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Gameboys, Sindy/Barbie dolls, designer shoes, 1950s furniture: The items in your attic that could be worth a small fortune

By Emily Mee, Money team

When I think about the toys of my childhood – my pink Barbie car, my Gameboy Micro, my collection of Pokemon cards – I can’t tell you where they went. 

Maybe they were shipped off to a charity shop at some point… Or perhaps they’re in the attic? 

While my hot pink Gameboy Micro is lost to the void of time (or a cardboard box somewhere in my mum’s house), other versions of it are selling on eBay for £100 or more. 

And there are Pokemon cards selling for anything from a tenner to hundreds or even thousands of pounds. 

It’s possible you also have items at home that are a collector’s dream. 

Gumtree says its collectables category is already proving to be a “hotbed of activity” this year, with listings up 22% in 2024 so far. 

Its most popular items include rare stamps, coins, war memorabilia and Pokemon cards. 

Spring is often the most popular time for buying and selling collectibles, with demand spiking in March and April. 

We’ve enlisted the help of TV presenter and collectables expert Tracy Martin to give an idea of what could make you an easy buck. 

Old toys making a ‘retro comeback’

Tracy explains that while trends change, vintage toys tend to stand the test of time. 

“Toys are always going to be popular because they tap into nostalgia, our childhood memories,” she says, explaining that adults like to buy the toys they used to have. 

Perhaps you were into cars, and you’ve got some old diecast vehicles from Matchbox, Corgi or Dinky Toys. 

A quick look on toy auction site Vectis.co.uk shows a Corgi Toys “James Bond” Aston Martin estimated to sell for between £600 to £700 – while others are likely to fetch £50 to £60. 

Sindy dolls are also particularly sought after – particularly those from the 1960s – and Barbie dolls from the 1990s too. 

Pokemon cards have seen a “massive surge”, Tracy says, with people paying “thousands and thousands of pounds” for good unopened sets. 

She’s even seen examples of people paying £16,000 upwards. 

Another up-and-coming market is games consoles, such as Gameboys, vintage consoles and PlayStations, which are making a “retro comeback”.

What else could earn you some cash?

Furniture

Tracy says there’s currently a surge in people wanting to buy “mid century” furniture, which is dated to roughly 1945 to 1965 and typically uses clean lines and has a timeless feel. 

Vintage Danish furniture is sought after, particularly tables and chairs with good designer names such as Wegner, Verner Panton and Arne Jacobsen.

Prices range from the low hundreds into the thousands.

People will also look out for vintage framed prints by artists such as Tretchikoff, J.H. Lynch and Shabner – these can range in price from £50 upwards to a few hundred pounds plus. 

Clothes

Vintage clothes, handbags and shoes can fetch a good price – but you can also invest in modern pieces. 

Tracy suggests looking out for good classic designs with high-end designer names such as Gucci, Chanel, Dior and Louis Vuitton. 

Modern designers such as Irregular Choice, Vendula and Lulu Guinness are also collected. 

Collaborations with designers and celebrities can do well as they’re often limited edition. 

For example, Tracy says the H&M x Paco Rabanne maxi silver sequin dress retailed at £279.99 last year but now sells for in excess of £600. 

When it comes to shoes, “the quirkier the design the better” – so look out for brands such as Irregular Choice and Joe Browns. 

Converse and Dr Martens collaborations also do well, depending on the design and condition, as well as Adidas and Nike limited edition trainers. 

What’s the best way to sell? 

Tracy recommends to always research before selling your items, as they might perform better on different platforms and you can also get an idea of how much they sell for. 

For example, Vinted can be a good place to sell clothes and shoes, while other items might be better suited for sale on Gumtree, eBay or Etsy. 

Tracy’s favourite way to sell is through auction – especially if there are specialist sales. 

Vectis is one of the biggest and most popular for toy selling. 

Interests in different periods and items can go up and down, but for the time being vintage pieces from the 1980s and 90s are popular. 

How much you’ll be able to get from an item often takes into account its rarity, condition, whether it reflects a period in time, and if it’s got a good name behind it. 

You never know – you might be sitting on a treasure trove. 

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