It’s hard to imagine that we’re sitting on a small fortune with the very things in our house. Of course, as we get older, we tend to chuck away possessions or donate them to others. But, what if those collections were actually enough to help you into early retirement? Sadly, these people will never know how much their stuff was worth…
#1 Sentimental Reasons
South African coin collection that my older sister threw away without consulting anyone. Thankfully, they were not Kruger rands. My parents would have kept those safe. They were random old copper coins that had become rare because they were old. I was young and naive and had never thought to value them. They may not have been worth that much at the time, but they were valuable to me for sentimental reasons. They may be worth a few hundred each by now. Who knows?
#2 Looking for Them
I had the complete collection of Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles figures when I was younger. I packed them into a box and put them away. Then later, I when looking for them and I couldn't find them. So, I asked my mother what happened to them and she said, “Oh, those. I threw them out. You weren't playing with them anymore."
#3 Comic Book Man
Nearly all of the first 24 editions of virtually every Marvel series, from The Fantastic Four to Spiderman (including the Amazing Tales in which he was introduced) to Iron Man , the Hulk , Thor , Sgt. Fury and His Howling Commandos . I had basically all of them. At a comic book store I was once looking at some collectors editions of those comics priced at about $1500 to $2400. I said to the clerk, "Man, I used to have all of these." The clerk, whom I'm sure was Matt Groening's model for Comic Book Man, without even looking up said in a bored voice, "Do you know how many times a day I hear that?"
#4 Summoning Poverty
My mom had a collection of signed Beatles records that she threw away after she converted to Christianity. Her reasoning for that was the records, when played backwards, summoned the devil or something weird. For years I was hoping to inherit those when I grew up. However, all I think it summoned was poverty.
#5 In the Box
My uncle actually collects Star Wars. Long story short, he has a mental condition and receives government aid, but can still work a job. He has an insane collection. I helped him and my grandpa move recently and filled a 12x15 foot unit filled to the ceiling of boxes. 95% of the stuff was still in the box. He estimates paying over $50000 collecting them. He can’t ever drive and has poor social skills, so he spends all his money collecting.
#6 Card Values
After my mom passed, my dad met this crazy Jehovah’s witness and one thing led to another. About a month before my high school graduation, we got into a huge fight over something and she burned my collection of old DnD books and Magic cards. They were complete collections… every first edition book in good condition signed by Gygax. I guess my brother knew him at some point. The real kicker? I rode the wave of the original Magic the Gathering launches back in the day, complete sets of the original series. All burnt to a crisp. When I want to be depressed about never being able to retire, I look up the card values.
#7 Entire Collection
It wasn’t worth any monetary value, but my father got rid of my entire Lego collection when I was in the Navy. My sister is pregnant with her first child and mentioned she wished we still had my enormous Lego collection for him (her son). It may not have been worth a fortune, but it definitely meant something to us.
#8 Guest Room
About 40 Indian Arrowheads collected on my grandparents’ farm for years by myself and my grandfather. Also, full sets of baseball cards from 1969-1980. My mom decided to toss out all that “junk” when I moved out for the military. The stuff was in a box, in a closet. Mom, God bless her, decided to turn my room into a guest room and thought that box was just junk.
#9 To a Worthy Cause
I had every single Beyblade released in the United States until I went to college. When I moved out, my mom “gave them away to a worthy cause.” Turns out, she dumped them in the trash. The man who drives the garbage van told me about them and asked me if he could take them home for his kid. I agreed to part with them anyway.
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#10 Money for Laundry
I remember when state quarters first came out, my father sent me a collection of every first edition state quarter. One time I went to show my friends a while later and couldn't find them. I asked my mother and she said she had to use them for laundry. We were very poor at the time, so I understand, but I was a little sad by it as well. It was one of the only things my father ever sent me.
#11 One Random Dog
I had so many Littlest Pet Shop toys — the original ones, not the reboot where they all have weird, giant eyes and bobbleheads. My mom gave them away. I had just assumed she was organizing them into a bin so they'd be easy to find, but apparently she was boxing them to get rid of them. All I have left is this one random dog and a gold feeding dish from a different set.
#12 Absolute Favorite Book
I had this book my dad gave me as a child. It was my absolute favorite book and got lost somewhere in our various moves, which devastated me. My brother, very thoughtfully, went to buy it a couple of years ago as a replacement. It turned out it was a limited copy, no longer in print and worth a bloody fortune. Needless to say, he didn’t buy it, but it’s on my bucket list to get a copy.
#13 A Single Shoe
Barbies. My family wasn’t super well-off growing up, but for some reason they allowed my sibling and me to amass dozens of Barbies, hundreds of clothes, two dollhouses, three cars, one RV, a plane, and so much else. When I was 12 and had outgrown it all, my dad decided it was time to pass them onto younger cousins or otherwise get rid of them. Looking back, we should’ve held onto most of it. I had celebrity Barbies, anniversary Barbies, Barbies that came with horses, or were ballerinas, or were otherwise novel in the Barbie world. I literally spent 10 years collecting Barbies and now don’t even have a single shoe to show for it.
#14 Smushed Pennies
I actually still collect those smushed pennies you can make from a crank machine at tourist attractions. I’m very proud of my original World Trade Center smushed penny; I was in the trade center two weeks before 9/11 happened. Not sure how much it would go for, but that penny is probably worth more than one cent.
#15 Little Horse Wars
Breyer horses and OG My Little Pony toys. As a horse girl, they were my favorite things. I would get my whole herd out every day and make them fight little horse wars in the hallway. One day, an adult trying to get to the bathroom stepped right into the heart of the infamous Battle of Bridle Creek and my dear palomino warrior queen Sun Dance was crushed underfoot. Broken legs… an injury that no horse royal can recover from. Also, my stepdad was mad about it and packed all of my horses up for the Goodwill glue factory. I’m still mad.
#16 First Five Years
When I was a young man of 11 or 12 (1968 or so), I found my dad’s collection of Playboy magazines. He had every month for the first five years or so of publication. I would peruse them, read the articles, and gaze in wide wonder at the pictures. My mom figured out that I had found them and made dad get rid of them. They would be worth several monies today…
#17 Happy Meals
McDonald's Happy Meal toys from the late ‘80s and early ‘90s. My mother had collected and hoarded these until her passing in 2003. My father ended up selling them at a yard sale during the 2008 recession to make more money. He sold them for $1 apiece. Some of those TY Beanie Baby bears she collected are worth at least $250 apiece today.
#18 Checking the Mail
When I was a kid, I used to collect basketball cards. I would go with my dad to the flea market on weekends and buy packs from this old lady that had a table selling cards. One day, she convinced me to get a pack from this new series one of the big companies was releasing. It cost a bit more than the packs I would normally get, but she got me excited about it.
When I got home I opened the pack and among the cards was this really strange one that was just of a hardwood floor. I turned it around and read that I had won a framed autographed Shawn Kemp card. I wasn't really a big fan of his, but I had never won anything in my life, so I was really excited. I had to mail this card in and they would send the framed autographed one to me. I asked my mom if she could do it and she said sure. I would come home every day and check the mail right away to see if it came, but months passed and nothing. I asked my mom if she had mailed it and she said that she had.
I never got my card, but I'm convinced that my mom accidentally lost it or threw it away and didn't want to tell me because she knew I would be upset. It may not have been worth thousands of dollars, but it's still something cool that I won and would have liked to have. Also, it would probably be worth a couple hundred.
#19 Stacking Spells
My friend recently told me he was going to get rid of his Magic the Gather cards. Not throw them away, but just get rid of them in a bulk sale. His reasoning was that he spends too much time on building decks rather than getting to the stuff that needs to get done around the house. I told him to bring them over and I would hold on to them until his one-year-old son is able to play Magic with him.
A couple of weeks later, he brought over all his decks and loose cards in a small box. I wrapped them up and wrote his son's name on the box. I figured I’d hold on to them for about 11 years. I think 12 is about the right age for him to comprehend the difference between an instance versus an interrupt and how stacking spells work.
#20 Energy Drinks
I found out my brother-in-law was using his grandfather’s coin collection to buy energy drinks and cigarettes. They were a lot of mint silver dollars and assorted old coins he collected for decades. I found him basically taking the coins out of their display cases and tossing the plastic case so he could use them at face value. The grandfather at the time had dementia so no longer cared. I never found out how much money was lost.
#21 A Hero’s Plate
It certainly wouldn’t be worth a fortune, but I had all six of the Hercules plates McDonald’s was giving out during the movie release. I was so proud of my collection and I ate dinner on one of those plates almost every day of the week. Of course, I grew out of them and probably let my mom throw them away. I wish I had them now.
#22 Valuable Stamps
When I was seven, I used to stay at this friend of my parents’ house. She was older and sort of a substitute grandmother. Her mother lived with her and she used to collect stamps. When she passed away, the sub grandma gave me the collection. My oldest brother had them in his room, I can't remember why.
My parents used to make a big pile in the middle of our rooms of what was messy and we had a couple of hours to put it all away. My brother joked about and didn't do it. So, the remaining pile was thrown out. In that pile was the collection of stamps. To this day, I believe that there would have been valuable stamps in that collection considering the age of the collection, but I'll never know.
#23 Worthless Shells
I had a shell collection. The shells themselves were worthless, but I had a fossilized purple urchin. My paleontology lecturer freaked out when I was telling my friend about it. I don’t why. He said if I still had it and if it was he thought it was worth it, he would pay $60,000 AUD for it. Yeah my mother chucked it out years before that. I have never told her.
#24 One by One
My pokemon cards. I had every first edition holographic on all the major Pokemon (Charizard, Machamp, Nidoqueen, etc.). My dad got mad that my older brother and I were fighting over them, so he grabbed the stack and ripped them in half one by one. I cried my eyes out. I was only nine or ten (I’m 28 now) but even then I knew the value they had.
#25 More Appropriate Cover
Lynyrd Skynyrd released an album where the album cover had the band members standing in a fire. Not long after the release of this album, some of the members passed away in a plane crash and they recalled the albums so they could give it a more appropriate cover. My grandpa had one of the originals and he probably could have made a lot off it… if his mom didn’t throw it away, not knowing what it was.
#26 Out of Print
I had the complete collection of James Gurney's Dinotopia books. They ranged from the large, illustrated books to the smaller novels written later that included his artwork. They are now completely out of print to my knowledge and increase in value each year. I really wish that I still had those in my house somewhere.
#27 A Bad Move
My mom threw out my collection of my grandfather’s watercolours. He was by no means a famous artist, but he was skilled. In his retirement, he lived off selling his paintings for a few hundred apiece and I had upwards of 20. Once he passed, I inherited quite a few of his works that I wanted to one day hang in my future home. I had a vision of having a hallway filled with beautiful landscape watercolours. I still can’t believe they’re gone. I think what hurts most is that my mom still doesn’t think throwing away my deceased grandfather’s paintings was a bad move on her part.
#28 Decent Amount
I had a baseball card collection with over 200,000 cards when I was a teenager. Many HOF autographs, memorabilia cards, signed gloves and balls, a game-worn jersey from the Padres ‘98 World Series run. Needless to say, it was already worth a decent amount at that time. I looked up some of the larger items in today's retail markets, and those alone would've fetched around $20-25,000 USD. My mom took them when I moved to my dad's house because she was toxic. She sold it all for a few thousand on Craigslist and kept the money.
#29 Royal Rumble
When I was still a kid, I had the Stone Cold action figure that you could only get if you ordered the 1999 Royal Rumble. He was in jeans and a black “Royal Rumble” t-shirt. It also came with a Vince McMahon action figure. I wonder what this would be worth unopened in about 50 years from now. I guess I’ll never know.
#30 The Moving Men
I don't know if it's worth anything, but I miss my rock collection, which included a trilobite fossil. When she moved, I asked her to keep an eye out for it. Later, she said that the moving men popped the top of each box. The rocks weren't on top, so it may have looked like a box of old clothes. It got tossed. For some reason, she didn't want me there when she moved.
#31 Inheriting Cards
I’d probably have to say my brother's Yu-Gi-Oh! cards collection. Well, when he left home, I inherited it. However, my mom threw it into the trash. He had almost 300+ cards. He also had cards from the first season as soon as they came out. These cards could not be valued as a "fortune," but maybe it would’ve been worth a lot.
#32 Plastering the Toilet
I had a huge collection of MAD magazines, Asterix , Lucky Luke etc. The former partner of my mother thought it would be fine to plaster the toilet with them. It looked cool and all, but he didn’t ask nor apologize for taking my stuff to do with as he pleased. It’s not even on the top 50 bad things he did to us, but strangely it’s the one I'm more upset about now. He’s the only person in the world I'd love to see in pain.
#33 Childhood Possessions
Robots, lots of robots from the ‘60s, and ‘70s. Some were the tintype, some were plastic, some I haven't even seen on the internet although I keep thinking someone has to have at least one left somewhere. All in total, about 25+ kinds of robots from my childhood. My dad threw them out because when you turn 12, you apparently don't need toys. This is probably why my wife makes fun of all the junk I keep because I never got the choice to part with them, so now I horde all remaining childhood possessions.
#34 Charitable Mom
I had pretty much every Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles action figure ever made. I was obsessed with them and had them stashed in a container in my closet when I went away to college. When I came home, I found out that my mom had given them all away to her friends’ kids, along with all of my Lego, without even asking.
#35 What I Learned
In 1997, I asked my parents to reinvest some money that was set aside for us by my grandfather. It was about $8000 after tax into Apple stock. They were correct to tell me no, but I never quite put the thought away. If they did and were smart enough that we kept it, not counting reinvested dividends, we'd have 349,127 shares today. The current share price would be $98,453,865. I often think about how my life could be different if my parents threw sanity to the wind and listened to their middle-school-age son about what he learned in class.
#36 Grandfather’s Collection
I never technically owned it, but I got to see it once: my grandfather’s comic book collection. He would be 92 if he was still alive. It's in a chest in the original family home. It was inherited by a hoarder who will probably lose it all someday. Honestly, it’s better than the huge luggage trunks the family brought to the States when moving from Czechoslovakia in the 1800s. They’re in the same attic.
#37 Doorway for Demons
My parents were evangelical Christians and burned all of my first edition Harry Potter books. Unfortunately, they didn’t stop there. They also burned mine and my brother's Pokemon collection. The HP stuff for "witchcraft" reasons and the cards because the yin yang sign on them is "a doorway for demons.”
#38 Psycho Mom
I had a huge collection of Magic the Gathering cards all in mint condition, dating back all the way to alpha. I collected them as a young kid. My psycho mom decided that I had too much stuff that I enjoyed and threw out my collection with a bunch of other stuff. While quite possibly a $1 million collection, maybe slightly under, I am offsetting this by the comics she did the same thing to. Basically, by the time I left home, my MTG collection, comic collection, soccer gear, signed artwork, and various other things were thrown away. If you add it up, it goes well above the two-million-dollar mark.
#39 Useless and Outdated
My grandfather was a high hierarchy in the military. He would collect a ton of stuff from all over the world. After he passed away, my grandmother and aunt threw away a lot of "junk" (so many valuables). But this specific case... they tossed two stupid writing machines that were useless and outdated had no use to them. They were two Enigma's.
#40 Unpaid Storage Unit
My mom has always been a paycheck-to-paycheck kind of woman. She also moved houses constantly when I was a kid. We left my mom's stupid boyfriend's house and she needed a place to put some of our things. She found a storage container unit and put lots of valuables in there, including my original first edition sleeved Pokemon card collection. I had hundreds of cards in there. These days, some are worth good money. I could have made a ton off of that collection if I had wanted to, but mom let the storage unit go unpaid for too long, and we lost everything. It still guts me to this day.
#41 Cleaning the House
My mom had original, first editions of Conan the Barbarian comics, including the very first issue. They were opened, but still in pretty good condition apparently. When my grandmother was cleaning around the house while my mom was at university, she tossed them. As somebody who likes Conan, this hurts me as well.
#42 Bunch of Slides
My grandfather was a train enthusiast and would photograph trains as a hobby. When he passed away, we sorted through his belongings and found a bunch of slides. Like, a lot . We kept a box or so and threw the other boxes out. We took the one box to an auction and it sold for $5,000. We threw out nine other boxes .
#43 Hoping for the Best
I had first edition copies of all the Harry Potter novels. My Christian mother made me get rid of them because of witchcraft and magic. Now, I have first editions of all of Rick Riordan's Percy Jackson and connected universe books, three of which are signed by Rick himself. I hope they don't go missing after I leave for college in a few months.
#44 Nowhere to be Found
I had the original Conkers Bad Fur Day , with the box and manuals. I told my parents it's a game about teddybears and squirrels on an adventure. They saw me and my friends playing the multiplayer with the nuke while I was happily decapitating squirrels as my little teddy. Long story short, they took it to the storage room until I was a few years older and now it's nowhere to be found.
#45 Piggy Bank
It wasn't thrown away, but I used to have a big Coke bottle-shaped piggy bank where I kept my money for college. It had been filling up for four or five years. We left the house for three months, came back, and the only thing missing was the money I had been saving for college. So, that obviously sucks for me.
#46 It Was Pretty Old
My PS2. My relatives wanted to borrow it for a while for their young kids to play with it. After a few months, I checked if they were still using and they claimed that they weren’t. I asked them if I could take it back and they said, “Oh, it was pretty old, so we thought no one would use it anymore. We tossed it away.” I’ve hated them ever since.
#47 Those Trout Cards
A lot of original Star Wars stuff from the late ‘70s and early ‘80s. 50+ figures and toys, cards, comics. OG Air Jordans from 1985. Two pairs of red, white and black and one pair of red and black. More recently, I had a dozen mint 2011 Topps Update Mike Trout rookie cards. They included a Target Red Border and Cognac Diamond. That's the one that really hurts. Those Trout cards are real money these days.
#48 Godzilla Toys
My dad was in the air force when I was growing up and I loved Godzilla. So when he'd come back from deployment, he'd bring back Godzilla toys that he'd find in shops around the world. Long story short, my parents got divorced. During the split, my mom threw out most of them. I've seen some of them online upwards of $500.
#49 Han Solo Head
My grandma kept a lot of packaged Star Wars memorabilia of my dad’s and uncles. She’s a pretty big fan herself. I always lived with her growing up and I would admire them, but never take them out or use them. Then my younger cousins (around 12) opened them, used a Han Solo head mug, then microwaved it and ruined it. It hurt me physically.
#50 Whatever, Mom
My mom, when I was around 18 said to my older brother and I, "Boys, I’m donating all your Tonka toys to charity. I’m tired of looking at all of them taking up all this space." We just said, “Whatever, mom." An entire collection of Tonka toys… the metal ones. The tire crane, the hopper bin, scraper, motor grader with sidewing, etc. They were all in very good condition. My grandfather owned a construction company and thought his boys should have their own too.