Ohio Valley Goodwill Industries
Serving Greater Cincinnati

5 Rare Things to Look for When Thrift Shopping

Anyone who loves to thrift shop will tell you that Goodwill is the place to find unique clothing, accessories, and home goods at affordable prices. But did you know that you can also find rare and even highly valuable items when thrift shopping? It’s true!

Because Ohio Valley Goodwill receives so many donated items, you never know what hidden treasures you might come across in one of our retail stores from one day to the next!

The key is to shop frequently and know what to look for. If you see these items while thrift shopping at Goodwill, don’t pass them up!

Books on a shelf

Books from Ohio Valley Goodwill

First Edition Books

When they’re brand new, hardcover books are usually priced higher than paperback books. If you find used hardcover books in good condition at a thrift store, it can be a great deal! Keep your eyes peeled for autographed copies of books from popular authors, which make wonderful gifts for book lovers. As you browse through classic books at a thrift store like Goodwill, check the edition number on the first few pages. If you see the words ” first edition” or ” first printing,” you could be holding a rare and valuable book! With a little online research, you can find out the value of the book.




Vintage and Retro Kitchenware

Goodwill always has a great selection of dishes, glassware, and other kitchen supplies. Be on the lookout for these rare and potentially valuable items in the glassware section:

Glass jars from Goodwill

Glass Jars from Goodwill

Porcelain teacup with white and pink flowers from Goodwill

Porcelain teacup with white and pink flowers









  • Jadeite “”  Mint green dishes, cups, and serving trays were popular after World War II and now carry a lot of value.
  • Pyrex “” These colorful, patterned mixing bowls, storage containers, and oven-safe dishes were all the rage in the 1950s through the 1980s. Look for collectible patterns and styles while thrifting!
  • China sets “” Teacups, saucers, and other china pieces are highly collectible, especially if you come across a vintage pattern. Even if you don’t find a complete set, it’s fun to mix-and-match china pieces to create your own collection.
  • Vintage canning jars “” The blue-tinted versions are sought after by collectors, but even the plain clear glass jars are always a functional way to decorate your home!
  • Retro cookie jars “” Cookie jars representing cartoons and other whimsical characters are fun and nostalgic collectibles. Not to mention, they’re a great place to store sweet treats!

Luggage and Trunks

A gently-used luggage set can be used for your own travel, but you can also get creative and repurpose luggage into stylish home décor! Look for vintage-style suitcases and trunks that you can cover with a new coat of paint or decoupage with fabric. Stack your collection of suitcases in a corner, use them as shelves, or turn them into easy storage for family photos, holiday decorations, craft supplies, and more.

Basket from Goodwill

Basket from Goodwill








Designer-Label Clothes

Designer clothes aren’t necessarily rare at thrift stores “” you can usually find many well-known and popular brands at your local Goodwill store! But if you’re searching for vintage pieces, pay close attention to the labels. If you don’t recognize a brand name on the label, it could very well be vintage! Many times, vintage fashion will have a ” union tag,” which has the acronym ” ILGWU.” Clothing produced before the 1980s may also have labels with an American flag or ” Made in U.S.A.” Because vintage sizing is very different from today’s sizes, it’s important to keep an open mind and try to search through every section!

Clothing racks at Mason Goodwill Store

Clothing racks at Mason Goodwill Store








Old-School Electronics

Retro stereos, walkmans, DVD and VHS players, video game consoles, cameras, and other old-school electronic accessories are always fun to find at thrift stores like Goodwill. Many people like to collect these gadgets to remind them of years past, whether the devices are in working condition or not. Turntables and vinyl records are also making a huge comeback, and you can often find great deals at a thrift store!

bin containing donated records

Donated records at Goodwill










Ohio Valley Goodwill is a treasure trove for all sorts of clothing, accessories, and household goods, all at affordable prices. You can even shop Goodwill online from the comfort of home by visiting shopgoodwill.com.

But the best part of shopping at Goodwill isn’t our unique selection and amazing prices “” it’s the fact that YOU help us power our cycle of success!

Goodwill's cycle of success logo

Goodwill’s Cycle of Success

The money raised by our retail stores helps to fund life-changing programs and services for individuals with disabilities right here in Cincinnati, helping them gain valuable job skills so they can obtain meaningful employment. By donating to and shopping at Goodwill, you’re helping us reinvest in the local community and make it a better, more inclusive place to live, work, and play!

Shop at Goodwill and be a job creator! Find an Ohio Valley Goodwill location near you and plan your next shopping trip today.