What not to throw away during the spring clean

TV antique expert Antony Charman, reveals some surprising ways to maximise your return when clearing out or selling heirlooms and antiques.
family heirlooms

If you’re considering a spring clean, TV antique expert Antony Charman, has some surprising ways to maximise your return when clearing out or selling heirlooms and antiques.

General tips

  • Items can be sent in any conditions, regardless of whether they are broken, damaged, or have bits and pieces missing;
  • Cleaning items before sending them in should be avoided, as most are worth more in their original state;
  • Group your items by category to make it easier to spot items that could be worth something and should go in a box. Groups of items are better and will always be worth more money.
spring clean - do not throw out old watches
A watch that won’t tell time is junk, right? Wrong.

Jewellery and watches

  • Jewellery is also subject to the ‘any condition’ policy, meaning that it does not matter if one earring is missing from a pair, a stone has fallen off a bracelet, or a bunch of necklaces are tangled;
  • Non-working (or working) watches can find a new life as spares or repair pieces, so they should be included in the box, as they will always add value;
  • Gentlemen jewellery items are often overlooked, but cufflinks, tie pins, and clips/stick pins can have appraisal value regardless of condition;
  • Something as apparently worthless as old plastic or glass pieces can be rare or sought after and should be included;
  • Amber comes in various shades such as green, yellow, orange and even blue, making it one of the most undervalued gemstones, as people often do not recognise it;
  • In-house gemologists can elucidate the mystery of what stones are set in pieces, from pink diamond glass to sapphire;
  • If the pieces are not hallmarked for type of metal and purity, they can be tested in-house, and could still be valuable. Anything can be restored, much like silver items that seem to have lost their lustre.
military memorabilia
Wartime and military memorabilia particularly Victorian era and Great War are very popular

Military memorabilia

  • A wide range of old military items can and should be sent in, including medals, clothing badges, and war time memorabilia (i.e. sweetheart jewellery);
  • Broad arrows point to military ties and should be looked for when evaluating such items (i.e. on watches, binoculars, compasses).
vintage coin queen victoria
Vintage coins are highly collectable


  • Any currency is accepted;
  • Even if it’s not cashable, it’s worth money in its weight;
  • Pre-1947 coins are 50% silver, while pre-1919 are 92-95% silver, providing good benchmarks for a value estimation;
  • The date on a sovereign can completely change its worth, and implicitly the offer made on it.
Don't throw away cameras during spring clean
Cameras have value whether working or not


  • Old stationary has more value than meets the eye – any pens and pencils before the birth of the ballpoint pen should be sent in, regardless of the main material being plastic or metal. Fountain pens generally can also have gold nibs; 
  • Copper, pewter, silver plate (dented or not), as well as non-precious metal items should also be included in the box;
  • Smoking pipes and Cheroots / tobacciana have appraisal value;
  • Old jewellery boxes in any conditions up the value of a box sent in;
  • Untested or damaged cameras, and additional photography equipment such as lenses are worth more than binning and should be included;
  • Old toys, even those that have not been looked after, have value. Every home has them.

More details about how you can make money from your spring clear out can be found Vintage Cash Cow.

Last modified: April 28, 2021

Written by 10:04 am Home & Lifestyle