Most Valuable Collector's Items in History
Collecting things is one of the world's oldest hobbies. From famous paintings to rocks, there's a market for just about anything.
So next time you're spring cleaning, don't just throw everything away. You might be surprised what collectors value and how much items can be worth.
These are the most valuable collectibles of all time, ranked from least to most valuable.
76. McDonald's Toys
Most valuable McDonald's toy: $299
You remember these, right? Everyone does. McDonald’s toys weren’t just a mainstay for most of our childhoods. They were what got a lot of us started as collectors. McDonald’s toys just aren’t the same today. Partly because they aren’t horrifying. In the old days, everything was made with poorly constructed plastic molds. Even the really cool toys had a bit of a, well, melty aura. That doesn't mean they're not worth anything, though. —Jenna Inouye
See all of the most valuable McDonald's toys.
75. Thanksgiving Collectibles
Most valuable Thanksgiving collectible: $525
It's always nice to give thanks. But there's a special time to express gratitude. When Halloween decorations come down, Thanksgiving decorations go up. Often, decorations are passed down from generation to generation. If that's the case in your family, that old Thanksgiving centerpiece or plate might be worth more than you think. —Brittany Sulc
See all of the most valuable Thanksgiving collectibles.
Most valuable Squishmallow: $1,200
Squishmallows have taken the world by storm. With over 1,000 Squishmallow characters, each has their own name, personality and storyline. Children love the comforting, soft texture of the adorable stuffed animals, while adults have uncomfortable flashbacks of the Beanie Baby craze of the late 1990s. Like Beanie Babies, some Squishmallows are rarer and more desirable than others. And the rarest Squishmallows can command high prices. —Jenna Inouye
See all of the most valuable rare Squishmallows.
73. Lego Cars
Most valuable Lego car: $2,782.34
Who doesn't love Legos? Apart from being an amazing toy, it's also a great investment. Lego collectibles can appreciate significantly in value, especially when they're kept in their original wrapping. If you have a few Lego cars cluttering up your closet, you could be sitting on a gold mine. —Jenna Inouye
See all of the most valuable Lego cars.
72. Tonka Toys
Most valuable Tonka Toy: $3,055
Kids have been playing with cars and trucks for a long time. In 1946, Mound Metalcraft began making colorful metal, and they were a hit. The company became Tonka Toys Incorporated in 1955, and the rest is history. Today, many vintage Tonka toys are worth some serious dough. If you find any of these trucks in an old toy box, they might fund a shopping spree. —Brittany Sulc
See all of the most valuable Tonka Toys.
71. Easter Collectibles
Most valuable Easter collectible: $3,150
Hold up. The Easter Bunny delivers $3,000 eggs? We've just been getting chocolate. Maybe we offended him or something. Bunny predicaments aside, vintage Easter decor can be quite valuable depending on its age and condition. —Brittany Sulc
See all of the most valuable Easter collectibles.
70. Cabbage Patch Kids Dolls
Most valuable Cabbage Patch Kids doll: $3,500
Unless you were a kid or frantic parent in the early 1980s, it might be hard to appreciate just how big Cabbage Patch Kid dolls were at the time. The toys are distinct from most other dolls, featuring a soft body and a round plastic head that was either bald or covered with yarn-like hair of various shades. The selling point was that each doll was somehow unique, making it feel to kids as if they truly had a one-of-a-kind item. —Toni Matthews-El
See all of the most valuable Cabbage Patch Kids dolls.
69. Lego Sets
Most valuable Lego set: $4,987
Who doesn’t love Legos, those familiar colored plastic pieces that fit together to build anything? Lego, a Danish company, has been making the popular toys since 1958. Even in this digital era, Legos have held their popularity with both children and adults. The company continues to innovate its popular build-it-yourself kits, offering limited edition designs and tie-ins to popular movies and TV shows. Now Legos are sold in over 140 countries. —Craig Donofrio
See all of the most valuable Lego sets.
68. Hummel Figurines
Most valuable Hummel figurine: $5,500
Kitschy and collectible, Hummel figurines sprang into existence in 1935 — as a partnership between the religious artist Maria Innocentia Hummel and the German porcelain maker Goebel. Hummel figurines transport viewers into a different, simpler time. Focused on childhood innocence and whimsy, they are the quintessential "grandma collectible." Because of that, their value is quite erratic. You can find decades-old Hummel figurines worth less than $5. Others can be worth thousands. —Jenna Inouye
See all of the most valuable Hummel figurines.
67. Vintage Christmas Ornaments
Most valuable vintage Christmas ornament: $5,560
Christmas is a magical time for most people. And anyone looking for an extra dose of happiness and cheer might not have to look any further than that dusty box of decorations in the attic. Christmas ornaments that were commonplace when they were produced can evolve into valuable collectibles as the years pass. Grandma's antique German ornament collection might just fund this year's shopping expedition. —Brittany Sulc
See all of the most valuable vintage Christmas ornaments.
66. Halloween Collectibles
Most valuable Halloween collectible: $6,850
Many vintage Halloween collectibles date back to the 1930s or earlier. It's amazing that such delicate decorations lasted nearly 100 years, but it's even wilder that people have spent hundreds, even thousands, of dollars to add one of these gems to their collection. —Brittany Sulc
See all of the most valuable Halloween collectibles.
65. Garbage Pail Kid Cards
Most valuable Garbage Pail Kid card: $7,500
The Garbage Pail Kids were the scourge of elementary school and junior high school teachers of the mid-1980s. Topps made them as sticker trading cards in 1985 to parody the uber-popular Cabbage Patch Kids, and Garbage Pail Kids soon became a pop culture phenomenon with a side of controversy. The cards that spawned the series now have become collector's items. —Tony Adame
See all of the most valuable Garbage Pail Kid cards.
64. Antique Swords
Most valuable sword: $7,500
"We dislike war as much as the next guy, but conflict is an unfortunate part of our history. Long before explosives were a thing, people duked it out with old-fashioned swords and shields. Some of the most valuable antique swords are over 600 years old." —Brittany Sulc
See all of the most valuable antique swords.
63. Coins Found in Pocket Change
Most valuable coin found in pocket change: $7,637
Under special circumstances, circulated coins can be valuable. This happens when a minting error is discovered after a coin’s release or when an already low mintage coin is hoarded by collectors. Auction records are almost always held by uncirculated coins, but when it comes to rare coins, lower grade coins are also worth many times more than face value. So check your pocket change. Those coins could be worth more than you think. —Kimberly Yavorski
See all of the most valuable coins found in pocket change.
62. Christmas Decorations
Most valuable Christmas decoration: $7,995
Finally getting around to cleaning out the attic? Before you toss out Grandma's collection of brass reindeer and plastic lawn Santas, make sure they're not worth a fortune. Vintage Christmas decorations turn into valuable collectibles over time. If you have any of these decorations, consider yourself lucky. —Brittany Sulc
See all of the most valuable Christmas decorations.
61. Disney Pins
Most valuable Disney pin: $11,225
This is why Walt Disney was such a genius. He managed to create a world that's just as magical (and addictive) to adults as it is to children. Today, Disney trading pins have become one of everyone's favorite souvenirs in that world. Kids and grownups alike swap pins, and if you save them for a few years, those Disney pin collections can be worth money. —Brittany Sulc
See all of the most valuable Disney pins.
60. Pez Dispensers
Most valuable Pez dispenser: $12,000-$15,000
Pez dispensers have come a long way. The original 1930s versions looked like a metal lighter and came only with peppermint candy, a flavor harkening back to Pez’s inception a decade before when the candy was sold as a smoking cessation aid. It wasn’t until the mid-1950s that Pez, an Austrian company, opened up shop in America. Now hundreds of unique Pez dispensers have been produced, with thousands of variations, and some of these tiny little plastic boxes are worth a small fortune. —Craig Donofrio
See all of the most valuable Pez dispensers.
59. Pinball Machines
Most valuable pinball machine: $15,000
For pinball wizards who came of age playing the silver ball, the nostalgic desire to have an old favorite in their home drives a healthy collectors' market for vintage machines. Unlike most other collectible genres, older artifacts aren't necessarily the priciest. In fact, many pinball fanatics (aka "pinheads") show little interest in tables from the 1950s and '60s. Far more popular are pins dating to the '70s and '80s, and particularly the '90s — widely considered modern pinball's "golden age." To compete with video games, the era saw pinball machines become more imaginative and complex while offering all sorts of gimmicky, sensory stimuli. —Eli Ellison
See all of the most valuable pinball machines.
58. Lunch Boxes
Most valuable lunch box: $16,000
Remember the joy of finding just the right lunch box when you were a kid? It was so much more than a receptacle to carry your sandwich and snack cakes. It was an announcement to the world about who you were. It was a badge that declared, "I’m a Spider-Man kid," or "The Care Bears are my thing." Those vintage models are worth some ridiculous coin today. How much? Well, these are the most valuable lunch boxes out there. And they will set you back more than the cost of a couple of Happy Meals. —Tyler Omoth
See all of the most valuable lunch boxes.
57. Ikea Furniture
Most valuable Ikea furniture item: $16,660
IKEA was founded in 1943 by visionary entrepreneur Ingvar Kamprad who had a dream that people who didn’t have a lot of money should still be able to buy good-quality designs and well-made household furnishings. The Swedish company quickly became known for budget furniture delivered in flat packs that people put together themselves at home to save money. In addition to lower costs, IKEA designs also represented groundbreaking innovation and creativity. This might be the reason why IKEA furniture stands the test of time and why some classic pieces are now attracting high prices at auction. —Liz Sinclair
See all of the most valuable Ikea furniture.
56. Transformers Toys
Most valuable Transfomer toys: $24,806
Transformers were an absolute sensation when they first hit the market in 1984. Originally retailing from $10 to $30 depending on the size of the toy, these little plastic and metal robots flew off the shelves. Transformers toys that are still in good condition and have the box are now extremely valuable, and some of them can fetch 10 to 100 times their original price tag at auction. —Craig Donofrio
See all of the most valuable Transformer toys.
55. G.I. Joe Toys and Action Figures
Most valuable G.I. Joe toy/action figure: $26,400
G.I. Joe toys were introduced to the public in 1964 as 12-inch-tall, army-themed dolls. But since young boys wouldn't touch dolls with a 10-foot stick, Hasbro, in a stroke of genius, called them "action figures," coining the term. Over the next six decades, G.I. Joes transformed from foot-tall dolls in lidded boxes to 3.75-inch figures on blister cards. A children's cartoon introduced the evil Cobra organization and the heroic G.I. Joe team, and the corresponding toy line produced hundreds of figures along with toy jets, cars, motorcycles, unique vehicles and huge playsets. —Craig Donofrio and Brittany Sulc
See all of the most valuable G.I. Joe toys/action figures.
54. VHS Tapes
Most valuable VHS tape: $35,000
We’ve all heard rumors about clever collectors cashing in on their childhood VHS tapes. But is it really as easy as throwing your dusty collection of movies on eBay and waiting for the cash to roll in? Well, as it turns out, there are a handful of tapes that could equate to a pretty good payday. But it’s not just any old VHS tape that holds value. In fact, it’s a very specific assortment of movies that online collectors pine over. —Kaitlyn McInnis and Brittany Sulc
See all of the most valuable VHS tapes.
53. Indian Head Pennies
Most valuable Indian Head penny: $38,120
Indian Head pennies, aka Indian Head cents, are some of the most expensive pennies. That's because these rare coins were only produced by the U.S. Bureau of the Mint from 1859 to 1909. James Barton Longacre, former chief engraver at the Philadelphia Mint, likely had no idea how valuable his design would be, but it stands out from the Lincoln cent that followed. —Brittany Sulc
See all of the most valuable Indian Head pennies.
52. '80s Toys
Most valuable '80s toy: $45,430
The toys of the 1980s were some of the coolest of any era. And also some of the most valuable. Many franchises and toy lines from the 1980s have turned into expensive toys, collectibles, figures and playsets on sites like eBay and Hake's Auctions. So check your bank account and start thinking about what rare '80s toys you might have stored away. This trip down memory lane won't only be fun. It could help you get rich. —Craig Donofrio
See all of the most valuable '80s toys.
51. Wrestling Toys
Most valuable wrestling toy: $50,000
Wrestling is still popular. But it might never be as popular as it was in the 1980s and 1990s. Back then, the top wrestlers were world-famous household names who moved millions of dollars worth of clothes, accessories and toys. As wrestling’s popularity waned, our nostalgia for back-in-the-day wrasslin’ increased. And so, too, did the prices of wrestling toys from decades ago. —Craig Donofrio
See all of the most valuable wrestling toys.
50. Bobblehead Dolls
Most valuable bobblehead doll: $59,750
It might be hard to believe, but bobblehead dolls are valuable. Most bobbleheads are worth the sentimental value that we have for them. Yet, there are extremely rare bobbleheads that can actually fetch thousands of dollars in an auction. Most of them are super old and in exceptional condition. So if you see something familiar, make sure to protect it because it could be worth something either now or in the future. —Pat Pickens
See all of the most valuable bobblehead dolls.
49. Funko Pops
Most valuable Funko Pop: $99,999
They stand around 3.75 inches tall and weigh about 4 ounces of cheap plastic. And they can be worth thousands of dollars. They’re Funko Pop figurines, and they are no joke when it comes to collecting, trading and selling. The most expensive Funko Pops can get you a used car (and we don’t mean a $500 jalopy) or even an entire house. —Craig Donofrio
See all of the most valuable Funko Pops.
48. Hot Wheels Cars
Most valuable Hot Wheels car: $100,000
Hot Wheels sold its first toy cars in 1968. Some of them are now selling for thousands of dollars as highly sought-after collector’s items. You should know that condition plays a big part in the value of these collectibles. To bring in top dollar, the cars need to be in nearly perfect condition. Ideally, they’ll still be in the unopened blister packs. —Tyler Omoth, Brittany Sulc, Craig Donofrio
See all of the most valuable Hot Wheels cars.
47. Disney Collectibles
Most valuable Disney collectible: $107,550-$138,000
We're pretty sure no other business on Earth has released as many toys, figures and various memorabilia as Disney. The multibillion-dollar company has been creating all kinds of stuff for kids and adults for decades, from books to statues. And it all started with a mouse. Some of the "Disneyana" — a catchall term for Disney toys, animation cels, collectibles and all Disney-related things — can be incredibly expensive. This is the most expensive Disney memorabilia on and off the market. —Craig Donofrio
See all of the most valuable Disney collectibles.
Most valuable metal: $113,400
Our modern 21st-century lives are driven by metals. They can be found in the LEDs, magnets, electric motors, sensors, data storage and many other components upon which modern life relies. They power our mobility and energy generation, which is why there are hundreds of commercial applications for metals, with more uses being discovered each year. While you are probably familiar with metals such as gold, silver or platinum, they aren’t the most expensive. Most of the costliest metals belong to an obscure group known as the rare earth elements. —Liz Sinclair
See all of the most valuable metals.
45. Vintage Advertising Signs
Most valuable vintage advertising sign: $134,200
If you've ever seen an episode of the History channel reality show "American Pickers," you know the antique-salvaging hosts are crazy for vintage advertising signs. And with good reason. When a rare, porcelain 1920s gas station sign can fetch in excess of $150,000 at auction, you've got a highly lucrative collecting hobby on your hands. —Eli Ellison
See all of the most valuable vintage adverting signs.
44. Vintage Board Games
Most valuable vintage board game: $146,500
The world board games market is poised to grow 9 percent annually through 2023. The market size for board games at that point will be $12 billion. Newer games like Settlers of Catan and Pandemic are leading the way, but the oldies like Monopoly still hold places in our hearts. You may have some of these older board games or have come across them in thrift stores. What you may not realize is that quite a few of these old board games can be valuable. —Liz Sinclair and Brittany Sulc
See all of the most valuable vintage board games.
43. Star Wars Toys
Most valuable Star Wars toy: $150,000
While preparing to make the original "Star Wars" in the 1970s, George Lucas took a big-time gamble. The filmmaker, then known for the dystopian sci-fi flick "THX-1138" and the coming-of-age drama "American Graffiti," agreed to accept a smaller fee for writing and directing "Star Wars" in exchange for 100 percent of the merchandising rights. The Force was clearly with Lucas. Not only did "Star Wars" become a global phenomenon. The revenue from toys inspired by that galaxy far, far away made Lucas a multibillionaire. —Eric Althoff and Michelle Nati
See all of the most valuable Star Wars toys.
42. Carnival Glass
Most valuable carnival glass: $155,000
Exactly what is carnival glass? You’ve likely seen it (or maybe even collected it) and not realized it. Carnival glass is a specific type of pressed glass with an oil-like sheen to its surface. Popular in the 1920s, it’s still collected today. Carnival glass started as a low-end imitation of more expensive glass-blowing techniques. Then it became a collectible itself. Most antique carnival glass is worth a few hundred dollars. But the rarest pieces are worth thousands. —Jenna Inouye
See all of the most valuable carnival glass.
41. Teddy Bears
Most valuable Teddy bear: $182,550
Teddy bears came into existence in 1903 thanks to a political cartoon. It depicted a hunting trip taken by President Teddy Roosevelt, showing that he famously refused to shoot an injured bear cub because he felt it was unsportsmanlike. American toymaker Morris Michtom seized on the popular story and created "Teddy’s Bear." Other manufacturers quickly caught on, but none more so than the Steiff plush toys company from Germany, which quickly became a worldwide brand name due to the quality build of their teddy bears. —Max DeNike and Brittany Sulc
See all of the most valuable Teddy bears.
40. Pennies Still in Circulation
Most valuable penny still in circulation: $214,211
A circulating coin typically lasts 30 to 40 years, but some lucky collectors have found pennies minted in the mid-1900s in their pocket change. Of course, they're worth more if they're in better condition, and all circulating coins tend to have a lot of wear and tear. —Brittany Sulc
See all of the most valuable pennies still in circulation.
39. Antique Bottles
Most valuable antique bottle: $250,000
In 1915, Coke announced a competition for the design of its bottles, when its co-founder, Benjamin Thomas, suggested the need for a bottle that was different than any on the market. Enter Earl R. Dean of the Root Glass Company of Terre Haute, Indiana, who found a sketch of a cocoa pod in a local library and designed a prototype based on that. Dean's bottle was never mass produced — its bottom was smaller than the middle — but with a few tweaks, his design became the bottle (and brand) we know and love today. —Michelle Nati
See all of the most valuable antique bottles.
38. Morgan Silver Dollars
Most valuable Morgan silver dollar: $300,000
Morgan silver dollars were 90 percent silver, one-dollar coins minted between 1878 and 1904, with a special one-off production in 1921. But their history goes back a bit further. Although Morgan silver dollars are still legal tender in the U.S., they are worth far more than just $1 to coin collectors. Today, Morgans range considerably in value. Their price depends on several factors, including the number of coins minted in a specific year, the city where they were made and the coin’s current condition, with uncirculated coins being more rare and valuable. —Liz Sinclair
See all of the most valuable Morgan silver dollars.
37. Beanie Babies
Most valuable Beanie Baby: $300,000
Remember the Beanie Babies craze of the 1990s? Somehow, those little plastic pellet-stuffed toys became more valuable than gold and diamonds. Of course, the Beanie Baby market crashed, hard. In 1999, the bubble burst, seemingly overnight, rendering most of the stuffed animals worthless. But there's still a market for them. And the rarest Beanies are worth thousands of dollars. —Brittany Sulc
See all of the most valuable Beanie Babies.
36. Barbie Dolls
Most valuable Barbie doll: $302,000
Barbie made her debut at the American International Toy Fair in New York on March 9, 1959 — which also happens to be her official birthday. Since then, she has become an international icon of glamor, and a name and body recognized by generations of women everywhere. —Cat Woods
See all of the most valuable Barbie dolls.
35. Pokemon Cards
Most valuable Pokemon card: $375,000
The Pokemon Trading Card Game exploded in popularity during the pandemic as people looked for a new hobby to occupy their time. The result? Swarms of collectors staking out store shelves for the newest packs and an unprecedented surge in prices for the rarest Pokemon cards. —Craig Donofrio
See all of the most valuable Pokemon cards.
34. Metal Detector Finds
Most valuable metal detector find: $614,582
Metal detecting has been around for a long time, but there has been a spike in hobbyists seeking metal detectors for sale. Whether you’re looking for coins, jewelry or other buried treasure, there is plenty still out there waiting to come to the surface. —Michelle Nati
See all of the most valuable detector finds.
33. Movie Posters
Most valuable movie poster: $690,000
In the pre-Rotten Tomatoes dark ages, it was oftentimes an eye-catching movie poster that'd reel you into the theater for a few hours of cinematic stimuli. Ads for beloved classic films were often gorgeous works of graphic art. And since theater operators trashed much of this promotional paper after the final credits rolled, it became incredibly valuable. —Eli Ellison
See all of the most valuable movie posters.
32. Jade Jewelry
Most valuable jade jewelry: $700,000
Jade has been prized by jewelers for thousands of years. From bangles to pendants, jade can be brilliant white to deep green and carries with it an almost otherworldly translucence. It’s easy to see why so many consider jade jewelry a sign of wealth and status. —Jenna Inouye
See all of the most valuable jade jewelry.
31. Vinyl Records
Most valuable vinyl record: $790,000
Vinyl record culture has come back from near extinction to 41.72-million vinyl record sales in 2021. That's up 51.4 percent from 27.55 million in 2020 and the 16th consecutive year vinyl album sales grew. While that's a fraction of the world's estimated $16 billion recording-industry revenue (most from cheap digital downloads and streams), some fans are still willing to pop a bit extra for a physical, quality copy of their favorite music that won't vanish when their iPhone melts down. —Eli Ellison and Brittany Sulc
See all of the most valuable vinyl records.
Most valuable gemstone: $1,000,000 (price per carat)
When you think of expensive gemstones, what comes to mind? Most people think of the Big Four: diamonds, emeralds, rubies and sapphires. However, it might surprise you to know that there are precious stones that are rarer and more expensive than these popular ones. A number of the most valuable gemstones are new discoveries that have only been found in recent decades. —Liz Sinclair and Craig Donofrio
See all of the most valuable gemstones.
29. Vintage Motorcycles
Most valuable vintage motorcycles: $1.05 million
Many classic motorcycle riders and collectors simply have a passion for vintage motorbikes and love to ride them in rallies, tour with them or just keep them on display. However, vintage motorcycles are also an increasingly good investment. Sales of vintage motorcycles have doubled since 2000, and prices have risen steadily. Bikes with documented histories that show famous owners or a history of race wins can easily sell for low- to mid-six figures. —Liz Sinclair
See all of the most valuable vintage motorcycles.
Most valuable quarter: $1,257,500
There have been seven basic designs of the U.S. quarter. In 1932, a commemorative quarter was designed to celebrate the 200th birthday of George Washington. The popularity of the coin ensured its longevity. This design continues on the obverse of quarters today. While commemorative quarters have inspired many to collect coins, value is determined by rarity and condition, so the most valuable quarters include several of the oldest that were kept out of circulation, long before coin collecting became a popular hobby. —Kimberly Yavorski
See all of the most valuable quarters.
27. Space Artifacts and Memorabilia
Most valuable space collectible: $1,625,000
Let's look back at space-exploration history and its collectible artifacts. From genuine moon rocks to freeze-dried spaghetti, space memorabilia can command astronomical prices, thanks in large part to its scarcity. Since most actual space-flown artifacts remain property of their respective governments, items that do enter the public orbit are incredibly desirable. So much so that major houses like Sotheby's and Bonham's regularly hold big-ticket space history auctions. There's even a website, CollectSpace.com, devoted to the hobby. —Eli Ellison
See all of the most valuable space collectibles.
Most valuable penny: $1,700,000
Like most coins, the United States penny has seen multiple designs and compositions over the years, and some pennies, especially when carefully stored, are worth far more than the face value of one cent. The 20 most valuable pennies are worth a combined $5.5 million. —Kimberly Yavorski
See all of the most valuable pennies.
Most valuable dime: $1,997,500
The most valuable dimes survive the years in mint condition. This does not mean the coin appears as it did when it was minted. Changes in coloration are normal and even expected. Cleaning a coin may detract from its value. The dimes that command the most value are in excellent condition and rare, due to various reasons, including production errors, small quantities produced or large quantities melted for their silver content. —Kimberly Yavorski
See all of the most valuable dimes.
24. Birkin Bags
Most valuable Birkin bags: $2,000,000
The Hermes Birkin bag is the most expensive bag in the world. Only a few Birkins are made every year, and their styles are constantly shifting. Birkin bags are extraordinarily high in quality and constructed with the rarest of rare materials. Oh, and Birkin bags can’t be purchased by just anyone. You need to have an established relationship with the brand and be willing to wait up to years (if ever) to get the specific one you want. —Jenna Inouye
See all of the most valuable Birkin bags.
23. Star Wars Collectibles
Most valuable Star Wars collectible: $2,760,000
When George Lucas made an $11 million gamble on his sci-fi Western set in "a galaxy, far, far away," he never fathomed the payoff would land him in the multibillionaire's club, let alone spawn this planet's ultimate movie-merchandising juggernaut. Also caught off guard by the "Star Wars" phenomenon was Ohio-based Kenner toys. Contracted in the spring of 1977 to produce a line of movie-related toys, the company figured on plenty of time to manufacture plastic action figures, spaceships and playsets. Wrong. Following the movie's release, demand was instantaneous and rabid. And from 1978 to 1985, Kenner wound up selling more than 300 million "Star Wars" toys. As Lord Vader would say, "Impressive, most impressive." —Eli Ellison
See all of the most valuable Star Wars collectibles.
Most valuable baseball card: $3,120,000
Baseball cards started with humble beginnings. Some of the earliest ones were cigarette package inserts, used both to promote the brand and prevent the star of the package, the cigarettes, from being crushed. Now, baseball cards are a billion-dollar industry. —Sheng Peng
See all of the most valuable baseball cards.
21. Comic Books
Most valuable comic book: $3,250,000
Ever since Superman’s first appearance in 1938, comic books have captured the hearts and minds of children and adults with stories of heroes and the evildoers they vanquish. And some of these comics are so beloved — and so expensive — that they can fetch hundreds of thousands or even millions of dollars at auction. Of course, they include Superman and Batman comics, along with other Marvel and DC classics, as well as gems from other publishing houses. —Craig Donofrio
See all of the most valuable comic books.
Most valuable nickel: $4,560,000
A coin valued at five cents was the first official coin of the United States (in 1792), but nickels did not appear in the U.S. until 1866. On May 16 of that year, Congress passed an act to usher in the new five-cent coin, made of 25 percent nickel and 75 percent copper. Over the next seven years, the Mint produced nickels and silver half dimes, before phasing out the half dimes. There are four basic nickel designs: Shield, Liberty, Buffalo and the Jefferson, with only slight variations in early coins. —Kimberly Yavorski
See all of the most valuable nickels.
19. Sports Cards
Most valuable sports card: $5,200,000
It started with baseball cards, but now there's a market for all sports cards. And the most valuable ones can be worth millions of dollars. Now a recent explosion of riches (since 2020, 23 of the top 30 cards have changed hands) will shape the sports card market moving forward. —Tony Adame
See all of the most valuable sports cards.
18. Movie Props
Most valuable movie prop: $5,300,000
For movie memorabilia collectors, the dream of owning an often one-of-a-kind prop or costume featured on-screen in their favorite film can be as intoxicating as a James Bond martini, shaken not stirred. Sure, with an eBay account and a few hundred bucks you may be able to pick up a mock pistol handled by Steven Segal in one of his random 1980s insults to the art of cinema. But when it comes to silver screen classics and wealthy collectors, major auction houses like Bonhams and Christie's have gotten in on the act. —Eli Ellison
See all of the most valuable movie props.
17. Action Figures
Most valuable action figure: $6,250,000
Generations of kids came of age in the golden age of pop culture-inspired action figures. Most of these toys could bend, twist, fire weapons and sometimes even blink — or talk, which is just creepy and weird. Some rare figures carry exorbitant price tags, and then there are those that cost (brace yourself) millions of dollars. Yep, millions. Thankfully, for those of us without Elon Musk-level money, you can pick up some of these valued figures for "only" several thousand. —Eric Althoff and Brittany Sulc
See all of the most valuable action figures.
Most valuable doll: $6,250,000
If you have a decades-old Barbie or Star Wars action figure, you’d better hope it’s in good condition because it might be worth a pretty penny. The collectible doll market is huge, and serious buyers are willing to part with some serious cash to get their hands on the most sought-after models. In some cases, we’re talking seven-figure sums. —Claire Gillespie
See all of the most valuable dolls.
15. Vintage Guitars
Most valuable vintage guitar: $6,474,222
Many of the world’s most expensive guitars once belonged to rock 'n' roll legends. The guitars are often iconic, distinctive and instantly recognizable to fans. Guitars were sold, gifted, lost, stolen or auctioned for charity after a long musical career and decades of use. The demand for rare, vintage guitars continues to increase each year, particularly for those associated with famous musicians. —Liz Sinclair and Michelle Nati
See all of the most valuable vintage guitars.
14. 'Storage War' Items
Most valuable "Storage War" item: $7,500,000
In 2010, a reality TV show called "Storage Wars" premiered on the A&E Network. The show focused on the lively and entertaining storage auctions and the professional buyers, often secondhand store owners, who bid at them. The show quickly became one of the network’s most popular. The show has run for 14 seasons and is still going. These are the biggest "Storage Wars" finds that lucky bidders from the show's auctions won over the years. —Liz Sinclair
See all of the most valuable "Storage War" items.
13. Gold Coins
Most valuable gold coin: $9 million
Gold has always been treasured. It’s rare, finite and useful. So it’s not a surprise that gold also produces some of the most valuable coins in the world. People love gold. And people love collectibles. Gold coins are ranked like many other coins. There’s the rarity, the age and the condition. Often, the quality of the coin will surpass all other factors. If you find a rare coin in excellent condition, you could make millions. —Jenna Inouye
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12. Thrift Store Finds
Most valuable thrift store find: $9,000,000+
Scouring thrift stores is a favorite pastime of many people. While we often find small things we love and can’t do without, it's rare to find truly valuable items. But it does happen. Some unsuspecting people have found collectibles that changed their lives forever. —Michelle Nati
See all of the most valuable thrift store finds.
Most valuable stamp: $9,480,000
The first stamp was created in Great Britain on May 1, 1840. It wouldn't take long for people to start collecting them. Just one year later, a woman placed an ad in the London Times seeking "cancelled" stamps so she could wallpaper her dressing room with them. She already had succeeded in collecting 16,000 of them. Imagine how much that collection would be worth now. —Craig Donofrio
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10. Autographed Items
Most valuable autographed item: $9,800,000
When it comes to selling signatures of athletes, presidents, musicians and the greatest minds in the world, people are willing to pay a staggering amount of money. Especially if that signature is on the right item. These are some of the most famous, quirky and expensive autographed items ever put up for sale at auction, from baseballs and trading cards to signed photos and ultra-rare historical documents. How much would you be willing to spend? —Craig Donofrio
See all of the most valuable autographed items.
9. Coins From Around the World
Most valuable coin from around the world: $10,000,000
Coin collecting goes back to medieval Mesopotamia. Because of this long history, many people expect older coins to have more value. This isn’t the case. For example, even though the United States is young among nations, its coinage is in high demand and often more valuable than coins from places like ancient Greece. —Kimberly Yavorski
See all of the most valuable coins from around the world.
8. Silver Dollars
Most valuable silver dollar: $10,016,875
Morgan's Dollars and Peace Dollars — often just called "silver dollars" — are the most collectible coins in the world outside of the Lincoln penny. They're also some of the rarest and most expensive slider dollars, or coins that are almost uncirculated. But they aren't the most expensive coins. —Craig Donofrio
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Most valuable shoes: $17,000,000
Some people will pay a surprising amount of money for a pair of shoes, from millions of dollars for the most expensive heels to hundreds of thousands (or more) for the most expensive sneakers. Here, you'll find the most expensive heels, sandals, dress shoes, sneakers, Nikes and all kinds of footwear for the ultra-wealthy. These shoes weren't made for walking. Get a display case instead. —Craig Donofrio
See all of the most valuable shoes.
6. Sports NFTs
Most valuable sports NFT: $21,280,000
If you've been on the internet recently, you've probably seen references to NFTs, or non-fungible tokens. An NFT, in simple terms, is a unique digital file on the blockchain, a digital ledger. This digital file could be a photo, video, audio or anything else online. Think of NFTs as virtual collectibles, and they have created a whole new market of sports memorabilia for collectors to buy and sell. —Tony Adame
See all of the most valuable sports NFTs.
5. Musical Instruments
Most valuable musical instrument: $45,000,000
You can amp up your portfolio with rare and antique musical instruments. Violins, cellos, guitars, pianos and other devices made to create melodies can make you rich. If you know what to look for. Kerry Keane, musical instrument consultant at Christie’s auctions in New York, told Forbes six factors establish an instrument’s worth: You must know who crafted it, its quality, its condition, who owned it in the past, its freshness in the market (like it hasn’t been available for 200 years) and whether it’s fashionable. —Heather Larson
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4. Classic Cars
Most valuable classic car: $48,400,000
When Ford took on Ferrari in the 1966 Le Mans race, the American company smoked the Italian race car manufacturer. But while Ford got the better of Ferrari on the track, the worth of a Ferrari far exceeds even that 1966 race’s winning car. A Ford GT40 MK II went for $9.8 million at auction in 2018. To get a pristine Ferrari from that era, you’ll have to pay at least double. In fact, Ferrari dominates in the most expensive vintage cars ever sold at auction. —Craig Donofrio
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Most valuable book: $58,400,000
Humans have been telling stories and sharing thoughts through printed works for thousands of years. Some of those books — if they manage to survive — are worth millions of dollars. But what books are worth the most money? These books are the most expensive tomes, documents and religious works ever sold. —Craig Donofrio
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Most valuable birthstone: $71,200,000
Birthstones have been fascinating people for centuries. They've since evolved into priceless collector's items, with the most valuable gemstones appearing in museums like the Smithsonian. Top-quality gemstones from each month are worth a pretty penny, but which birthstone is worth the most? —Brittany Sulc
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Most valuable painting: $450,300,000
Whether it's via auction or private sales, artworks by big-name painters have drawn record-breaking prices in recent years. Some buyers are billionaire art collectors seeking a trophy piece to hang in their mansion. Others are investors with eyes on resale profit. And then there are art museums, banking that adding a Picasso or Warhol to their gallery will bring in the crowds. —Eli Ellison
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