Zone Classifieds Collectors' Corner Collectors Corner: Retro Riches

Young actress Veronica Hurst (second from left) plays ‘Monopoly’ with family members. Photo: © Hulton-Deutsch Collection/CORBIS/Corbis/Getty Images
Collectors' Corner

Collectors Corner: Retro Riches

BY Viia Beaumanis | December 2nd, 2021

Classic cookbooks, that stack of retro board games in the attic, the quilt inherited from Grandma, things you may not have thought about in ages. That said, you might want to do a bit of research to see if you’re not sitting on a gold mine.

Coveted Cookbooks

Collector's Corner
An old original Julia Child cookbook, ‘Mastering the Art of French Cooking’. Photo: Cyrus McCrimmon/The Denver Post/Getty Images


There’s a better than good chance that your mother or grandmother owned a copy of Julia Child’s seminal cookbook, Mastering the Art of French Cooking. If it’s been handed down to you, check if it was published in 1961. That’s a first edition. If it’s in good condition with the original dust jacket, it will fetch up to $250. If it’s signed, or you have that first book and its 1970 sequel, you’re looking at up to $5,000. You’ll find similar bonanza values for certain editions of The Joy of Cooking, first published in 1931.

Vintage Games

Collector's Corner
Young actress Veronica Hurst (second from left) plays Monopoly with family members. Photo: Hulton-Deutsch Collection/CORBIS/Corbis/Getty Images


Retro nostalgia brings a nice resale value on board games. Based on the hit sci-fi show, a 1966 Lost in Space board game is worth $350, while Haunted House, from 1962 scores $475. Only 2,000 games of 3D Monopoly: New York edition were produced and, today, sell for $500 to $1,000. In all cases, sealed, unopened boxes double the value.

Duck Decoys

Collector's Corner
Gadwall Decoy, circa 1939, by artist Samuel W. Ford. Photo: Heritage Art/Heritage Images/Getty Images


Highly collectable wooden duck decoys now earn more than $850,000 at auction. If you’ve inherited one, or stumbled across some in an antique shop, confirm its value. It could be worth a fortune. Almost 90 per cent of them are repainted or have had their heads broken off, originals in good condition go for top dollar based on variables like decoy species, size, and maker. Elmer Crowell, William Bowman, John Dilley, Joseph Lincoln, Obediah Verity and Augustus “Gus” Wilson are producers to look for. 


Collector's Corner
Four generations of women as they talk and make a bedcover at a quilting party, Kentucky, 1952. Photo: United States Information Agency/PhotoQuest/Getty Images


Sold for $264,000 at Sotheby’s in 1991, the Civil War-era Reconciliation Quilt remains the most expensive ever sold. If you own any antique two-colour quilts — especially red/white or blue/white — these are extremely sought after. As much as $2,000 to $5,000 or more.

Beanie Babies

Collector's Corner
This five-year-old has his arms full of Beanie Babies while shopping with his mother, Sept. 2, 1999.  Photo: Bg/Bill Grenblatt Upi/Getty Images


A massive fad in the ’90s, these small stuffed animals now sell for $10,000 or more. A 1997 purple Princess Diana bear is among the most prized, and infinite variables range from whether the tag is still attached to special editions and what filling was used — polyethylene (PE) pellets or much rarer than polyvinylchloride (PVC) pellets.

Mason Jars

Collector's Corner
Showing off a large pantry of mason jars containing preserved foods, 1946. Photo: Courtesy of National Archives/Smith Collection/Gado/Getty Images


Have a rummage through your kitchen cupboards and cellar, you’d be shocked what antique canning jars are worth. Produced by mistake in 1933, an upside-down mason jar with the word Ball imprinted in the glass go for up to $1,000 today. If it says The Chief, it was manufactured in 1870, very scarce, and valued at $800. If Van Vliet is stamped into the glass, you’ve really hit the jackpot — the world’s rarest mason jar sells for $23,500.


Do you have something in your own collection that you think might be worth a few bucks? Looking to buy or sell? Browse the Zone Classifieds and post your ad here.