These Are The Most Valuable Collectors’ Items in the World

Harry Potter Collection @Peter Macdiarmid / Getty Images

We’ve all heard the tales of the youngster who finds a priceless comic book in a thrift shop or the family who moves into a new home and discovers a priceless wine cellar beneath the floorboards. Some of the biggest sales in history have come from the most unexpected goods, which at first glance seemed to have no value.

ADVERTISEMENT

The high-end artifacts could be anything, including baseball cards, Coca-Cola cans, stuffed animals, and ticket stubs, and could be valued thousands or even millions of dollars. You never know what long-forgotten objects may hold the secret to a successful future.

Continue reading to learn about some of the most expensive collectibles ever made. You never know, it might be time to dive beneath the attic’s dust bunnies using the stepladder. You might have been blissfully ignorantly sitting on a goldmine for years.

1. McDonald’s “Mulan” Szechuan Sauce

Maker: McDonald’s
Original Price: free*
Worth Today: $14,700*

ADVERTISEMENT

We have all seen the pictures that went viral of the McDonald’s fries that were left in a car for a long time but didn’t mildew. Although they weren’t worth any money, the fries had 15 minutes of brief web stardom. This container of sauce was left in someone’s car since 1998 (! ), and not only did it not go bad, but it also managed to increase in value.

McDonald's "Mulan" Szechuan Sauce @XiranJayZhao / Twitter.com

When the movie “Mulan” was released in 1998, a special version of the McDonald’s Szechuan sauce was also made available. The Rick and Morty creators started an internet petition to bring back the sauce in 2017 as a promotional gimmick. After the sensation, a huge $14,700 was paid for the old sauce by an eBay customer.

ADVERTISEMENT

To most of us, it would seem like a strange choice, but it’s obvious that the purchase was motivated by a love of good taste. McDonald’s memorabilia is an odd and intriguing subgenre of collecting that frequently defies reason, but that’s part of its appeal!

2. Coca-Cola Factory Error Soda Can

Maker: Coca Cola
Original Price: $1.19*
Worth Today: $250,000*

A soft drink craze started in Atlanta, Georgia, back in 1892. The sales of Coca-Cola are astounding; in 2020, its global revenues were close to $33 billion. Because they are one of the most recognizable companies in history, many collectors are drawn to obtaining various memorabilia.

Coca-Cola Factory Error Soda Can @eBayAustralia / Pinterest.com

3. The Great Gatsby First Edition

Maker: Charles Scribner’s
Original Price: $2*
Worth Today: $400,000*

The Jones Brothers, a rare-book store with its main offices in the UK, sold the well-known and famous novel The Great Gatsby for thousands of dollars. The Great Gatsby’s first edition came with the exact dust jacket from the 1920s.

The Great Gatsby First Edition ©F. Scott Fitzgerald / Amazon.com

Jones said that “rarity, cover art, and story” led to the valuable nature of this first edition. There was a typo on the back of the book’s dust jacket that says, “jay Gatsby,” with a lowercase, not an uppercase letter. A stamp correction was used to fix the error, but the rarity had already been compounded.

4. 1947 World Jamboree French Maitresse Boy Scout Patch

Maker: Stadri Emblems
Original Price: Free
Worth Today: $71,000*

The French Maitresse Boy Scout Patch from the 1947 World Scout Jamboree doubled as a coin and stamp worth fifty cents. Due to its scarcity, The Patch has now gone on to fetch thousands of dollars at auction. At the sixth World Scout Jamboree, which took place in Moisson, France, it was given away without charge.

1947 World Jamboree French Maitrese Boy Scout Patch @jhgovier / Pnterest.com

It was the first Scout Jamboree held since the 1941 passing of Boy Scout founder Robert Baden-Powell, and 24,000 Scouts attended. It was originally scheduled for that year, but Baden-passing Powell’s forced a postponement.

5. Charles Lindbergh Matchbook

Maker: Lion Match Co.
Original Price: Free
Worth Today: $6,000*

This Charles Lindbergh matchbook is recognized as the most priceless matchbook ever by the Guinness Book of World Records. Charles Lindbergh, an American aviator who created history as the first person to complete a nonstop journey from New York City to Paris, is depicted on the renowned match cover. It was first published on June 14, 1927.

Charles Lindbergh Matchbook @Emma Verner / Facebook.com

In the 1950s, the cover’s listed value was $100, and as you can see, the cost has since increased. It sold for $6,000 at auction in 2015. There were just 200 of these matchbooks produced. Random partygoers at the Astor Hotel in New York City received them for free.

6. Xero ‎– Xero Cassette Tape (1997)

Maker: Xero (Now Called Linkin Park)
Original Price: $7-$9*
Worth Today: $4,500*

Although you might not be familiar with the moniker “Xero,” you definitely know Linkin Park. Before changing their name, Linkin Park was known as Xero, and their self-titled debut demo tape was titled Xero. The tape was produced in November 1997 after being recorded between 1996 and 1997. The cassette tape lasts for twelve minutes, 36 seconds.

Xero ‎– Xero Casette Tape (1997) @gorsoghomonyany / Pinterest.com

7. The Simpsons Game Arcade Cabinet

Maker: Konami Digital Entertainment
Original Price: $300*
Worth Today: $4,000*

The Simpsons Arcade Game has been around for a while, and vintage copies may be had for $4,000 on the secondary market. You can play as Homer, Bart, Marge, or Lisa in the Konami game’s four-person combat and save Maggie. The Konami arcade game is receiving a re-release, so don’t panic if you can’t find the original, even though it can be fairly expensive.

The Simpsons Game Arcade Cabinet @Veronica Hauad / Pinterest.com

8. 1927 World Series Ticket Stub

Maker: Major League Baseball
Original Price: $1*
Worth Today: $41,825*

The Yankees League in 1927, which had Babe Ruth and Lou Gehrig as legends, closed with a massive 19-game lead and won a record-breaking 110 games. Superfans believe that the World Series was the finest there has ever been because of the squad, which is regarded as the greatest in baseball history.

1927 World Series Ticket Stub @sportscollectorsdaily / Facebook.com | @Dave_in_718 / Twitter.com

So much so that you can still get over $40,000 even with a ticket stub. This is an excellent illustration of why sports collectibles are highly valued by collectors. That’s a remarkable return on investment considering that the tickets likely cost approximately $1 to begin with.

It only goes to show that sometimes it’s not about the thing itself, but rather what the thing stands for. A ticket stub is really simply a thin piece of card, but its historical significance should not be understated. This is something that any self-respecting sports collector would adore having in their cabinet.

9. “Birds of America” by James Audubon

Maker: John James Audubon
Original Price: $126*
Worth Today: $10.27 Million*

A collection of James Audubon’s hand-painted, watercolor birds called The Bird of America. There are only four known copies of the enormous, four-volume book set, which has 435 detailed paintings. In 2018, the book was auctioned off and brought in over $10 million.

John James Audubon, Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons

Carl W. Knobloch, Jr. bought the book and donated it to the family-run Knobloch Family Foundation (KFF), a conservation-focused organization. The entire proceeds from the book will be used to support environmental concerns.

Due to their rarity and uniqueness, goods like these don’t crop up very often. Even less frequently do they appear in charitable auctions, thus “Birds of America” earns bonus marks for pulling this accomplished. James Audubon probably couldn’t have imagined such wonderful things for his creation.

10. Action Comics No.1 Comic Book

Maker: Jerry Siegel and Joe Schuster
Original Price: 10c*
Worth Today: $3.2 Million*

The first comic book featuring a superhero is called Action Comic number 1. It is regarded as the origin of the superhero genre and initially included a number of superheroes, most notably Superman. It is also the most expensive comic ever, so looking through the dusty old comic box for one of these men is definitely worthwhile.

Action Comics #1 @Sleeping GIANT Collectibles / Facebook.com

Superman is seen lifting a green vehicle on the 1938 publication’s cover while onlookers leave the scene. The inaugural edition, which was printed in 200,000 copies, sold out remarkably quickly. When they were selling a million copies a month, it didn’t take them long to discover that Superman was the reason the comic book was so successful.

Due to Disney and Sony’s efforts, comic books have recently gained even greater popularity. A mint copy of this specific comic book, which at the time only cost 10 cents, is now worth up to $3.2 million. Not small change, that.

11. Metropolis Poster

Maker: Heinz Schulz-Neudamm
Original Price: Unknown*
Worth Today: $690,000*

The costliest silent movie at the time, Metropolis was released in 1927. It is a science fiction film made in the German expressionist style that explores socioeconomic strata and the division they cause. Fritz Lang directed it, while graphic designer Heinz Schulz-Neudamm created the poster.

Metropolis Poster ©vint1/Alamy

There were only four posters produced, one of which is in the Museum of Modern Art and the other three are in private collections and German museums. The fourth was sold to a US collector in 2005 for $690,000.

The market for movie memorabilia can be quite rich. Any item, including rare costumes, posters like this one, and even autographs, can sell for a surprisingly high price. Everyone enjoys movies, so if you’re seeking to earn some additional money, this industry is an interesting one to be in.

12. 1951 Vincent Black Lightning Motorcycle

Maker: Vincent in Stevenage, England
Original Price: Unknown
Worth Today: $929,000*

The 1951 Vincent Black Lightning Motorbike, which sold for nearly $1 million in Las Vegas in 2018, holds the record for being the most expensive motorcycle ever. Out of the initial 33 made, it is one of about 19 that are currently known to exist.

1951 Vincent Black Lightning Motorcycle ©Thruxton / Wikimedia.org

In the beginning, Vincent had it specially constructed in Stevenage, England. It was created for Australian racer Tony McAlpine, who went on to win an astounding number of competitions and set the land speed record for Australia. Just half the price of the second most costly bike makes this one the clear winner on all criteria.

It is somewhat less frequent to see a bike sell for the same amount of money as a car or luxury vehicle, which sometimes fetch hundreds of thousands of dollars. However, this does not imply that there is no market for ardent motorcycle collectors. Where you look will determine everything!

13. Original Levi’s 501 Jeans

Maker: Levi’s
Original Price: $3*
Worth Today: $60,000*

Although the company was started in 1853, it wasn’t until the 1960s and 1970s that jeans reached their peak popularity. Old Levi’s from the 18th century have become quite expensive!

Original Levi's 501 Jeans @mashable / Pinterest.com

A pair from the late 1800s was bought by Levi’s for $46,000, thereby offering the owner a refund plus exorbitant interest. A second pair from the late 1800s sold for a staggering $60,000! Perhaps you should think about this before recycling your jeans. If you can hold onto them for a hundred years or more, they might be worth a fortune!

Although the majority of people may not even be aware that the Levi brand has a long history, information is power in this situation. You might want to keep this knowledge in your back pocket (excuse the pun!) because understanding what to look for is frequently the key to making a quick cash at thrift and antique stores.

14. Flowing Hair Silver-Copper Dollar

Maker: US Mint
Original Price: $1*
Worth Today: $10 Million*

The least one can say is that it was a good return on investment when a $1 coin sells for $10 million. The first silver dollar minted by the US Mint is thought to be this unique flowing hair silver-copper dollar coin.

Flowing Hair Silver-Copper Dollar @JBCOINSINC / Youtube.co

Legend Numismatics, a rare-coin company based in New Jersey, stated they would have offered more if necessary and ended up buying the piece. They added that the coin’s special qualities made it especially precious. They assert that no museum possesses a comparable item.

This seems like a wise choice if you’re going to spend $10 million on anything. It’s a completely one-of-a-kind item that is steeped in history, making it arguably worth every single penny. However, we can’t help but wonder if there is something like out there that is just waiting to be found.

15. Abu Dhabi License Plate Number 1

Maker: Public Authorities
Original Price: Purchased new at auction*
Worth Today: $14.3 Million*

While most of us opt to accept the provided license plate, others of us decide to splash out on unique or expensive plates. Consider the Saab owner with the license plate “WASAAB” or the tire truck with the license plate “TIRED.” It’s a means of displaying status or personality while traveling.

Jerry "Woody" from Edmonton, Canada, CC BY-SA 2.0 via Wikimedia Commons

Since there are only 9 available single digit number plates, they are the most expensive. The number 1 license plate cost an Abu Dhabi resident $14.3 million, but it is just the start of the tale. He issued a bad check, and he ultimately received a three-year fraud prison term!

The intriguing tale only serves to increase the item’s notoriety, but we have a sneaking suspicion that the winning bidder now regrets getting involved at all. We all know that Abu Dhabi’s legal system is strict, therefore it’s surprising that the penalty wasn’t more severe.