New TV antiques expert Angus Ashworth has urged treasure seekers to look for old games consoles in the attic rather than family china.
Auctioneer Angus, 37, said early gaming computers, including Nintendos, can sell for £1,000 and ZX Spectrums up to £500 among middle-aged buyers with money money to resell.
Surprisingly, a vintage Super Mario Bros video game sold for $2 million, a collectibles company announced on Friday, breaking the record for the most expensive video game sale.
The 1985 game, made for Nintendo’s original console, has never been opened – a rarity for older video games, said Rob Petrozzo, one of the founders of collectibles site Rally.
Angus, a former soldier, who hosts the new STV series Clear Out, Cash In, said: “One of the big emerging markets – that the real antique enthusiasts will go ‘Oh no’ – is early technology. That’s the big thing now – so old games consoles, early Nintendos and ZX Spectrums.
“The reason for that is that a lot of collectibles are driven by nostalgia.
“When people get to that age range of 40 or 50 – a time in your life where your kids have stolen the nest and all of a sudden you have some money – then they start buying things. that they really wanted or loved when they were young.
“You go back to what you thought was great when you were a kid. It could be a Chopper bike – or your favorite games console.
Vintage ZX Spectrum computers are currently listed on eBay for anywhere from £20 to £500 depending on their condition and whether they are sold as working or for parts.
Rare vintage Nintendos are listed for over £1000.
Angus’ show, Wednesdays at 8pm, sees him traveling around Scotland helping families earn money by selling treasures or cleaning up the homes of deceased loved ones.
Angus, who runs his own auction house in Yorkshire, said: “Antiques have always been my passion. The main thing that hooked me was the Sharpe TV show with Sean Bean. It got me interested in military history. I started collecting pieces of militaria, using the money I made selling chicken and duck eggs in a pub.
“At school I did an experience working in an auction house and they offered me a job, so literally a week after my 16th birthday I left home and school and I became an auctioneer.”
Angus started his own auction house after joining the military as a reserve and serving tours in Iraq and Afghanistan. He said: “I went to Iraq in 2004 as part of the Parachute Regiment, but we were attached to the Royal Scottish Regiment.
“In 2009, I toured Afghanistan. Even there, antiques were still my passion and I was still looking for things. The following year, I started my own business.
Angus, who filmed an episode of Celebrity Antiques Road Trip with Judy Murray, is now scouring the country for valuables.
He said: “One of my first jobs was a house clearer and when we walked in we thought there was maybe £1,000 worth of stuff in the house – a nice piece or two. Then someone lifted the bed and there was £25,000 worth of stuff underneath.
“It turned out the family had been master cutlers in Sheffield and it was all their show pieces – all Victorian – under the bed. Another time, I was giving a talk for the Women’s Institute and they had all brought things to evaluate.
“There was the usual, ‘That’s a nice little teapot.’ Next, one of the ladies showed us small postcard-sized sketches she had of the artist LS Lowry, who was famous for painting matchstick men.
“It turned out the woman had been an art student and had written to Lowry, and he had replied and sent these little sketches. They sold for £11,000.
The father-of-three advised anyone to seek advice from an antique dealer before removing collectibles, furniture or other items.
He said: “Quite often when I go to a job the things that people think are valuable are all on display and then I spot something interesting somewhere else and they say, ‘Oh, that’s the pile of things that we are getting rid of.’ I have to tell them, ‘No, it’s really good.’ Just because something is old doesn’t mean it’s valuable.
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