Don't Waste Your Money: Trash to treasure, finding gems at yard sales

Don't Waste Your Money: Trash to treasure, finding gems at yard sales

(WTOL) - Almost every weekend during the summer, people sell their unwanted goods at yard sales.

Unfortunately, a lot of the stuff people put out for sale is hidden treasure, and they don't realize they are giving away a $500 item for  just $2.

So how do you know if it is a yard sale gem?

We've all heard of yard sale surprises like a $5 guitar that turned out to be Jimmy Hendrix's old instrument.

While this is a very rare occurrence, there are ways to figure out which yard sale items are worth your money.

Auction experts list clues that you may have a hidden treasure in your hands:

  • A signature
  • 1930's art deco anything
  • 1950s or 1960s housewares
  • Tin toys
  • Any old painting.
  • Vintage Barbie or Star Wars toys, if they are in the original box

Another good tip is to look around to see where it was made. If it reads America or especially Europe, you might have something. If you see the words "Made in China," then probably not.

To check an item's real value, use your smartphone to search for similar items on eBay or visit a local antiques appraiser.

For $8, a website called will let you know if you have the real thing. Just send them a photo.

Experts say more than half of all people holding garage sales have no idea what their items are worth. So if you take a little time and do some research, you won't waste your money.

Don't Waste Your Money is a registered trademark of the EW Scripps Co.

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