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The big boom of Antiques Roadshow and Cash in the Attic programmes have sparked a nation of hopefuls, scrawling through their cloggy attic dust, looking for something that might fetch them the big fortune. For awhile, we were all sure attic sprawling and clutter hording would become as frequent as the lottery hopes and dreams!

The main reason we horde the clutter is because we think it may be worth something years later – and, those same years later, probably forget why we kept it. The truth is everyone can be lucky enough to own something of significant value in the form of clutter; the story of Del Boy and Rodney finding the multi-million pound watch isn’t far from a fantasy.

Bernice Gallego from California found an antique 1869 rare baseball card in her attic; if it wasn’t for her daughter she would have sold it for £10 on eBay (when the card was actually worth £75,282). Or how about the lady who bought an authentic Jackson Pollock painting (for those who you who don’t know, Jackson Pollock is considered a master of expressionist paintings) for $5 for a depressed friend because she thought it ‘looked horrible, but funny’ (it was originally $8 but the buyer, Teri Houton, said she didn’t love her friend that much). The ‘horrible’ masterpiece is now said to be worth $50million.

Unfortunately, we’re not all Roadshow presenters. Anita Rhodes, a Malborough grandmother, sold a setoff HE Tidmarsh painting for £60 under expert advice from ‘Cash in the Attic’. She later learnt that HE Tidmarsh were widely sort after and wished she hadn’t let them go!

You might not necessarily find a Jackson Pollock or prize antiques but it’s always worth checking a few items before you chuck it all away. Most famous works or antiques are marked or signed by name; a quick search can tell you if it’s a jackpot or junk. Your grandparents might have horded a painting that was worth pennies in their time but a good solid amount nowadays – you never know!

And even if the hard attic crawl turns out no priceless works of art, you can at least flog them on eBay for 50p a pop – maybe someone else will gamble on them being priceless in 10 years time!

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