Lately I've been watching old episodes of the History Channel's 'Pawn Stars'. If you've never seen the show, it follows a family-run pawn shop in Las Vegas who buy and sell a myriad of unique treasures. They've had classic coins, antique buttons from George Washington's inauguration, flags from the moon, and tons of classic weapons walk through their door.

If you watch the show long enough, it pretty much seems like everyone has a treasure hiding in their attic, but do they?

The honest answer is "maybe." That old comic book, the strange looking gun, and even that painting that have been sitting in your attic for twenty-five years might actually be worth something.

ABC News reported that a family recently discovered a copy of 'Action Comics' No. 1, dated June 1938, in their basement as they cleared the house in preparation for foreclosure. The comic—featuring the debut of Superman—has an estimated worth of $250,000. The family is expected to keep the house.

So what do you do if you think you've found something valuable? Here are a few tips from the experts:

  1. Do your research - Go to the library, fire up Google. Search every nook and corner until you can find some information about the item. The more you know about your item, the better off you'll be.
  2. Hire an appraiser - Appraisers can charge up to $350 for their services, but it will be well worth it to know what you have.
  3. Find a dealer - unlike in 'Pawn Stars' you're probably not going to walk in to a pawn shop and sell your item for big bucks. If you use a dealer, find one that specializes in what you're selling. You'll likely have to pay the dealer 20 to 40% but it could be worth it.

And remember, the antiques business is a business. It's buyer beware.