Although there are many avenues you can take to earn $1 million, here’s one that might surprise you: Cashing in on your geeky collectibles. It sounds a little far-fetched, but some collectibles have made their owners big bucks at auctions.
Of course, how much your geeky collectibles are worth can be subjective and might depend on a variety of factors like condition, rarity, age and demand. You’ll likely need multiple rare and valuable collectibles to fetch $1 million, but it could be worth giving a try if you’ve got a collection.
Check out these 10 geeky collectibles you might already own. If you’re lucky, you might have a jackpot collectible that could actually a jackpot collectible that could make you a million bucks.
1. Comic Books
Comic books are still a very popular collector’s item — and the more vintage and rare your comic book is, the more it’s worth. For instance, a 1938 copy of Action Comics #1 sold last year for nearly $1 million — $956,000, to be exact — at a public auction, according to Heritage Auctions.
Action Comics #1 featured the first appearance of Superman, according to collectibles auctioneer Heritage Auctions, and cost 10 cents when it debuted. In addition to being vintage, the comic book is rare — only 100 or so copies exist, according to Heritage Auctions.
Just because your comic book collection might contain some rare and vintage copies, however, doesn’t guarantee it’s worth $1 million. You must take into account additional factors when you’re buying, selling or trading comic books, according to ComicsPriceGuide.com.
For example, you should figure out your comic book’s marketability. If there’s a high demand for it, you’ll likely get a larger sum. Comics with classic covers or first appearances are typically more marketable, according to ComicsPriceGuide.com.
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Coin collectors truly enjoy a valuable hobby. Depending on their rarity and condition, coins can be one of the best things to collect for investment.
For example, the rare, 1894 S-Barber dime typically sells for more than $1 million, although it has sold for more than $2 million at private sales, according to Heritage Auctions. In fact, the 1894-S Barber sold for $1.9 million at an auction in Tampa, Fla., CNN Money reported.
If you have a coin collection you think contains classic rarities, figure out how much your coins are worth before you consider selling or auctioning them off. Heritage Auctions offers a price guide for beginners on its website. You can also visit the Professional Coin Grading Service website to get your coins graded.
Stamp collecting is so popular that collectors even have a holiday — National Stamp Collecting Month — in October. Stamps are another common collector’s item, and rare ones are some of the best things to collect to make money.
Take, for example, the ‘”Inverted Jenny” stamp. Only 100 of them exist, according to CNN Money, and one that was valued at $1.6 million was auctioned off last May. The stamp didn’t quite fetch that price, but a private buyer paid a staggering $1.1 million for it, according to the New York Daily News. Clearly, stamps are among collectibles that are gaining value.
If you want to sell any of your valuable stamps to make cash, prepare your stamp collection. If your collection is organized, it will likely sell for more money, according to LearnAboutStamps, an online resource for stamp collectors.
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4. Dolls and Action Figures
If you’ve been holding onto collectible dolls for years — perhaps because you want to pass them on — you might be sitting on a goldmine of collectibles. Although it might be hard to sell one toy for $1 million or more, selling several could help you come close to that figure.
For example, the 1963 G.I. Joe sold for $200,000 in 2003 in a private sale, according to CBS News. And if you visit eBay and search for dolls, you’ll likely find some offered for thousands of dollars.
Vintage Cabbage Patch Kids can drum up a lot of interest — and cash. Barbie is also among high-demand collectibles — the 1959 version typically fetches thousands on eBay.
5. Board Games
It might be hard to make $1 million or more from selling a single board game. In 2011, however, a craftsman created a gold-plated Monopoly board and set that cost more than $2 million, according to Smithsonian Magazine.
Although it’s unlikely you have a $2 million board game collecting dust in your garage or attic, a large collection of vintage board games could certainly add up. A quick search on eBay will reveal some board game sets worth $1,000 or more.
6. Baseball Cards
Baseball cards are often valuable collectibles. You might be in luck if any of the cards in your collection are rare.
A 1909-11 T206 Honus Wagner baseball card fetched $3.1 million through Goldin Auctions just last year, making it the most valuable baseball card in history. Two years earlier, the baseball card sold for $2.1 million online, according to ESPN. Reportedly, fewer than 200 were ever made, which explains the price tag.
Check the value of your baseball cards. Last March, seven T206 Ty Cobb cards someone discovered in the trash made news after they were valued at about $1 million — each was worth at least $150,000, according to The Washington Post.
7. Star Wars Collectibles
“Star Wars” is a cultural phenomenon — and branded items are hot. The franchise’s toys are some popular collectibles that are gaining in value.
One fan got $505,202 for his “Star Wars” collection of 600 items, according to CNN. Some items, however, were worth more than others.
For example, a pristine multipack of seven “Star Wars” action figures from “The Empire Strikes Back” sold for more than $30,000 — three times its estimate. And a recalled Luke Skywalker toy sold for $25,000. Meanwhile, Yak Face, a creature from “Return of the Jedi,” sold for only $7,250 and a “Return of the Jedi” Anakin Skywalker figurine sold for only $3,000.
If your “Star Wars” collection has a lot of items from the original trilogy, you could have a nice nest egg worth close to $1 million. Or, at the very least, you’ll have toys worth money in the future.
8. Movie Collectibles
To earn at least $1 million from a movie collectible, you first have to own the collectible, which might be very difficult because these items are highly sought after. Take the Cowardly Lion costume from “The Wizard of Oz” and the “Casablanca” piano, for example — the costume sold for $3 million at Bonham’s Turner Classic Movies auction and the “Casablanca” piano sold for $3.4 million, according to The Hollywood Reporter.
If you happen to have one of these rare collectibles lying around your house, you’re in luck. If you don’t, you might have action figures, a large collection of movie posters or perhaps even one-sheets you could sell for close to $1 million. In August, a one-sheet poster from the 1915 film “The Birth of a Nation” sold for nearly $75,000, according to Heritage Auctions. In addition, a “Son of Frankenstein” one-sheet sold for more than $40,000, and a “Dracula’s Daughter” one-sheet fetched more than $35,000.
If you have a movie poster collection you want to sell, vintage material from 1910 to 1950 usually holds the most value, according to Heritage Auctions. Popular horror and science-fiction film titles typically generate steep prices, as well as those related to Marilyn Monroe, James Dean, early Walt Disney cartoons and Alfred Hitchcock, to name a few.
If you have first-edition or classics, you might be able to fetch some cash for those collectible books. Hardcover first editions of “Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone” can fetch up to $45,000 and “Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets” can go for around $7,000, according to Sotheby’s. A first edition of F. Scott Fitzgerald’s classic, “The Great Gatsby,” however, could sell for as much as $400,000 — as long as it’s in a perfect dust jacket.
Books can be highly valuable depending on a number of reasons and factors that include rarity and binding quality, according to auction company Sotheby’s. Before you trash or decide to rebind your books, do your research — you just might have a gem in your hand.
10. Other Playthings
Valuable collectibles from childhood include more than action figures and vintage board games — and having a few of the right items in your old toy chest could be worth loads of cash. For instance, Lite-Brite, an illuminated art board you stick plastic pegs into to create glowing art, could sell for more than $100.
If you were crazier about Legos and you own a Lego train set, you might be in business — some vintage railroad sets can earn you a lot of cash. The 1985 High-Speed City Express Passenger Train in new condition is listed on eBay for nearly $3,000. And a Diesel Freight Train from 1980 can be worth more than $2,000 if the package is sealed, according to eBay.