Monday, 11 January 2016 08:37

Is it Really Worth It?

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I was recently in Hong Kong on a business/golf trip and got to hobnobbing with some pretty ridiculous rich people. Some of their stories of excessive consumption, particularly in the arts, had my jaw dropping. It got me thinking of other things I put little value in, that turn out to be worth quite a bit of coin.


Old Metal Shirts


Those old heavy metal T-shirts you (or in my case my brother) wore in the 1980s and 1990s are now highly sought-after collectibles. Some are worth several thousands of dollars now and are worn by fashionistas like Kim Kardashian.


Old Beer Cans


Old beer cans are super trendy right now due to the resurgence on beer fanciness. Some cans are worth US$100, even without the beer in them.


Old Men’s Magazines


Old issues of men’s magazines, particularly Playboy, are now collector items. If you can find one in good condition with no pages stuck together (sic!) they can fetch upward of US$3,000.


Vintage Vacuum Cleaners


There is a large subculture (particular in the US) of grown adults who collect vacuum cleaners. Some of the vintage cleaners are worth a lot to these individuals. The king of the vacuums has a collection of over 300 hoovers.




As a father of young children, I have Lego all over the place, but apparently some certain pieces are worth a small fortune. Recently, a pink Duplo castle turret was sold for an astounding US$1,374.


Old Cereal


Vintage cereal — sometimes even just the empty box is worth big money these days. In the 1980s and 1990s in the US there was a themed cereal for just about every TV sitcom from Alf to Steve Urkel. These are now serious collectable items and people are paying big money. Recently someone paid over US$200 for a 1988 cereal box with a Nintendo game theme.


Terrible Video Games and VHS movies


Video games that had exceptionally short lives due to being so awful are now so rare that collectors pay in bulk to get their hands on them. This is particularly true for old console games. Similar to bad movies that years later get a cult following, apparently so too do awful old video games and movies on VHS.


Old Happy Meal Toys — old junk


Old junk in general seems to be having a renaissance in perceived value. I personally blame the hipsters for this one. Everything from old knock-off action figures to happy-meal toys are now seen as the must have accessory for your man-child hipster cave. This includes old cell phones and even old empty packaging boxes, business cards and PEZ candy dispensers.


Shane probably has some junk in a cardboard box in Australia somewhere that is worth something today. He can be contacted with offers at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Shane Dillon

Shane has written the Word business column since 2009. He left his home town of Brisbane, Australia in 2004 and has worked in several Asian countries as well as Guatemala and Ukraine. He is interested in economics and the subtleties of doing business in Asia. Shane works in the insurance industry and can be contacted at

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