Need some cash? Some of the things gathering dust in your house could fetch big bucks:

  • Let’s start with gold and silver jewelry. People often find precious-metal jewelry mixed in with costume stuff, and with sky-high gold and silver prices, even ugly pieces – or those that don’t qualify as valuable heirlooms - can fetch good prices. Your best bet: Get estimates from several gold-buying stores in your area.
  • Also, don’t ignore vintage sporting goods. The junky old bicycles in your garage probably aren’t worth anything, but vintage Schwinn bicycles, from the 1950s or earlier, are now collectibles, and sell for $1,000 or more. Collectors eagerly snap up things like leather football helmets, wooden tennis racquets, and duck decoys. 
  • Finally, check your closets and basement for old posters. Vintage movie and travel posters that once advertised airlines, ships and trains can sell for $500 and up. Rich Meliska, who runs an estate liquidation service in Illinois, found two rolls of travel posters in one client's home that sold for $23,000.