Do you have any of these valuable vintage collectibles in your attic?
Do you know what’s in your attic, basement, or storage area? It might be worth taking a look – if you find one of the valuable vintage collectibles listed below, it might just make you rich! Many people collect things as a hobby. Collections may invoke nostalgia, create friendships and connections, and can even become a compulsive activity. But oftentimes, collectors pursue the thrill of the chase, the idea that something they collect may turn out to be extremely valuable. Take a look at some of the most famous – and expensive – collectibles in the world.
Honus Wagner T206 Baseball Card, 1911
This extremely rare baseball card was issued by the American Tobacco Company in 1911 and featured Johannes Peter “Honus” Wagner, also known as “The Flying Dutchman,” who played shortstop for the Louisville Colonels from 1897 until 1899, and then for the Pittsburgh Pirates from 1900 until 1917. Only 57 copies of this baseball card are known to exist. The rarity of this card enhances its value; just last August, a T206 Honus Wagner card sold for $7.25 million!
Kanagawa oki nami ura (The Great Wave) Japanese woodblock print by Katsushika Hokusai, c. 1826-33
Japanese woodblock printing, or ukiyo-e, an art form that originated in the 8th century, became hugely popular by the 18th century due to their highly stylized, sublimely colored aesthetic, and their subject matter of warriors, courtesans, and landscapes. One of the foremost ukiyo-e artists of this time was Katsushika Hokusai, whose series Thirty-Six Views of Mount Fuji produced the most valuable Japanese woodblock print in history, Kanagawa oki nami ura (The Great Wave). One of these prints sold in 2017 for $943,500, the most ever paid for a ukiyo-e print.
Interested in the sublime beauty of ukiyo-e? Our 2023 Vintage Japanese Prints Calendar contains 13 reproductions of Japanese woodblock prints that you can remove and frame for display in your home. Check it out here.
1951 Vincent Black Lightning Motorcycle
The 1951 Vincent Black Lightning is not only an extremely rare motorcycle (only 33 were manufactured), but the Black Lightning bike owned by racer Jack Ehret was also used to set the Australian Land Speed Record in 1953 of 141.5 mph. Combine these credentials, and you’ll understand why this Vincent motorcycle also set a record at auction, selling for $929,000 in 2018. British-made Vincent motorcycles were built for speed, and by 1948 the company was manufacturing the fastest production motorcycles on the market. After a long run of success, Vincent Motorcycles shuttered production in 1955 following financial losses caused by diverting capitol to other endeavors.
Painting from Haystacks series by Claude Monet, 1890
Impressionism, a style of painting known for its treatment of movement and light, achieved through loose brushwork and limited blending of colors, is a highly recognizable and popular genre of art. People flock to museums to view Impressionist artwork, especially those works created by famous artists. These paintings can be such valuable vintage collectibles that they are sometimes the target of art thieves, including Claude Monet’s Impression Sunrise (1872), the painting that gave the genre its name. Thankfully this painting has since been recovered. Monet also produced the painting that set the record for most expensive Impressionist painting sold at auction, a work from his Haystacks series in 1890. This painting sold in 2019 for $110.7 million!
Metropolis movie poster, 1927
Metropolis, a German silent science-fiction film by Fritz Lang released in 1927, is considered one of cinema’s most influential films, and a pioneer in the sci-fi genre. The movie is set in a dystopian future and deals with themes of classism, inequality, and the progression of capitalism. Critics praised the film for its lush beauty and special effects, although they found the storyline to be somewhat simplistic. The advertising poster for Metropolis was created by German graphic designer Heinz Schulz-Neudamm who was well-known for his movie posters. An original 1927 Metropolis poster recently sold at auction for $690,000, setting the price record for a movie poster.
The Shadow Detective Magazine, Issue #1, 1931
Long before YouTube and TikTok, people looking for immediate forms of entertainment turned to the “pulps,” or pulp fiction magazines. These inexpensively produced publications provided readers with short fiction with a variety of sensational, and often lurid, subject matter in genres including science fiction, horror, and detective fiction. Published between the late 1800s and the mid 1950s, the pulps hit their peak in the 1930s and 40s. Their name comes from the cheap, pulpy paper they were printed on. In 2021, a 1931 first edition of The Shadow Detective Magazine sold at auction for $156,000! Not bad for a magazine whose cover displays a recycled illustration, which first appeared on the October 1919 issue of The Thrill Book.
Have you been through your attic lately? You probably don’t own one of the items mentioned above, but you might want to take another look and see if you own any other old items – they could be valuable vintage collectibles that are worth more than you think!
All our 2023 calendars contain carefully restored reproductions of vintage, historical, and pop culture images in a variety of subjects. Every monthly image is perforated for easy removal and fits a standard 11”x14” frame for display year-round. You can browse all our 2023 calendar titles in our online shop.