upon this rare game in thrift stores or their garages.
In one such instance, a fortunate owner discovered an unopened and unplayed copy of Stadium Events tucked away in their childhood home’s attic. After listing it on eBay, they were astounded by the high Price it commanded. The market for the most valuable collectible games remains vibrant and active.
Beauty and the Beast VHS Tape
- Manufacturer: VHS
- Original Price: $50*
- Current Value: $14,500*
Gone are the days when watching a movie or listening to music required physical objects to be inserted into machines before the advent of digital formats. VHS tapes, the predecessors of DVDs, were large and bulky. Today, some of the Disney classics on VHS have gained significant Value.
An old copy of Beauty and the Beast, along with Dumbo, sold for an impressive $14,500, while 101 Dalmatians fetched over $25,000. Dusting off old VHS collections and having them appraised might prove to be a rewarding idea.
However, given the considerable time that has passed since VHS tapes were the pinnacle of home entertainment, it is likely that many individuals still need to possess them. Nevertheless, it is worth taking an extra look if you stumble upon them in thrift stores, as you never know what treasures you might uncover.
1953 Superman Lunchbox
- Manufacturer: Universal
- Original Price: $2.39*
- Current Value: $13,225*
It may be a surprise that the lunchbox you cherished and proudly showed off to your friends during childhood could now be worth a substantial sum. Collectible lunchboxes hold great value, especially if you acquire one of the most valuable collectibles and most sought-after items in the market.
The 1953 Superman lunchbox, manufactured by Universal, is as powerful and popular as the character himself. This lunchbox features Superman valiantly fighting off robots and rescuing a damsel in distress, showcasing a day in the superhero’s life. This highly coveted lunchbox has been known to fetch prices exceeding $13,000.
While most of us rapidly outgrew our lunchboxes as we transitioned from childhood to adulthood, there is always time to keep an eye out on platforms like eBay. You never know when an opportunity may arise to acquire one of these treasures. Remember, one person’s forgotten item may be another person’s treasure!
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