10 items in your attic that could be worth a lot of money

…and the best collectable items to invest in this year according to experts.

From ugly décor to novelty memorabilia, Saga has partnered with Antiques Roadshow expert Mark Hill to help identify items of value that may be gathering dust in the corner of your home.

Saga asked Mark which commonplace items could be worth more than people think. He recommends looking out for costume jewellery from brands with popular names, or early computer games such as handheld Nintendo dual screens from the 1980s, and items with nostalgic value such as Star Wars toys.

Things in your attic which may be worth a lot of money:

  1. Costume jewellery – popular names from 1930s onwards are hotly desirable, such as vintage Miriam Haskell. Her necklaces are currently being sold for up to £3,400.00
  2. Medals – whilst condition plays a role, the greater the significance of it’s backstory, the more value it holds. A Distinguished Service Cross sold in 2011 for £120,000.
  3. Coins – collecting coins can pay off – especially those with historical context. The Olympics Aquatics Line 50p coin released in 2011 is currently listed on eBay for £700
  4. First Edition Books – while Harry Potter first edition books have known to sell for £80,000 – it’s worth checking if you own any lesser-known titles. The Very Hungry Caterpillar first edition is on sale for £2,439.38!
  5. Comic Books – a comic book featuring the first ever appearance of Spider-Man, titled ‘Amazing Fantasy #15’ sold for £2.75m (£2.75m) in 2021, making it the most expensive comic book ever sold.
  6. Maps – antique maps capturing a specific geography are likely to hold value, such as this 1804 map of the county town, Stafford, selling for just under £500.
  7. Modern art – the popularity of modern and contemporary art isn’t going anywhere. The value of these types of works can start at just £1,000 and increase significantly over time. Have you shown interest in any of artists dubbed by Christie’s as the ones to invest in right now?
  8. Glass – There can be a huge market for vintage glass items. However, popular 1930s vases you might have sitting at home can often fetch up to £50, like this one currently listed on Etsy.
  9. Ceramics – Antique ceramics and porcelain are relatively affordable to collect. It’s worth checking your cupboards for antique Royal Doulton pieces, such as dogs, that could be worth well over a thousand pounds.
  10. Tribal Art – Tribal art acquired before the market began to move upwards, can turn out to be a very valuable item, such as this figurine currently listed for £420.

How to determine the value of a collectable:

Mark Hill suggests that what was once considered bog-standard by one generation can seem extraordinary to the next. He explains:

“Many people furnishing their homes do not want what they grew up with, but what Granny had is cool. it’s a combination of condition, age, rarity and desirability”.

The rarity and desirability of an item work closely together with fashion, and focus on the supply and demand:

“if the supply is low and the demand is high, prices rise – often dramatically if the item is ‘in fashion’, if demand is low and supply is high, prices fall”.

 If we’re putting a number on it, a theory called Lavers Law, named after fashion historian James Laver, claims that a trend does not become fashionable until 50 years after it first bursts onto the scene. When it comes to items of crazy high value, Mark revealed those that could be worth the most money in 2022.

Collectable items worth the most money in 2022:

  • Wristwatches – primarily mechanical with complications by the best makers
  • Fine jewellery
  • Art – primarily paintings, and prints by certain artists, with a strong leaning towards art produced from late 19thC impressionism onwards, including modern and contemporary art and sculpture
  • Wine and whiskey
  • Classic cars
  • Mid-century modern furniture
  • Items related to key events, moments, or people in history – such as Platinum Jubilee memorabilia
  • Traditional antique furniture by top tier makers or designers, such as Thomas Chippendale
  • Antiquities – items from Ancient Greece, Rome, and other ancient cultures
  • Asian ceramics and works of art – particularly Chinese porcelain

The Platinum Jubilee brought many people an opportunity to get their hands on a piece of commemorative memorabilia that may be worth a small fortune in the future. Dickinson’s Real Deal star Tim Hogarth believes there’s significant interest in Platinum Jubilee memorabilia because we have never seen a monarch get to 70 years.

Knowingly, or unknowingly, many people may have picked up a hidden gem this Platinum Jubilee. These are the high-value investments according to Tim:

  • Items made by luxury retailers – such as Harrods or Fortnum & Mason
  • Items with a luxury connection – such as David Linley, or Halcyon Dayes enamel boxes
  • Platinum Jubilee coins – anything that the Royal Mint has issued in gold coinage should considerably increase in value within the next 5-10 years
  • Wines, whiskeys, and alcohol – those with a royal connection are great investments
  • Limited edition items – items made in smaller quantities are more desirable i.e. 1-100 pieces
  • Mistakes and misprints – items which have been pulled from circulation and remade due to misprints will become more valuable, as there won’t be as many of the originals around

Top collectible trends:

Today, younger generations are deeming items from the 1980s as fashionable vintage. In post-war Britain, G Plan and Ercol homewares may have seemed unremarkable to owners at the time but are still being actively used by this age group who are unaware that there is a strong demand for them.

It’s not just furniture from the 80s that’s popular – punk clothing from the same era by designers such as Vivienne Westwood or Malcolm McLaren has been known to sell for significant amounts, too.

This trend is set to continue, with Mark predicting that 1980s postmodernism and related style movements will rise in value as we continue to see the appearance of colours and patterns associated with these movements in fashionable bars and event spaces across the UK. In a similar way, there’s been a return to earthy tones and nature in today’s home décor, perhaps as an antidote to the digital working methods we now rely on.

What collectors should be keeping an eye out for in 2022:

Mark recommends studio ceramics, which are currently seeing the start of a rapid ascent to high values. Top names such as Bernard Leach, Lucie Rie and Hans Coper have seen considerable rises. He also strongly predicts the same will happen with studio glass in the next few years with names such as Sam Herman and other pioneers leading the rises for glass. In a similar vein, second and third tier artists within the Modern British art movement have been seeing rises in value. Mark also predicts that items with “positive environmental aspects” (such as recycling and upcycling potential) will be among those with the “largest rise in desirability and value”.

Is the future of proper ‘collecting’ in jeopardy?

For many of today’s new ‘collectors’, a huge collection is not necessary. It’s more about lifestyle collecting, where 3-5 items are purchased and may in future be switched out for new pieces when the collector falls out of love with it. As time goes on, it’ll be interesting to see how many of these new generations of collectors wish to amass large collections of one type of item over a period and become deeply educated in the subject.

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