Buyers are searching for quirky and rare collectibles to buy, and the internet is the first place they’ll turn to.
As the CEO and manager of an estate sale business, I’m disappointed to see the amount of vintage items being tossed into dumpsters, simply, because they were considered worthless by their owners, or family members.
Unfortunately, usually when we receive a call to visit with prospective clients to discuss a possible future sale, they explain to us how they have already tossed several items into dumpsters, or sent them off to the nearest thrift store. They believe this is the proper course of action to take when hiring an estate sale company to conduct a sale.
When we hear this, our first thoughts are, “Oh no! There goes some possible valuable vintage treasures to the landfill!”
As a nostalgia enthusiast, and a knowledgeable vintage collectible buyer and seller, I wanted to find a way to help educate people on current buying trends in the collecting arenas. So, I decided to write a book and share some of my secrets with everyone.
Let’s face it, most of us could use some extra income without investing a large amount of cash up front.
So, here is a list of seven unlikely, vintage items that can considered secret hidden treasures:
- 1950’s Rushton Star Creation, rubber-faced stuffed toy animals. Finding these cute adorable animals-in very good to excellent condition-can bring in over $800. Look for kittens, bears, bunny rabbits, owls, farm animals, and the famous “Zip” the Monkey from the televised ‘50s show, Howdy Doody
- 1940s-1950s, Barkcloth drapes and fabric found in vibrant tropical or Atomic Age prints. Barkcloth is a heavy cotton fabric with a somewhat rough texture, sometimes bumpy in appearance. Watch for curtains, drapes, sofas covered with barkcloth upholstery; and fabric pieces. Recently I spotted a 44” x 42” sample of barkcloth on Etsy.com with an asking price of $410! This cloth is in high-demand and considered “Cottage Chic” among interior decorators, and the creative craft upcycling world.
- 1930s-1940s, Ray-Ban “Aviator” sunglasses. WWII, American Optical, Ray-Ban U.S. Army Air Corp (Air Force) pilot eyewear were created to help the flyboys deal with the brightness of the clouds and sun. These stylish, gold-tone, metal-framed sunglasses with green-tinted glass lenses- if found in excellent condition-are in high-demand.
- 1940s-1960s, men’s “Aloha” South Pacific, Hawaiian rayon-fabric shirts. Watch for tropical prints with labels with NO care instructions-just the manufacturer’s name and size-found on the inside of the collar. Keep in mind: Vertical button holes on a shirt, are tell-tale signs, the shirt wasn’t made during this time period. Some WWII “Aloha” shirts can sell for over $1,000
- Barbie doll’s original 1959 fashion outfit “Roman Holiday” #968 (her earlier outfits were numbered), featuring an ultra-rare tiny brass-mirrored compact with a pink puff, which was only produced for one year. This tiny 3/8” brass compact itself, is considered the “Holy Grail” of Barbie doll accessories and can fetch up to $1,500 in mint condition.
- The 1958 D-1 red-dot Gillette “Fatboy” adjustable safety razors as well as Gillette safety razor types manufactured in the 1920s-30s. (Keep in mind: Specific prototypes or types of safety razors are valuable…Not all of them.)
- Mid-century, George Nelson, starburst/sunburst designed wall clocks, and orb-shaped mantel clocks by Herman Miller. Mid-century, or Space Age symbolism today, are highly sought-after! The MCM years (1940s-1960s) brought about changes to traditional furnished homes. Watch for iconic star depictions, starbursts, satellites, rockets; geometric and bullet shapes, along with images in freeform organic shapes.
I hope when discussing the unbelievable values of these seven items, you will have gained some knowledge of some of the hidden wealth that can be found in anyone’s home, or office.
My name is Patricia Penke and I’ve been an avid vintage treasure hunter for over 19 years, and seller of vintage merchandise on EBay for over 15 years. Additionally, I’ve been the CEO of an estate sales company for over eight years.
Recently, I wrote the non-fiction book titled “Stop Throwing Cash in the Trash: Your Guidebook to Finding Hidden Treasures and Transforming Them into Huge Profits.”
Please check out my book today-which is available to purchase on Amazon.com.