Whether you’re looking for a vintage faux-fur jacket or a DIYable maxi skirt, thrift stores are an awesome place to find one-of-a-kind items at an incredible bargain. But the next time you’re shopping at your local thrift store (jamming out to Macklemore and Ryan Lewis, obviously), you might want to keep your eyes peeled for a few hidden treasure items that could be worth a fortune. With sites like eBay, Amazon, and Craigslist, it’s never been easier to resell vintage items for a profit — in fact, some people have turned thrift store trawling into a full-time job. Are you ready to become the next Sophia Amoruso and make a killing on eBay? Here are 15 items commonly found at thrift stores that, if you spot the right ones, you can totally flip for some extra cash.
1. Books: While you’ll probably have to wade through shelves of cheesy romance novels and 10-year-old bestsellers to get to the good stuff, you can usually find some pretty profitable books at thrift stores if you know what to look for. Keep an eye out for classics, rare children’s books, and volumes that appear to be at least 50 years old. Don’t forget to check out resources like AbeBooks to help determine the value of each book.
2. Mugs: You may not think that flipping dingy mugs would be a profitable business, but some pretty common thrift store mugs can actually make you significant bank online. Look out for well-known brands like Starbucks (especially the “You Are Here” series), sterling silver mugs, and ones that feature classic characters like Snoopy, Mickey Mouse, or Tweety Bird.
3. Art Frames: While finding a piece of art worth millions at the thrift store is definitely rare, finding expensive frames that you can easily resell is actually pretty common. Take a look around the art section and see if you can find any frames that have ornate gold detailing. Here’s a handy guide to buying antique frames from eBay for reference.
4. Vintage Pyrex: While the first clear Pyrex Ovenware debuted in 1915, most collectors are drawn to the late ’40s to late ’60s colorful vintage Pyrex bowls, including the nested mixing bowls. These bright and cheerful bowls are very frequently seen in thrift stores and can easily reach hundreds on popular bidding sites.
5. Sunglasses: Cool cats know that sunglasses are great items to snag at thrift stores. Name brands like Ray-Ban, Oakley, and Burberry are always a sure bet, but funky retro pairs are also a great call for maximum moola.
6. Vintage Board Games: If your local thrift store has a toys and games section, make sure to check whether they have any board games in stock. Look for older editions of classic games like Monopoly and Scrabble, but particularly keep an eye out for vintage one-offs like the Godzilla Game or Fireball Island.
7. Record Players and Records: Although they can be a little tricky to find, vintage record players are a great resell item that you can find at your local thrift store. If you know a little about music or your research skills are on point, you can also make a small profit flipping used records too.
8. Video Game Consoles: Because so many people collect vintage video games and gear, used consoles are actually a pretty big business. Keep a lookout for Game Boys, early Nintendo systems, and anything Atari — and make sure to price compare with similar models on eBay or Craigslist before you pull the trigger.
9. Textbooks: Anyone who has ever taken a college course knows how expensive textbooks can be. If you happen to live near an urban campus or a college town, check out local thrift stores to see if you can find any used textbooks to pass on for a profit. Just be careful to note the edition of each textbook, and always price match online before you ring up your find (ISBNs are great for ensuring you have the exact version).
10. Leather Goods: Leather gets better with age, and leather collectors are always looking for good vintage pieces to add to their collections. Take a look through the leather jackets and name-brand leather handbags for an easy profit.
11. Disneyana and Collectibles: Anything Disney related — think Disney pins, t-shirts, or ears — can earn you a pretty penny online. While vintage Disney items are usually a safe bet to resell, there are a couple other collectible franchises that are also pretty profitable, including Harry Potter, Marvel, and Looney Tunes.
12. Comic Books: Among other books at the thrift store, comic books are definitely something you should look out for when thrifting. Check out online resources like My Comic Shop to see what current editions are going for, and keep in mind that classic characters like Batman, Superman, Spiderman, and Wonder Woman can be pretty good bets.
13. Name-Brand Clothing: While the majority of thrift stores are packed with clothes, most pieces are actually pretty hard to flip. That being said, if you want to resell clothes, try to stick with name-brand items Ralph Lauren, Calvin Klein, and Adidas, and make sure to gravitate toward items that still have the original tags on.
14. Classic Toys: Vintage toys like LEGO and Barbie can sell for a lot on eBay, especially if they are still in their original packaging. Take particular note of toys that have a nostalgia factor, and if you see any of these classic toys that are worth a fortune today, snag them ASAP!
15. Craftsman Hand Tools: “Besides producing some of the world’s finest hand tools, Craftsman tools are extremely popular due to the manufacturer’s lifetime warranty policy,” writes Flipping Income. “The warranty states that the owner can change in the tool for a replacement anytime it becomes unusable. That means if it rusts out, snaps apart, or simply can’t cut or rotate anymore, you can turn it in for a new one, no questions asked.” Check out the Craftsman warranty page to see what does and doesn’t qualify.
What’s the last awesome item you found at a thrift store? Tweet us by mentioning @BritandCo.
(Featured photo via Getty)