What The Tech: How Much Is Your Collection Works?

 

CHARLOTTE, N.C. — Do you remember when you heard Beanie Babies would be worth a lot of money someday? Do you have a box of baseball cards somewhere in the house? Maybe some old Batman comic books? Grab them and your smartphone to get a pretty good idea if you’re sitting on a gold mine.

Like many kids of the 80s, I dreamed baseball cards would someday be worth thousands, or millions of dollars. You can search for each card or doll or basket on websites but there is an easier way.

Google Lens is an app you probably already have on your phone as part of the Google search app. On the Google start screen, there is an icon of crosshairs or a small colorful box. Tap that box and it opens Google Lens, a very useful feature for many reasons but especially for estimating the value of a collectible.

Aim your smartphone camera at the object and tap the shutter button. In a matter of seconds, Google will show you many places online where that item is listed. When I checked my baseball card collection for the value of a Reggie Jackson card from the ’70s, Google took me to an eBay listing where someone else was trying to sell the same card for $9.

Other listings offered the card for anywhere between $3 and $300, depending on the quality of the card and whether it had been graded by a professional.

Next, I dug out some old beanie babies from my daughter’s closet dreaming one would be worth the hundreds we expected. Unfortunately, the bear was listed for just $14 on eBay. Google Lens worked for searches for collectible Barbie dolls and Longaberger baskets.

Keep in mind, that the listings show only what the owner feels they’re worth. You can adjust the search filters to show only items that have been sold to see what someone actually paid for the item. Depending on the quality of your item, you can expect that your collectible is valued in the same neighborhood of what someone paid.

I can report that Beanie Babies, Barbie dolls, and baseball cards aren’t worth anywhere near what you hoped. Most of the baseball, football, and basketball cards in my collection aren’t worth more than a few pennies. It’s nice to know though. Google Lens is a free app for iOS and
Android devices.