Finding valuable items at Goodwill NCW isn’t impossible; you just have to know where to look. Hopefully, this mini-list will open your eyes during excursions to your local thrift store or help you learn more about the items you already brought home. 

Next time you’re on the hunt for hidden treasures, explore Goodwill NCW for a chance to find unique, valuable items. Your thrift adventures could uncover sterling silver, handmade pottery, or even Waterford crystal—all while supporting a great cause.  

1. Sterling/real silver 

Occasionally, you may come across shiny objects marked as “silver.” Most will be random silverware or dishes, some adorned with a unique design. Oftentimes, the item in your hand isn’t really silver. It’s good to know whether it’s real if you have allergies to other metals so you can understand what you are purchasing. If you are purposely hunting for silver items, here are some tests you can try to determine if the item is real sterling silver:

1. Sniff it. Sterling silver is odorless, so if you smell a metallic fragrance, it most likely isn’t silver. There are times when this test may fail, such as when objects are silver-plated.

3 rare thrift store finds - silver

2. If you don’t want to sniff everything you touch, try using a magnet. Silver is non-magnetic, so the magnet should not stick to it. If it does attract the item, it isn’t just silver. In these cases, it could be silver-plated or fake. 
3. Another easy test to try would be to put a piece of ice on it. Silver has the unique power to melt ice at an extremely fast rate due to its high thermal conductivity. Even at room temperature, that ice cube will quickly disappear.

3 rare thrift store finds - handmade pottery

2. Handmade pottery

The best part about handmade pottery is that every piece is unique. There might be some similarities, but usually, each piece has special characteristics that portray the artist’s intentions and distinctive style. With each piece being special in its own way, you can find ones perfect for any room to be put on display. Pottery is so versatile that you could even repurpose it to fit your needs. Found a gorgeous vase? Make it the focal point of your living room. 

Broken or shattered pieces? Make them into mosaic art. Whether they are broken or not, they can be loved again. Taking these pieces home allows you to feel the love the artist put into each item when it was crafted.

3. Fine china/Waterford cyrstal

Recently, more members of the younger generations are donating their grandmother’s fine china, as they don’t need it. You can get really lucky and score a valuable set! If you stumble upon some glassware, you may want to check the brand. To determine if the piece you found is genuine Waterford crystal, hold it up to the light and look for the stamp. It should either be located on the stem’s base or in the grooves. You can also determine the age of the crystal by the type of stamp. If the company name is in Gothic writing, it was made before the year 2000. If it features the company’s seahorse logo, it was created after 2000. Fine china sets may also be found in your local thrift store. Values depend on manufacturer, style, condition, and age, but most sets can range from $5 to $20 a plate.

3 rare thrift store finds - Waterford crystal

Unearthing rare and valuable items in thrift stores is an exhilarating experience. From identifying sterling silver to discovering the artistic beauty of handmade pottery and the elegance of fine china or Waterford crystal, each find tells a story and holds hidden value. These treasures not only bring joy and uniqueness into your life but also serve as a testament to the craftsmanship and history behind each piece. So, armed with these insights, venture into your local thrift store, explore the aisles, and who knows? You might stumble upon a priceless gem waiting to be discovered. 

Happy hunting! 


Gen Z Thrives on the Thrill of the Hunt Author Maddie Bio Pic

About Madison: A junior at Appleton North High School, is a thrifting enthusiast who loves exploring secondhand stores with her friends in search of unique and vintage finds. When she’s not hitting the racks, she enjoys indulging her baking skills, whipping up delectable sweets for herself and others.