Do you have a fortune hidden in your garage, attic or basement? Youd be surprised to learn what collectors consider valuable.In 1989, a mans flea market purchase of a framed painting turned out to be a gold mine.He later discovered a folded-up document behind the painting: an original copy of the Declaration of Independence.

It later sold at auction for more than $8 million, according to 2012, someone in Martinsville, Virginia found his late great-uncles comic book collection in the basement.Those 345 comics fetched $3.5 million at auction, according to CBS News.Gold in the Garage?There are many stories out there about people finding lost treasure in their garages, basements or attics another reason why Antique Roadshow has such a busy road schedule.(Sadly, few of us have that kind of luck.)However, while downsizing for retirement (and since Boomers kids are reluctant to take our stuff), it might be smart to take one last look through our stuff to see if we have hidden treasure in the items weve held on to, left for us by a relative or other loved one.Hidden Treasure?So, what do people find in their own homes? All kinds of things, says Glenn Spellman, at Spellman Gallery in New York City.Old paintings, even if they are damaged.

Sometimes people see old paintings, and if they see a hole, or if theyre damaged, they just assume its something to throw out.But antique paintings are easily repaired, he says.It can be repaired by a restorer and might be valuable.Costume jewelry can be valuable, Spellman says he often finds gold in costume jewelry, especially pieces from the Victorian era.

Cameos, for instance, often contain gold.Gold prices are high right now so a handful of gold can be worth over $1,000.Also, some costume jewelry is very collectible.Vintage dishware, according to Martha Stewart is valuable in certain scarce patterns.

The price often depends on the objects desirability and condition, according to her website.While a set of old custard cups may fail to sell for 50 cents, a four-color, four-piece mixing bowl set can cost from $45 to $65.The value depends on the pattern and the condition.

Spellman says he found a set of four Pyrex bowls that were about to be thrown out that he valued at $300.And theres a brisk market for vintage Corningware on eBay.Furniture is tricky.

Some stories on the internet say big brown furniture is at the top of the list of things our children dont want.Richard Eisenberg, in an article in Next Avenue, said brown furniture like dining room tables and chairs and armoires (brown furniture) have become furniture non grata.But Spellman says Mid-Century Modern furniture is hot.

If its in good shape and a has a nice design, its quite sellable, he says.Old denim clothing can be quite valuable, Spellman notes.Levi jeans are sought after, the older the better, he says.

Theres Levis from the 19th Century that are worth thousands of dollars.Vintage clothes is a big category.Even rock and roll t-shirts from the 1970s and 80s can be worth hundreds of dollars, if its the right band and the condition is good.

Spellman says t-shirts from bands like Led Zeppelin and the Rolling Stones, and some of the early rap music artists can be valuable.Some t-shirts from the late 1980s and early 1990s are worth thousands.Vinyl record albums.I sell a lot of vinyl records and there is a strong market, says Spellman.

Theres a lot of people who come to my gallery looking for vinyl records and the average age is probably 30 years old.Theyre really into it now.The categories where the value is going to be is jazz records on the Blue Note label from the 50s and 60s.

He says you also want the earlier pressings, preferably the first pressing, of a vinyl record.Some Beatles records can be valuable, he says, but most of the ones in the market are the later pressings.A Hidden TreasureSpellman says a few years ago a man in Oregon sent him a photo of a Korean painting.He recognized it as a mid-Century Korean painter.

He sent it the photo to a colleague in Korea who in turn flew to Oregon to authenticate the painting.He ended up selling the picture for a few hundred thousand dollars, Spellman says.And the guy called me practically in tears.He says you dont know how much this means to me.

Its totally changed my life.Im just a professor in college.I have a young, teenage son and I wasnt sure how I was going to pay for college.

I love stories like that.YOUR TURNHas any of your trash turned out to be a treasure? Share your experience in the comments!Rodney A.Brooksis an award-winning journalist and author.The former Deputy Managing Editor/Money at USA TODAY, his retirement columns appear in U.S.

News & World Report and has also written for National Geographic, The Washington Post and USA TODAY and has testified before the U.S.Senate Special Committee on Aging.

His book, The Rise & Fall of the Freedmans Bank, And Its Lasting Socio-economic Impact on Black America was released in 2024.He is also author of the book Fixing the Racial Wealth Gap.His website iswww.rodneyabrooks.comYour use of any financial advice is at your sole discretion and risk. and Older Adults Technology Services from AARP makes no claim or promise of any result or success.

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