PITTSBURGH (KDKA) – When it comes to collectibles, some are hot and some are not.

But, how do you know what’s become a treasure and what collectibles are no longer worth what they used to be?

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KDKA-TV’s David Highfield went to three experts for advice: Bill Antonacceo from Dargate Auctions in McKees Rocks, Kris Collins from Caliban Books in Oakland, and Ken Kropf from Eide’s Entertainment in the Strip District.

Mid-Century Modern Furniture

“This is what’s hot, yes,” said Antonacceo.

Mid-Century Modern furniture is the type of furniture you see on the TV show “Mad Men.”

At Dargate, they’re about to auction off a very unusual piece. It was done by Italian designer Fornasetti, and it was used in displays at the old Horne’s Department store Downtown.

So, what’s it worth these days?

“We’re estimating this one here between $60,000 and $90,000,” said Antonacceo.

Brown Furniture

On the other hand, Antonacceo said brown furniture, which was a trend for decades, isn’t a trend anymore.

“It’s just not hot,” he said.

Old Pittsburgh Photos

At Caliban Books, they’re asking $925 for an album of old Pittsburgh photos showing building projects.

Collins showed Highfield photos of how elephants were even used in the building process.

He said there’s definitely a market for items like this.

“Certainly, with Pittsburgh items, there’s a lot of collectors looking for that,” said Collins.

Even an old stock listing sheet from back when Pittsburgh had no “H” is now for sale for $150.

Comic Books

When it comes to old comic books, it depends.

“A superhero comic from the 40s in nice shape? Then, you have something,” Ken Kropf from Eide’s Entertainment in the Strip District said.

He showed Highfield an old Captain America for sale for $5,000 at Eide’s.

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Fine China

We learned fine china is not a hot trend, unless it’s something unique like a Royal Crown Derby set similar to what was shown on the TV show “Downton Abbey.”

That’s what they have at Dargate and it came from a home in Shadyside.

“This is hot,” said Antonacceo. “Very highly collectible, expensive stuff.”

Compact Discs

As for old CD’s, Collins said, “I hate to tell you, but they’re not hot at all.”

Vinyl Records

Old vinyl records could be a different story, if you have the right ones. For instance, if you have the first pressing of a Beatles album.

“This record is $400 or $500 in mint. This one is only $120 because of the shape of the record,” said Kropf as he held up a record at Eide’s.

Eide’s is asking $1,200 for a Beatles record bought in London.

The price on a rare Led Zeppelin album made as part of a radio station promotion in Chicago? Eide’s is asking $5,000 for it.

Royal Doulton Figurines

Did your mother or grandmother have Royal Doulton figurines? They used to be highly collectible, but now, not so much, according to Antonacceo.

“They’re not hot, but they’re not, not either,” he said. “They’re middle of the road. They’re warm.”

He showed Highfield a piece that might have gone for $400 or $500 at an auction years ago, but now he says it might go for $100 to $200.


Finally, toys.

Highfield brought in Batman and Robin action figures he had at home. He bought them at a Kmart in either 1979 or 1980, and they’ve never been opened.

At Eide’s, they say original “Star Wars” figures from the first movie are good finds and so is anything “Godzilla.”

As for Highfield’s superheroes, a toy pricing guide says Batman, unopened, is worth $500 and Robin is worth $650, according to Kropf.

However, he said it really depends on what people will actually pay.

On eBay, sellers are asking anywhere from $85 to $550. They each originally cost $3.

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David Highfield