How To Find Out What It's Worth

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You have an old family item, but is it worth big bucks or just sentimental value? Here is a way to find out before you put it in a garage sale for a dollar or two.

  1. Accurately and unsentimentally assess your item for manufacturer marks, condition, and size.
  2. Take a picture to post on forums and/or take to the library or a bookstore.
  3. Visit local bookstores or the library to check out their collector books for more information on your items. Although you can't really sit down and research an item at a bookstore -- a quick look will tell you whether it's worth buying the book for more information.
  4. Look on eBay; put item description in the search feature and see if any like items are found in the completed auction area. Since many auctions are not bid on until the last few minutes, the completed auctions area is the only place you will find what it really sold for.
  5. Visit online malls such as Tias or Ruby Lane and do another search for that particular item.
  6. Check to see if there are any collectors clubs online that deal with your collectible. Clubs are a tremendous resource and many times will answer your questions even when you're not a member.
  7. Take all these figures and average them out to find an approximate value. Be sure to factor in the condition of your item. Cracks, chips, tears and stains will greatly diminish the value.
  1. If you are still stuck, post your clear 'small' picture on a collectors forum that allows images to be used and ask for help.


  1. Keep in mind when selling an item the price depends on the buyer. Dealers will usually not pay a book value, whereas a collector might. But, many buyers are looking for deals for online items and are not willing to pay book price if there are a dozen like items available.
  2. Be honest with yourself on assessing condition when trying to establish value. Chips, cracks, and repairs always take away a substantial amount of the values.