Do you have an attic full of old junk you've been meaning to get rid of? Or did you inherit some jewelry and you're just not sure if it's a knock-off or the real thing? Before you toss your stuff, consider getting reputable antique appraisals on your items, because it's very possible that what you have is worth more than you think.
Lee Drexler, President of Esquire Appraisals Inc. says sometimes her clients already know that their possessions are of value, but have no idea of the extent. She recently was brought a Chinese painting that had been insured for $7,000, but with her knowledge about the artist, she was able to get $690,000 for it at auction.
An ethical appraiser will give you an unbiased report, says Bernie McManus of Bernie McManus Appraisals. You should be wary if they offer to buy your belongings, and instead they should advise you on the best way to sell your merchandise. For example, items have a different market value depending on where you're selling them, and may be worth more elsewhere.
Also, it's important to note that although something may have been valuable at one time, it may no longer be as in-demand if the market is over-saturated. But Mary Miley Theobold, historian and author told us that there may be opportunities to get creative. Oriental rugs, which have become a glut on the market, may be sold to be cut and repurposed into small decor accessories and pillows.
Click through the slideshow below to see 15 items that our experts suggest may be of value in your home.
Samplers and quilts from the 19th century can be worth a lot. Even if they are tattered or ripped, the may sometimes be valuable.
Vintage Costume Jewelry
Old costume jewelry is of interest to vintage clothing stores, and every once in a while an appraiser will find that a piece is actually worth a lot.
If you happen to be lucky enough to have a hand-signed letter from a notable figure, it may be worth a fortune!
Although antique paperbacks are usually not of value, leather-bound editions may be worth more than you think.
Currently, the melt value for sterling silver is approximately $33 an ounce, so if you have some pieces you aren't fond of, consider trading them in.
Antique pocket watches, especially those wound with a key, could bring in money.
Some pieces, especially 18th century plates, are worth more than you'd guess.
Surprisingly, sometimes paintings sold at tag sales and flea markets are actually priceless works of art.
Most reproduction pieces aren't worth much, but quality designs from the fifties and sixties are very popular right now.
Vinyl Records In Original Sleeves
If the records are in pristine condition and sealed, they could be quite valuable.
This heavy metal can sometimes be worth a ton!
Although they are a glut on the market currently, these rugs are still valuable, and can even be cut down to make smaller accessories.
Designer Antique Accessories
Although old clothing is not often very valuable, if the pieces are from well-known designers they may be worth a bundle.
Signs, posters and movie ads are very desirable.
Fine Table Linens
If you have a full set, even better!