Cash or Trash? We talk to some experts to help determine what your collectibles may be worth

Posted at 11:32 PM, Sep 08, 2016
and last updated 2016-09-08 23:33:16-04

Maybe you have a baseball card collection… or a bin full of beanie babies. No matter what you’ve collected over the years, it’s hard to know what has real value, and what isn’t worth more than the dollar you’d slap on it at a garage sale.

Action News talked with Mark Diskin, a long-time of dealer of collectibles at the Royal Oak Farmer’s Market, and Aaron Siepierski, who runs the company Aaron’s Estate Sales, to find out the monetary value of things you may have hidden away.

First, we’re bursting the beanie baby bubble. Mark has a bag of them that once belonged to his kids.

“I thought I was going to put some on eBay and make a few bucks,” he says. “But they’re worthless… I don’t think you would be able to get ten dollars for this whole pile of them.”

Siepierski says don’t expect much more for those old Precious Moments figurines.

“I’ve had tables of these, hundreds of them, priced at $2-$5 a piece and the whole table is still there at the end of the sale.”

Hummels may get you more, but never what the families think they should get at estate sales, according to Siepierski.

“The majority, we can put $25-$30 dollars on a Hummel, but families think they’re worth hundreds of dollars.”

Don’t expect top dollar for those old Cabbage Patch Dolls either, unless Diskin says, you have one of the first ones made by a woman in San Francisco.

"Once they started making them in China, and really making a lot of them, the value is almost the same as beanie babies… basically nothing.”

Too many out there

That mass production is what has killed the value of a lot of things, including many toys. Bottom line, value is often equated with rarity and excellent condition. Diskin showed us a vintage wind-up toy from the 1950s, in excellent condition, with its original box. He estimates its worth $100.

When it comes to comic books, Siepierski says books in good condition made in the 50s or earlier hold the most value. They could fetch $100 or more per book. Comic books that also the first in a series, can also garner some good cash.

Timing is critical to the value of baseball cards value as well. After the late 70s, manufacturers made the cards available year-round, which dropped their value from that point forward. But earlier cards, in mint condition can be worth a lot. Diskin showed us a 1969 Hank Aaron card that he estimates is worth $40-$50.

If you have any old Pez containers around the house, take a close look at them.

“They’re worth something when they do not have the feet,” Siepierski explains. “They put the feet on in 1987.” He estimates most old Pez containers with the feet  may be worth $2-$5… but he showed us a few without the feet, that he says are worth $300-$800 each.

When Limited Edition isn’t so limited

Don’t be fooled into thinking limited edition means “gold mine.”

The Franklin Mint sells a lot of limited edition coins, plates and other collectibles, but our experts say there’s little resale value for them.

Detroit vintage memorabilia can also fetch some good money these days. We have a lot of great history in this town, and people are willing to pay for a part of it.

“Vintage Detroit memorabilia, whether it’s Tigers, Vernors, stuff like that, can have a lot of value if it’s old… 60s and earlier,” Siepierski says.

Some old records/vinyl are part of the soundtrack of our history… and they may be worth something.

“Well you know, there’s genres that are very collectible today,” Diskin explains. “Old rock ‘n roll, especially Detroit, and jazz.”

And if you’re lucky enough to have an old instrument laying around, it is worth researching.  Dsikin showed us a 1960s Gibson SG Deluxe.

“This is the kind of guitar they used in AC/DC, the band. Now this guitar is probably worth somewhere around $4000 to $5000.”

Do your homework

eBay is a good place to start if you want to research what something you have may be worth. But keep in mind, people can “ask” anything they want for something.

“So a lot of time you’ll get very excited because someone is asking untold money for something you have, but if you really stop and look back and do the research, you’ll find that maybe it doesn’t sell for anything near that,” Diskin says.