Many of our lofts have become a dumping ground for old keepsakes, old family belongings or simply anything we can’t be bothered to sort out.
But some of the old items in your attic might be worth serious cash – even if you think they’re too old or out of style.
Things like old books, jewellery, comics, maps and glassware can be worth a serious wedge to the right buyer, according to over-50s expert Saga.
Antiques Roadshow expert Mark Hill has teamed up with Saga to help spot common items that could be worth more than they seem.
Mark said valuable items often have a mixture of age, good condition, rarity and desirability.
This combination means even an item that wasn’t worth much when it was first bought can become extremely valuable over time.
There is even a theory to describe this – Laver’s Law, which gets its name from James Laver, a historian of fashion.
This theory says that items and trends can become trendy 50 years after being created, The Money Pages reports.
Here are some of Mark’s top picks for hidden treasures to keep an eye out for.
1) Costume jewellery
Costume jewellery is often low-cost and designed to look good with an outfit, not be valuable in its own right.
It does not normally feature precious metals or gemstones that make other jewellery so valuable.
But Mark advised Brits to look out for costume jewellery made from the 1930s onwards by big names like Miriam Haskell, whose necklaces now sell for up to £3,400.
Top designers, like Chanel, began designing lines of costume jewellery that reflected their personal design style. Look for pieces with haute couture names, along with jewellery designers like Haskell, Trifari, and Eisenburg.
The condition of the medal plays a role.
The greater the significance of its backstory, the more value it holds.
If your medals are in great condition they will make more money than if they are damaged.
A Distinguished Service Cross sold in 2011 for £120,000.
Unlike coins, which enter circulation in large numbers, medals do not circulate and are generally unique to an individual.
Few people who inherit a medal will not sense its sentimental value and, to many, this can be priceless.
If you have the original papers and presentation boxes that go with your medals they will also be worth more.
Collecting coins can pay off – especially those with historical context.
The value of a coin is determined by a range of things, but mostly it comes down to how many exist and their condition.
Just last week The Mirror reported that a rare 50p released to mark the 2012 Olympics is now worth up to £255.
And the Olympics Aquatics Line 50p coin released in 2011 is currently listed on eBay for £700.
4) First edition books
If you happen to have the first edition of a popular book lying around or up in your attic, go ahead and dust off the cover because it could get you a few thousand quid.
From children’s collections to young adult books, many old books can be rare and worth something.
Harry Potter first edition books are 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
Of course, as with anything, rare comic books hold more value than common editions.
In fact, a rare copy could be worth millions.
Action Comics #1 is the issue where the world first met Superman back in 1938. It’s worth £3.1million.
A comic book featuring the first ever appearance of Spider-Man, titled ‘Amazing Fantasy #15’ sold for £2.75million in 2021, making it the most expensive comic book ever sold.
Antique maps capturing a specific geography are likely to hold value, such as an 1804 map of the county town, Stafford, selling for just under £500.
The older map is generally the more valuable it is.
Most collectors prefer large maps, as they are usually more detailed and more decorative.
But some collectors do prefer smaller maps, since they are less expensive and easier to store.
7) Modern art
The popularity of modern and contemporary art isn’t going anywhere.
Art can be so expensive because of its art-historical value, it’s importance as a piece of cultural heritage and how it shaped the world as we know it today.
The uniqueness and rareness of these pieces spurs demand.
If your family has an old antique painting sitting in the attic, bring it to an appraiser. You could have an unknown masterpiece on your hands.
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.
There are a few key factors that it’s important to look for when for valuable glassware.
Feel the weight of the item as higher quality glass is usually heavier.
Look for markings embossed in the glass which might indicate a brand or manufacturer.
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 £1,000.
10) Tribal art
Tribal art bought before the market began to move upwards, can turn out to be a very valuable item, with some figurines selling for hundreds of pounds.
Some of the most exceptional purchases of Oceanic and African art have been in the past decade, with seven-figure auction results (and even one eight-figure!) appearing regularly.