One big clue in hot collectibles is when items start getting top prices in auctions and antique shows. We’ve been checking out these trends and see some items gaining attention. Here are a few.


sandbottle sand art andrew clemens patriotic

Photo: Hindman

Vintage sand art 
In the last half of the 19th century, self-taught folk artist Andrew Clemens’ hobby of creating sand art in apothecary bottles transformed into a business. Today, Clemens’ delicate work, which has survived more than 100 years, has grabbed the attention of collectors. His pieces are selling for top dollar. One set a world record at a Hindman auction in Cincinnati in 2021, selling for $956,000. Another sold for $800,000 in March 2022.


lego moulding machines set

Photo: ©2011 LEGO Group (via

Lego building sets
Stores exclusively selling Lego sets are popping up all over. The elaborate and expensive building sets range from a full Harry Potter Hogwarts castle to a succulent garden. Lego, a Danish company, has been making the popular toys since 1958. One of the top-selling sets is a 795-piece set that depicts the very plastic-injection molding machines that Lego uses to make its bricks. The Moulding Machines No. 4000001 is rare and valuable because it was a gift to visitors at a Lego Inside Tour in May 2011. Only 68 sets were made. Average asking price for one of these unopened sets is $5,000. Be aware: a newer version of The Brick Moulding Machine, No. 40502 with 1204 pieces, was introduced in 2021. Resellers are asking about $250 to $500.


mickey mantle baseball card topps 1952

Photo: Heritage Auctions

Sports trading cards and other sports memorabilia 
Auction houses and appraisers say they are seeing surging demand and higher prices in the sports memorabilia market, particularly for baseball cards and other sports trading cards. In August 2022, a Mickey Mantle card sold for $12.6 million and a rare Honus Wagner T206 card sold for $7.25 million.


action figure toy the a team mr t b a baracus

Photo: Matthew Bullock Auctioneers

1980s Toys 
The generation who hit their childhood stride in the 1980s is feeling nostalgic. Some toys from that decade are getting nice prices at auctions and antique markets. For example “The A-Team” 6-inch action figures originally cost $5. Now, these figures in their original packaging in good condition sell for about $110 to $175.


cocktail shaker silver penguin

Photo: Sotheby’s

Vintage cocktail shakers 
This is one of our favorite trends: post-Prohibition barware that is quirky, unique and getting high prices. We wrote about it in our August 2020 newsletter. The most memorable from the Sotheby’s auction we covered was a silver-plated penguin cocktail shaker that brought $7,500. It was designed in 1936 by Emil Schuelke for Napier. The penguin is marked, has a detachable head cover and a hinged beak pour spout. It was a popular bar accessory. Be sure to look for the vintage Napier penguin; many reproductions have been made from inferior materials and they sell for a lot less. Recent examples of original Schuelke Napier penguin shakers have sold from $750 to $3,500.



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