An occasional complaint for this Sunday column goes something like this: “We love the Sunday ‘What’s It Worth,’ but we never come across most of the treasures you write about.” So I thought I’d list a few things you might have around the house, and their approximate values.
Old fraternity or sorority pins. The older the better. While most are worth 10% over their gold value, some are worth hundreds or thousands of dollars.
Certain silver certificates. Large silver notes are worth decent money always ... but the smaller notes usually bring only 1-10% over face value. 1933 $10 worth $1,000+. There are some sleepers; scrutinize the dates.
Non-working watches. Many think broken watches are worthless, and often they are; but all fine (and even mediocre) men’s watches have value. Hamilton electric watches NEVER work and they quit making them in the ’60s, but all have value. Any non-working Hamilton electric is worth $25 or more. Certain ones – even gold-filled, non-working – can be worth hundreds. If you have a non-working fine watch like Omega, Rolex, Patek, Vacheron or Cartier, it is still worth money. Non-working Pateks can be worth as much as $10,000.
California gold tokens: These little gems are usually worth about $10 to $20, but we have paid as much as $5,000.
Gold-filled scrap. Yep. If marked “gold-filled,” it is worth more than sterling silver ... usually $15 to $25 per ounce.
Quilts. Most are not worth much, but certain quilts in excellent condition can be worth thousands of dollars.
Old samplers. These old “sewing pictures,” if simple, English, or in poor condition, can bring as little as $25. Good early American versions with fine artwork, cows, flags, or stars, can be worth hundreds to thousands of dollars.
Militaria. Most bayonets and swords from pre-1945 bring $10 to $50, but we have paid as much as $5,000 for certain early American or Civil War swords that are engraved with owners’ names; and samurai swords, if old. Medals can be worth a pretty penny. Common good-conduct medals are not, but we have paid thousands for certain foreign and Indian War-era medals.
Slot machines. We have bought hundreds of slot machines over the years. Again, condition is everything. While most bring $200 to $600, we have paid as much as $5,000 for certain rare versions. And penny slots are highly sought after.
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