It always feels great to discard your old, unwanted junk and then bask in your newly clutter-free space — until 10 or 20 years later, when you’re browsing through an antique store or online auction and realize those items you discarded are worth a pretty penny now. Here are some things you might’ve owned in the 1980s that are worth hundreds or even thousands of dollars today.
Although most well-known VHS tapes have little to no value today, some of the more obscure ones have a high value. Take the super-schlocky 1987 horror movie "Tales From the Quadead Zone," which was never released on DVD or Blu-ray. Yet it has become something of a cult classic, and since VHS copies are the only ones available, collectors have paid up to $2,000 for a tape. The equally schlocky "Dr. Frankenstein’s Castle of Freaks," a 1974 movie released on VHS in 1986, is similarly valuable; in 2016, somebody paid $2,100 for a copy on eBay. Any VHS movies that were never re-released on other media have at least the potential to be valuable.
Next time you upgrade to a new phone, you might want to hang on to your old one just in case: even obsolete cellphones can have some collector’s value. For example: a 1983 Motorola DynaTAC 8000x, one of the first cellular phones ever made, can be worth more than $500 — even if it’s not in working condition. Granted, that sum seems paltry compared with the phone’s original $3,995 price tag (in 1983 dollars), but it’s still a lot more than you’d get from simply tossing a phone in an electronics-recycling box.
Quick Cash Tip: You don’t have to own a vintage or collectible phone to earn back some cash. Gazelle will buy used smartphones and other electronics that are from this decade.
Jem and the Holograms
Back in the day, Jem was "truly outrageous," and now you can say the same about the prices Jem and her friends can fetch on the collector’s market. A "Glitter and Gold Jem and Rio" set still in the box recently sold for $400 on eBay. Even Holograms dolls out of the box often sell for three figures (especially when their accessories are included).
Some of the original 1980s Garbage Pail Kids stickers are very valuable today. The most valuable of all is the ultra-rare "Adam Bomb," who was discontinued soon after his introduction (presumably because a cartoon drawing of a kid with a mushroom cloud exploding out of his head offended far too many of parents back then) and can be worth $12,000 today.
The animatronic Teddy Ruxpin, would move his eyes and mouth while reading stories to children (thanks to the cassette tape player hidden in his back). Today, a working Teddy Ruxpin in good condition can fetch up to $500 without the tapes and $5,000 if the tapes are included.
American Girl Dolls
Certain discontinued American Girl dolls have high collectible value today. If you have any dolls from 1980s, when the product line was first introduced, they can be worth anywhere from $2,000 to $5,000 today. For example, a mint-condition "Molly" doll, still in its box, from the 1980s could be worth up to $5,000 today. Mattel recently released new versions of "Molly" and her five historic friends for the American Girl line’s 35th anniversary.