This old item in your kitchen is actually worth thousands of dollars

Those large sets of silver-plated dinnerware or crystal stemware you inherited? They may not be worth as much as you hope, but your kitchen could still contain treasures. “Today’s kids don’t want what their great-grandmothers grew up with,” says Helaine Fendelman, a New York City-based expert in art, antiques, and collectibles. “Most of the kids today want IKEA, Restoration Hardware, Crate and Barrel—stuff they can put in a dishwasher. They don’t want things like gold and silver.”

10 PHOTOSValuable items in your kitchenSee GalleryValuable items in your kitchen

Antique stoves

If you have an 1880s stove that’s still in excellent working condition, you can get between $3,000 and $5,000 for it, Fendelman says. “The West Coast is a hotbed of old stove people,” she says. Curious if yours might be worth money? Check out the Barnstable Stove Shop, which restores and sells antique coal stoves and gas kitchen ranges.


One of Fendelman’s friends collects whimsical teapots. She’s paid between a few dollars to a couple of hundred dollars for them. “She has them in her kitchen and they’re beautiful,” Fendelman says. She recommends the websites Ruby Lane and Cyberattic as good resources for getting a sense of the value of kitchen collectibles. Don’t miss these 10 hidden treasures that could be in your garage.

Wall clocks

“Anything that has color, that has form, that has shape, that’s different,” is appealing to collectors, Fendelman says. She had a wall clock in her kitchen that she paid $18 for and ultimately sold for $25. “So you’re not going to get rich,” Fendelman says. “But they’re fun to decorate with.”

Cast iron

Cooking with cast iron has come back into vogue, but people are also looking for pieces they can display. One popular item? A company called Prizer developed an enamel for their cast-iron cookware that brought color to kitchens in the 1950s and 1960s, Dixey says. Pieces like that appeal especially to millennial collectors today. “It’s something that they don’t just put on a shelf and look at,” Dixey says. “They get to use it.”

Vintage toasters 

Another friend of Fendelman’s collects vintage toasters. He bought them for anywhere from $50 to $150, she says. One thing to remember: the condition is paramount in anything you’re looking to sell. “Everything has to work,” Fendelman says. “You can’t have missing pieces or missing parts. A rolling pin with one handle doesn’t cut it.”

Vintage cookbooks

“The Fannie Farmer cookbook is not a good one, but there are early cookbooks that are valuable,” Fendelman says. In fact, there’s a shop devoted to them in New York City called Bonnie Slotnick Cookbooks. So if you’ve got a copy of, say, The Secrets of Jesuit Breadmaking on your shelf, it could be worth money. Find out what rare books could be worth a fortune.

Salt and pepper shakers 

Many people collect figural salt and pepper shakers, such as Mickey and Minnie Mouse or fire trucks, Fendelman says. “They’re fun to decorate with and have on your table,” she says. For example, a set of porcelain Dachshund shakers goes for $38.

Cookie molds 

Carved wooden cookie molds made in Pennsylvania and Germany are also in demand. “They have to have figures of people on them to be really rare,” Fendelman says. A mold of an angel with a horn crafted by a master woodcarver is going for about $21.99. Here are 8 cheap things that could be worth a fortune someday.

Le Creuset Cookware

You may have gotten this premium cookware from Williams Sonoma and Crate and Barrel, and it retains its value. “More and more I see them on the secondary marketplace selling for almost as much as when they were new,” Fendelman says. So if you’re looking to unload your dutch oven, you might get back close to what you paid for it.

Wrought-iron cooking spoons and ladles

Utensils that date back to the 1800s are also popular among people looking to add a rustic touch to their homes. Items like this wrought-iron ladle may have peaked in public interest and Dixey doesn’t think they’ll appreciate further. “Still, $20 is $20,” Dixey notes. Next, find out what items from your childhood could be valuable.

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That doesn’t mean that you don’t have valuable items hiding in your kitchen. These days, there’s a “Magnolia effect,” inspired by former HGTV stars Chip and Joanna Gaines, says Marsha Dixey, consignment director at Heritage Auctions. “A lot of people are mixing older stuff with this mid-century stuff and making it work,” she says. So while your grandmother’s china might not fetch a pretty penny, those fun salt and pepper shakers from the 1950s could be worth more than you think. Here are some potentially valuable items that might be gathering dust in your kitchen.

RELATED: Never buy these at garage sales 21 PHOTOS21 things you should never buy at garage salesSee Gallery21 things you should never buy at garage sales


Helmets are designed to protect you from one accident, and one accident only. Sometimes the damage isn’t visible, so buy a new helmet to make sure you’re getting full protection.

On the flip side, if you see any of these things at a garage sale, make sure to snap it up!

Child car seat 

Like helmets, car seats are really only meant to protect in one accident. But damaged car seats are common; a survey found that one in ten have been in an accident. Plus, car seat technology improves each year.


If they’ve been in an accident, tires are likely to be unstable and unreliable. Make sure you can get an accurate history.

Wet swimsuits 

Personal products that hug your body are technically safe if you wash them in hot water… and still we’re cautious. But constant changes in water pressure also wear out swimwear faster than regular clothing, so it’s likely a used wetsuit or swimsuit will tear.

Are you the one hosting a garage sale? Make sure to check out these tips for making money at a yard sale.


Bed bugs could lurk in any used mattress. You might also end up sleeping with other people’s mold, mites, bacteria, and bodily fluids (yuck!).


Scores of crib recalls, as well as changing safety standards, make it hard to verify the safety of a used crib.

Don’t miss these thrift store shopping secrets for scoring the perfect gem.

Laptops or other devices

Laptops, e-readers, tablets, or mp3 players are more likely to be dropped, knocked around, and spilled on, simply because they’re out in the world. A desktop computer sits (mostly) safe at home, but even that would likely cost more to upgrade than buy new.


It’s hard to determine how well TVs, DVD players, and other electronic devices have been cared for by their previous owners. Plus, technology changes so quickly that you can often get a better quality device. If you’re buying refurbished devices directly from a manufacturer, you’ll be covered by a warranty—but a random TV at a garage sale could be hit or miss.

Don’t miss this story about the strange people that garage sales tend to attract.


Used shoes have been molded to their previous owner’s feet—and poorly fitting shoes will make you miserable, or you’ll just never want to wear them.

Sheets and pillowcases 

 Sure, you can wash them in hot water, but that might not protect against bed bugs.

Baby bottles

While sanitation and cracks can be an issue, the real culprit is the chemical BPA that’s present in most older bottles—and as of June 2012, the FDA no longer accepts that as safe. Go with new bottles to make sure you’re getting the safest, most up-to-date bottles.

Worn plates, pots, and other cookware

Rust, flaky non-stick coatings, and chemicals that leach out are just a few of the safety problems you can run into with older cookware. But if you see any of these vintage kitchen items for sale, they might be worth grabbing!

DVDs, CDs and VHS tapes 

If you’re still using this technology and looking to scoop up a bargain, know that scratches have ruined many a DVD or CD—and VHS tapes lessen in quality the more times they’re played, not to mention disintegrate over the years.

Upholstered furniture

 Just like mattresses and sheets, any upholstered furniture can be home to bed bugs, fleas, and spiders, as well as unknown odors and stains. Unless you’re going to reupholster the piece, steer clear.

Clothes that require a tailored fit

It might look like it fits—until you put it on. Unless you can try something on, it’s often not worth the money you’ll spend on alterations. Don’t miss these things thrift and consignment shop owners aren’t telling you.

Video Games

You might want to quickly google the video game—manufacturers are now including codes for one-user only play, either for the whole game or special bonus sections.

Fragrance or makeup (new or old!)

The quality of both can lessen over the years (and yes, they do expire!). Even if makeup is brand new in the box, skip it unless you can tell that it was recently manufactured.

Stuffed animals

Stuffed animals can be hard to send through the extra-hot cycle on a washing machine, and like mattresses and upholstered furniture, they can be full of creepy crawlies and other unsavory finds.

Of course, if you spot one of these valuable childhood toys, you might want to snap it quickly.

Blenders and other kitchen electronics

Your go-to smoothie maker’s blades and mechanisms can become dull and wear down over time, even if the machine looks fine on the surface.

Running shoes

Used running shoes are often devoid of the cushioning that runners need; stick with new shoes for the cushioning and fit that will protect knees, feet, and legs.


How’s this for gross: Hats may contain remnants of hair products, sweat, or skin infections.

Here are nine secrets to scoring a great antique deal, according to experts.

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