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10 Valuable Items to Look for in Thrift Stores Like Goodwill

Thrift stores like Goodwill are treasure troves for savvy shoppers looking to find valuable items at a fraction of their original cost. From vintage clothing to rare collectibles, these stores offer an array of items that can be both enjoyable to use and profitable to resell. Here are ten valuable items to keep an eye out for during your next thrift store adventure.

1. Vintage Clothing

Vintage Clothing

Vintage clothing is a staple of thrift store treasure hunting. Many shoppers look for unique, high-quality pieces from past decades that stand out for their style and craftsmanship. Iconic brands and designers from the 1960s, 70s, and 80s, such as Levi’s, Chanel, and Burberry, often fetch high prices on resale platforms. Authentic vintage clothing often features superior materials and construction, making them durable and desirable. When searching for vintage items, look for labels, stitching details, and distinctive designs that signify genuine, valuable pieces.

2. Antique Furniture

Antique furniture can be another great find at thrift stores. These pieces are often well-crafted from solid wood and can add character and history to your home. Items like dressers, chairs, and tables from the early 20th century or earlier are particularly sought after. Look for makers’ marks or labels indicating the furniture’s origin and age. Even pieces that need a little refurbishment can be valuable, and with some care and restoration, they can be sold for a significant profit. Checking for solid construction and minimal damage will help you identify worthwhile pieces.

3. Collectible Vinyl Records

Vinyl records have seen a resurgence in popularity, making them a hot item in thrift stores. Collectors are always on the lookout for rare and valuable records from iconic artists like The Beatles, Elvis Presley, and Pink Floyd. Original pressings, limited editions, and records in excellent condition can command high prices. When sifting through vinyl collections, inspect the condition of both the record and its cover. Even if you don’t find rare records, there are often classic albums that have sentimental value and can be enjoyed for years to come.

4. Fine China and Dinnerware

Fine china and dinnerware sets are commonly found in thrift stores and can be highly valuable. Brands like Wedgwood, Royal Doulton, and Lenox are particularly sought after. Complete sets or pieces in excellent condition without chips or cracks can fetch a good price on resale markets. Pay attention to patterns, markings, and the overall condition of the pieces. Some patterns are more desirable than others, so a little research can go a long way in determining their worth. Even individual plates or cups can be valuable if they belong to a rare set.

5. Vintage Jewelry

Vintage Jewelry

Vintage jewelry can be a goldmine in thrift stores. Pieces from the Victorian era, Art Deco period, or mid-century modern styles are highly sought after by collectors. Look for items made of precious metals like gold, silver, or platinum, and those featuring genuine gemstones. Hallmarks, maker’s marks, and unique designs can indicate a piece’s authenticity and value. Even costume jewelry from well-known designers can be valuable. Pay close attention to the condition of the jewelry and any identifying marks to ensure you’re getting a true vintage piece.

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6. First Edition Books

First edition books can be incredibly valuable, especially if they are in good condition and have dust jackets. Look for first editions of classic novels, famous authors, and popular series. Signed copies can be even more valuable. Some well-known first editions, like those of J.K. Rowling’s “Harry Potter” series or Ernest Hemingway’s novels, can fetch thousands of dollars. When searching, inspect the book’s condition, look for any inscriptions, and verify that it’s indeed a first edition.

7. Rare Artwork

Original artwork can be one of the most lucrative finds in a thrift store. Paintings, prints, and sculptures from unknown artists can sometimes turn out to be valuable. Look for signatures, dates, and any provenance information that might indicate the artist’s identity and the piece’s history. Even if a piece isn’t from a well-known artist, it might still be desirable based on its quality, subject matter, or aesthetic appeal. Carefully inspecting the frame and backing can also reveal clues about the artwork’s origin and potential value.

8. Designer Handbags

Designer handbags are a favorite find for thrift store shoppers. Brands like Louis Vuitton, Chanel, and Gucci are particularly sought after and can fetch high resale prices. Authenticity is key, so look for identifying marks, quality of materials, and craftsmanship details. Many designer bags come with authenticity cards or serial numbers that can be verified online. While fakes are common, a little knowledge about the brand’s specific markers and characteristics can help you distinguish real from fake and score a valuable find.

9. Vintage Toys and Games

Vintage toys and games are nostalgic and collectible, often commanding high prices in the resale market. Items from the mid-20th century, including action figures, board games, and dolls, are particularly desirable. Original packaging, condition, and rarity significantly impact their value. Toys from brands like Lego, Hasbro, and Mattel, or classic games like Monopoly and Barbie dolls from the 1950s and 60s, can be worth a small fortune. Pay attention to completeness, condition, and any unique features that might add to their collectibility.

10. Musical Instruments

Musical Instruments

Musical instruments, especially those from reputable brands, can be valuable finds in thrift stores. Vintage guitars, brass instruments, and violins from brands like Fender, Gibson, and Stradivarius can fetch significant prices. The condition and playability of the instrument are crucial factors in determining its value. Even if the instrument needs some repair, it can still be worth purchasing if it has potential. Checking for maker’s marks, serial numbers, and overall craftsmanship can help you identify high-value pieces.


Thrift stores like Goodwill offer a treasure trove of valuable items for those with a keen eye and some knowledge of what to look for. Whether you’re a collector, reseller, or simply someone who loves unique finds, keeping an eye out for these ten valuable items can make your thrift store trips both enjoyable and profitable.