Arts & Antiques by Dr. Lori
Dumpster or No Dumpster™?
Dr. Lori, Celebrity Ph.D. antiques appraiser, Dr. Lori hosts antiques appraisal events worldwide. Dr. Lori is the star appraiser on Discovery channel. Visit www.DrLoriV.com, www.Facebook.com/DoctorLori, Lori Verderame on Google+or call (888) 431-1010.
By Lori Verderame
The back-to-school items edition
Dumpster or No Dumpster™ is a game I developed and play with folks during my TV appearances, at my antiques appraisal events and on my Facebook page. It’s a fun way to help guide them through the process of figuring out what to trash and what’s worth cash!
When you are cleaning out an attic, basement, storage unit or vacant home, and you come across old items that you don’t know the worth of, remember they could have significant monetary value. Get an in-home appraisal first if you have a whole houseful of stuff.
Get ready to play using the five back-to-school items below. Which items would you toss in the dumpster?
- A Munsters TV show lunchbox, circa 1970s
- A classroom set of instructional cursive writing panels, circa 1960s
- A macaroni picture frame, circa 1980s
- Pokemon trading cards, circa 1990-2000s
- A United States history textbook, circa 1965
- Lunchboxes have been highly recognizable collectibles since the early 1930s. When cartoon characters, celebrities and athletes appeared on lunchboxes in the 1950s, they became widely desirable. The Munsters TV show lunchbox from the 1970s featuring characters Herman, Lily and Eddie is a keeper. Value: $175-$250
- You are cleaning out your Aunt Christine’s house. She was an elementary school teacher and has some of the instructional cursive writing panels that were once posted above chalkboards in American classrooms. Do these items get relegated to the dumpster?
These teaching aids helped children learn to write in cursive letters. Some of you may remember them, but there is a generation of millennials who were never taught cursive writing. With the introduction of personal computers, teaching cursive writing became a thing of the past. Unlike other valuable classroom items, these cardboard alphabet letter forms can go to the dumpster. They aren’t worth much!
- You have to keep the macaroni picture frame because a child in your life made it with love. Store it for the long term in a plastic storage bag within a plastic tub to prevent insects from it. Value: Sentimental and priceless!
- Some Pokemon trading cards, circa 1999-2000s, are valuable today, and some perpetuate a longstanding myth. Here is the real deal: Most Pokemon cards are worth $5 to $50 each. Some Pokemon cards, like the holographic version of Charizard from the first edition printed in 1999, bring big bucks from collectors. This card in excellent condition can command several hundreds to a few thousand dollars.
Another Pokemon card that gets a lot of press is the famous Pikachu Illustrator card. Important to know: this card was purportedly never released in English and never sold. It was a contest prize in Japan. It is believed that fewer than five such cards exist worldwide, and some say that each one is worth $20,000. In my expert opinion, it is not worth $20,000 because no comparable card has ever been sold. If another card like it hasn’t sold for $20,000 then the illusive Pikachu Illustrator card isn’t worth $20,000. Don’t buy the hype. Generally, if you find good condition Pokemon cards, keep them from the dumpster.
- What about the old United States history textbook full of out-of-date information? Like outdated encyclopedias, old history textbooks aren’t worth much to collectors unless they are special editions, series, etc. Most are best used for DIY or interior design projects, scrapbooking, etc. I’ve seen DIY bookcases made out of a wooden frame and glued-together old textbooks and a DIY table base of vintage books with a glass top, too. The colorful maps from these books can be used as a wall display with a vintage look.
Keep playing Dumpster or No Dumpster™ to discover which items are worth holding on to for the long term.