Are you holding on to old Air Jordans, baseball cards or comic books in hopes of trading them in for big bucks one day? Turns out, you might be able to do that. Or…maybe not.
The disappointing truth is that while some items we expect to increase in value can pay off handsomely, many others don’t. (Sorry, beanie baby collectors.) “The main drivers of value appreciation are scarcity, item condition and cultural relevance,” says Sam Bright, eBay’s EBAY, +0.05% general manager of art and collectibles. “For example, the recent, well-received ‘Wonder Woman’ movie led to a spike in demand and prices for associated collectibles such as comics, Funko Pop and entertainment memorabilia.”
Wondering whether your stuff is worth hanging onto for the long term? We looked at 11 popular collectibles and which are likely to actually increase in value (or not).
Starting with the bad news: Designer handbags aren’t likely to increase in value. However, certain brands, like Gucci and Louis Vuitton, LVMUY, +0.46% could reasonably sell for about 50% of their original price tag on resale marketplaces like Vestiaire Collective or Rebagg. Just keep in mind that most consignment sites take a large cut of your profits, and the bag should be in excellent condition.
Rare, in-demand baseball cards in good condition have significantly increased in value over the years, Bright says. For example, In October, a 1952 Mickey Mantle card sold for more than $40,000, and a 2013 Aaron Judge autographed card sold for $14,655. Not quite as dramatic, but more contemporary cards could also net double-digit earnings from the right buyer: A 2017 Ian Happ rookie card sold for $19.99 recently, and a 2014 Mookie Betts rookie card sold for $36.
If you’re selling an engagement ring, chances are there’s some emotional baggage attached and any money you get might feel like a bonus—which is good because you probably won’t get much. While preowned rings are selling from about $1,000 to $20,000 on sites like I Do Now I Don’t and Have You Seen the Ring, you’ll likely only recoup a fraction—perhaps as low as 20% — of the original purchase price.
When you buy a ring from a jeweler, you’re not just paying for the jewelry itself—you’re also covering the cost of other materials, labor, marketing and even the store’s operating costs.
Sneakers like Nike NKE, -1.16% Air Jordans have been hot since they were first released in the 80s. If you’ve held on to originals, you can likely earn a couple hundred or more per pair on eBay or at a consignment store—but even new releases could offer a quick return: Last year, the Air Jordan 1 Top 3 was released on Cyber Monday with a price tag of $160, but the shoes now sell for more than $450, even at Wal-Mart. WMT, -0.56%
Spending a fortune on your wardrobe isn’t likely to help your budget today or tomorrow. Designer clothing resales are more about buyers getting great deals than sellers earning income. Currently, designer duds like Chanel and Hermès RMS, +0.31% are selling for up to 90% off on resale site The Real Real. If you’re still looking to unload some pieces, consider swapping on sites like Snob Swap and Haute Trader.
It’s not impossible to get rich off your doll collection—a porcelain doll from 1916 sold in 2014 for $300,000, for example—but it’s unlikely, especially if your closet is full of Cabbage Patch Kids and American Girl dolls. You can easily nab a Cabbage Patch Kid on eBay for about $10, and many American Girl dolls are selling for well under their original price of $100-plus.
“Highly graded, rare stamps have increased and are likely to [continue to] increase in value,” Bright says. An eBay seller recently sold a sheet of the world’s most famous stamp, the Uninverted Jenny Error Stamp Sheet, for $71,200. The stamps were completely unused and never folded, so the perfect condition drove up the price.
If you like to hunt for unique stamps and hold on to them for several years, this collection could also pay off on a smaller scale: One couple paid 10 cents for an interesting old stamp and then sold it for $200.
Some rare figures can be big moneymakers: As new “Star Wars” films are released, original Star Wars action figures are selling for five and six figures on eBay. As for everything else? Most wrestling and sports figures are generally worth just a few bucks each.
Everybody knows one of those guys with a stash of old comic books in the attic—and the good news is that some of those comics could be worth more than the whole house. The original comic books that go along with new movie releases have been among the most successful in recent years.
For instance, a 50-year old Spider-Man book sold on eBay for $24,500 after the movie released in 2012. And last summer, after the release of “Wonder Woman,” a collection of three Wonder Woman comics sold on eBay for hundreds of thousands.
Got a box of videogames leftover from your childhood (or last year)? Some are likely to net a nice payday—or at least help you get your money back. For instance, a copy of Turok Rage Wars for Nintendo 64 recently sold on eBay for $119.99, Shadow of Earth for XBOX One sold for $45 and Call of Duty: WWII for PlayStation 4 sold for $44.19.
Enjoy playing with your Hot Wheels, they aren’t worth much.
If you’re holding on to these mini cars and trucks for a big payday, it’s time for a new get-rich plan. While 80s and 90s kids may feel nostalgic about their Hot Wheels, toy maker Mattel MAT, -4.95% made so many that the marketplace has been flooded. Plus, the company continues to release about 250 new models every year. With so many Hot Wheels available, none of them are worth very much money.