Vendor Trash is a kind of item found mostly in RPGs, but it can appear in other genres. This item doesn't heal you or buff you, it can't be equipped, it doesn't harm the enemy when you throw it, it won't open the Sealed Cave of the Sidequest or encourage the palace guard to finally let you see the king, and it can't be combined with other items to do any of the above. In fact, having it does nothing but take up space in your inventory. You might as well throw it in the trash.
But wait a second - one man's trash is another man's treasure, and didn't the shopkeeper tell you We Buy Anything?
Vendors throughout the realm will pay money for useless trinkets like that! Money. Money that you can use to buy something actually useful (maybe). Sometimes a respectable amount, too, depending on the nature of the item. In rare cases, the Vendor Trash actually appreciates in value throughout the game!
This will often take the form of gold or jewels - if those aren't the very things which constitute the Global Currency. The term Vendor Trash can also refer to the weak items and equipment that accumulate in your inventory as you progress through the game (especially by fighting Random Encounters), and that you inevitably sell off in bulk to the first shopkeeper you see once your bag starts becoming full.
It can frequently be Justified if the Vendor Trash is some sort of valuable treasure item like a jeweled ring or a bar of gold, or anything else that could reasonably be considered valuable in Real Life. Vendor Trash also offers an opportunity for clever World Building if the player finds out what the merchants actually do with the things you sell them. Alternately, it could be justified by there being some sort of standing bounty on the monsters that drop those items, such as a kingdom paying for every orc tongue delivered. (But those aside, vendor trash types of items can become rather silly when they really are useless things which it seems like no one at all would have any use for, ever.)
The examples here can be both intentional and unintentional.
This is often used to avoid the Money Spider trope. Don't be too hasty to sell it, though, because you might need it to complete a Chain of Deals later. Just don't start a rumor it can be used for a hidden event.
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The various Treasures in Ōkami, most of which was pottery and figurines. Issun even recommends selling them, because what else would Physical God Amaterasu need them for?
As are most of the fish you fish up in the Fishing Minigame. However, considering Ammy still eats and pees, one wonders why she can't just eat the fish.
The Legend of Zelda: The Wind Waker introduced a character who accepted a monster-dropped Vendor Trash item for rewards above simple cash. However, this was never expressly stated in the dialogue with him.
More than one. If monsters drop it, no matter how useless it seems, someone wants 20 of it for a Piece of Heart (or better.)
And in The Legend of Zelda: Phantom Hourglass, there's a whole line of treasure items (Goron Amber, Ruto Crown, etc.) that are nothing but vendor trash. The exact amount for each item varies from game to game and there is a way to trade these items between games to increase your profit.
In The Legend of Zelda: Spirit Tracks they were changed to be useful to make new train parts, but still perfectly good as vendor trash if you didn't need more of that part.
The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword also has a whole slew of random treasures and bugs that can be used to upgrade your items (the treasures) and enhance potions (bugs) but they can also be sold off to the correct NPCs at certain times.
Back when the Pokémon trading card game was new, there was an instructional booklet (more comprehensive than the manual, though also written by GameFreak) that said that the only ethical way to do this is for a gamer to trade Junk Rares to those who collect the cards, but don't play the game themselves, so that everyone is happy. (Otherwise, one would wind up in a situation where a naive kid is cheated out of a good card in exchange for a bad one that looks cool.)
The Shadowrun Card Game included a gun whose specific purpose was as vendor trash so you could buy a better gun.
The Magic: The Gathering "Shandalar" computer game had this as its only realistic source of early-game gold; always accept cards when winning a battle, then find the nearest town and sell the bad ones.
These games have real life versions of this in the form of common cards and sometimes, even a Junk Rare. They are nigh unplayable, but dealers will accept any card. A way to make a bit of money is to sell common cards in bulk, and it doesn't matter what the cards are.
In The Oregon Trail II and up, you can buy many useless items such as butter churns (useless even if you have milk cows), cast iron stoves, furniture, china, bags of beads, certain folk medicines and spices, sacks of sugar (you don't seem to use them), gun holsters (which don't protect you from accidental gunshots) etc, that serve no purpose other than to make your wagon heavier and increase the risk of tipping over. Then again, you can trade them for essentials later.
They can also be seen as a Self-Imposed Challenge by making the game more historically accurate, and bringing things that would only be useful when you get there.
Pretty much all of the best items in Dissidia: Final Fantasy require the trading of various vendor trash items, the majority of which can only be generated by battling specific characters or won in the game's Duel Coliseum. The best of the best items are often created from combining the items you've already generated along with even better vendor trash.
First Person Shooter
While everything you find in Borderlands is either money, equipment or ammo, the fact that most of the equipment is randomly generated and usually a few levels below you (if it's even a type of weapon you like to use or a class mod compatible with your class), most of it is vendor trash. In fact, there is a unique gun in the game which has the sole special power of being good vendor trash.
Borderlands 2kicks it down a notch: every single gun you find has at least acceptable accuracy, capacity and fire rate, with the only true deciding factor being damage and, to a lesser extent, reload speed. You can use the very first pistol you find in the game until a good way into the Southern Shelf no problem, and that's only because the mooks will have outleveled its firepower. It's still played straight with class/grenade mods, relics and shields, though.
The majority of stealables in the Thief games. Justified in that, well, Garret is a thief: The entire point of the games (at least initially) is that he steals valuable trinkets for a living. You can't pay the rent with arrows and smoke bombs, at least not in a way that won't attract guard attention.
All protective artifacts in S.T.A.L.K.E.R.: Shadow Of Chernobyl (with the exception of the Batteries and Spring, and to a lesser degree, the Kolobok and Mama's Beads, all of which are radiation-free artifacts). They absorb a deplorable amount of the damage they guard you against (5% at the very most), in exchange for a prohibitive rate of radiation per second. The only conceivable use you'd have for them is if you have an anti-rad artifact and no other good ones to put on your belt. Fortunately, they fetch as much of a price as all other artifacts, including the good ones.note That said, equipping Night Stars in bulk along with a Crystal Thorn/Fireball/Urchin/Crystal can be a lifesaver in the Chernobyl NPP. Starting in Pripyat, Night Stars (which provide 5% extra defense against bullets for 5 rads per tic) become ubiquitous, and by that point in the game, you won't need the stamina-enhancing artifacts that much.
Vendor trash is almost everywhere in Dishonored, but for simplicity's sake it is instantly converted to money the moment you grab it, so you never have to explicitly sell it.
Kingdom of Loathing has an "autosell" function that lets you sell just about any item in your inventory for money. Two items in particular are almost entirely useful only for their autosell value: "Valuable trinkets" and "fat stacks of cash" (the latter are useless because the Global Currency is "meat").
Valuable trinkets do have a minor useful function and are not entirely vendor trash. Other Vendor Trash items like "fancy seashell necklaces" can be bought to enable one to convert non-exchangeable currencies into the Global Currency.
And in the limited-time content of Christmas 2008 the "fat stacks of cash" also gained a valuable use. Seems that in Kingdom of Loathing nothing stays Vendor Trash forever!
Useless Powder, however, remains... well... useless.
Additionally, so-called "worthless" items of all types are useful to The Hermit, and indeed, you must use them to complete several important sidequests.
The joke being that Valuable Trinkets are near-worthless, while Worthless Trinkets are valuable.
When Hobopolis opened up, a vendor arrived who only accepted Valuable Trinkets. Good thing those aren't rare, or the player economy would have convulsed...
In the MMORPG Ragnarok Online, Vendor Trash also remains as the main source of income. Although some of those items can be used in certain quests, their main utility is being sold or exchanged for other items.
Although it's not well known, the game mechanic is actually based on an early scene in the original manhwa, when Chaos chops a horn off of a Face Worm so that he'd have proof that he'd killed it when he returned to Alberta to collect the 5,000 zeny bounty on its head. In RO, a soldier in Izlude provides the justification as to why characters sell Vendor Trash to merchants and not to a bounty hunter's office by explaining that the kingdom passed a law in which merchants can act as bounty hunting offices, and are compensated by the kingdom for paying out rewards.
Ragnarok is an interesting case as the usefulness of some items varies greatly with your character, playstyle and knowledge of the game (you often won't know what an item's good for until you need it). Sometimes, the vendor that takes what's trash to you can be another player. It also has inversions, items that are incredibly useful to the player (or other players), e.g. cards (used to upgrade equipment), which sell to NPC vendors for the lump sum of 10 Zeny, but are often worth literally a million times that.
Ragnarok has also been averting this for years in all the millions and millions of hats you can make. Got a ton of rotten bandages from killing zombies? Why, 300 of those make a hat! Got trunks? Make Sakkats! It can become ridiculous when your Kafra inventory is full of Vendor Trash you just can't part with because only a few hundred more will make you another hat!
World of Warcraft goes as far as color-coding its Vendor Trash. If you see an item with its name in gray, you can rest assured its only purpose in the game is to be sold to vendors. This was eventually lampshaded with the item "Goldenscale Vendorfish," a rarely caught fish which sells for an impressive amount of money for its item level.
And some so-called vendor trash can be sold to vendors for more than even legendary weapons, though these are fairly rare items contained within the daily fishing quest grab-bag. The Beautiful Glass Eye goes for 18 gold pieces, while the Ancient Coins go for 25!
For a brief period, the Darkmoon Faire allowed players to turn in certain gray quality items in exchange for tickets, averting this trope to an extent. However, developers soon realized that this threw the system and raised said items to white quality.
It's not uncommon for players to actually use some of those grey-colored vendor trash items when no other alternative exists. Most shoulder gear of remotely acceptable quality is few and far between under level 25, and for those underleveled players, a pair of rotting pauldrons or disheveled shoulderguards is better protection than nothing at all.
Of special note is the Shadowstrike/Thunderstrike polearm found in the then-high level raid Molten Core back in Classic. Instead of stats, it possessed a Chance on Hit proc and the ability to transform from one form to the other. Of the classes that could use polearms at the time - Warriors, Paladins, Druids, and Hunters - the weapon was comparatively too weak to be of use to the former two, and avoided by the latter two since Chance on Hit procs on melee weapons don't work for their preferred methods of attack. Because of this, it was generally considered worthless and granted the Fan Nickname "Vendorstrike", since this was all it was usually good for.
In Mists of Pandaria there are the so-called "Treasures of Pandaria". A number of these are low-quality items that may spawn in certain places; they grant experience points upon picking them up and usually sell for around one hundred gold, but are useless otherwise.
In addition, Mists of Pandaria simplified the vendor trash somewhat as well. Now, pretty much everything that drops it only has two Vendor Trash items they can drop (different specific items depending on the type of monster), one being very common and worth a couple silver each, and the other being considerably rarer and worth several gold apiece. Examples of the latter tend to include handy flavor text explaining why the vendor has a use for the item, even though the player doesn't.
Averted in City of Heroes. Not a single item can be considered to be truly vendor trash as they are all useful, if not to the player receiving them they will be to someone else. The Consignment House and Black Market exist so that players can sell and purchase these items from other players.
Although there's still some stuff (Training/Dual Origin enhancement drops at some levels) that is essentially useless, since it's outclassed by gear that's easier to get for that level. Recent changes revolved around removing most of those kind of drops.
In Guild Wars, there's an entire class of NPCs who trade weapons, armor, or other useful items for otherwise useless items. Some collectors offer explanations, but not all of them. And then there are merchants who buy virtually anything. Even then this trope is technically an aversion as the "useless" items can all be salvaged for crafting materials, sometimes being one of the few reliable sources for rarer materials.
This idea was taken a bit further with the introduction of Nicholas the Traveler, an NPC who wants different items weekly (or daily in Pre-Searing) in exchange for consumables. He nearly always asks for Vendor Trash. He, at least, gives a detailed explanation as to what use he has for such a bizarre item.
Guild Wars 2 has a subtle but nice reason for why vendor trash can be sold; every piece of trash has "Trophy" below its name, implying that when you sell something useless to an adventurer like yourself, you're giving it to a merchant to pawn off on someone as basically a dust collector or a conversations starter.
The net-based game Forum Warz has an entire item category of vendor trash called "Useless Junk". The value of the items ranges from the marble, which sells for only 1 unit of currency, to the nude Mary Magdalene, which sells for over 5000. To avoid quest items being mistaken for useless junk, they cannot be sold.
Why is it necessary to make quest items unsellable? Because otherwise you couldn't tell the difference - many of the quest items look, from the descriptions, utterly pointless...
The MMORPG Tales of Pirates has Trade Items, which can only be used for buying in one port and selling it for more money in a different port.
Yohoho Puzzle Pirates, similarly, features Fruit (everything else is useful for, well, a trade, since tradeskills are literally half of the game).
Runescape has a lot of vendor trash, such as goblin armour (too small for you to wear) and unenchanted jewelry. However, there are also things that are useful if you're on a certain quest and never again, such as beads (technically, goblin armour is also used in a quest, although even then you have to paint it first). Those things are useful for selling to people who are working on the quest that requires that item, or just selling to the shopkeeper. Some minigames even reward the player with Vendor Trash.
PKing in Runescape works interestingly now. Certain items held by a PC you kill are dropped when they die, but others have their value assessed and a piece of ancient pottery with an equivalent value drops instead. Assumably it's to keep the game market from being saturated by the merchant inventory spawns and the non-stop crafting: the PC that was killed gets to keep some of their items, the killer gets a money ticket, and the rest of the items go poof.
MapleStory has these in spades, with a very appropriate name of "etc items." While some etc items are needed for quests, there are many others that will never be used for anything but selling. Most are pretty standard but there are a few that are really bizarre like soiled rags, a fish's thoughts, werewolf toenails, and zombie teddy bears.
The now-unsupported MMO Tabula Rasa avoided the brunt of this trope by giving characters enormous amounts of backpack space and making truly useless items almost nonexistent (but rather valuable to compensate). Virtually all non-mission-critical items can, at the absolute least, be decomposed into their modular "stat bonuses" as well as the secondary resource needed to modify and install those modules, giving a distinct use to even the crappiest low-level gear in the game.
These two aspects together led to the very common and rather comical sight of the your character harboring several dozen fully-functional and loaded weapons (ranging up to chainguns and RPGs), two whole characters' worth of body armor in addition to their own, hundreds of grenades in all 53 flavors, and tens of thousands of rounds of spare ammunition for weapons the player cannot even equip. Any given low-level character could probably level a small town if they detonated the sheer volume of unstable materials they regularly lug around.
Most of the in game economy of EVE Online is based on the production, selling, buying, and transportation of vendor trash in the form of commodities other than the ships and upgrades that players can actually use. Though very little is actually useless, as almost everything in the game is useful to someone (for example, player-run space stations require certain resources that individual players will find useless).
Star Wars: The Old Republic includes a feature in which you can have your current companion to go and sell all the vendor trash in your inventory while you continue to play.
Billy Vs SNAKEMAN has "Treasure Items", most of which were initially only good for their sale price - and they all had to be assessed from their "ash-covered" state before they could be sold (thankfully, even the lowest-value is always worth more than its assessment price). Some of these were initially useful for building Wasteland gear, and the rollout of PizzaWitch made a lot more of them usable for crafting, but Small Gems are still only resaleable.
In Dream Of Mirror Online, if it wasn't used for a quest or for alchemy, it was most likely Vendor Trash; this was the main source of income as the money you got from finishing most quests was abysmal.
Gems in LEGO Universe are completely worthless to players, but they can be sold to vendors. Depending on the color of the gem, you can receive anywhere from a measly 10 coins to a grand 50,000 coins by selling these gems.
There is a gigantic variety of items you can loot in WildStar, and given their convenient Vacuum Loot feature which sucks up all the loot in an area, you can collect the strangest of things without realizing it. These could be looted jewelry and nicknacks from your enemies, scraps of their equipment, their body parts, and anyonewill buy them.
Pokecapn's Let's Play of Sonic Unleashed actually averts the trope - normally, the Sun and Moon Medals, and the various extras, are kind of arbitrary and seem sort of worthless, even if they're not. But Medibot assigns each one a unique identity, and suddenly they have value (especially when they contain things like first editions of first drafts of well-known books, or the hopes and dreams of every child in Kentucky).
Dead bodies of slain creatures can serve as this in Pikmin 2. When above ground they don't really count, since they're used to grow more Pikmin, but in underground areas you get money for dragging them back to the ship instead. Not as much as collecting treasure, but one can still make a sizeable chunk of money off of just bringing back any creatures they kill.
In Alpha Man, many items are vendor trash, such as the slinky, the PortaPotty, the cyclotron, and the prosthetic leg. Other items appear to be vendor trash, only to have useful purposes, like the Home Movie Projector that puts creatures to sleep, the Massage Unit that relieves fatigue, and the Bottle of Seltzer that is effective against fire-based creatures.
In ADOM there are several clearly useless items, like the Scroll of Cure Blindness (to use it you must be able to read it, spot the problem?) or the si. However, there is also a Potion of Uselessness which grants the player a random artifact if thrown on the Level 49 of the main dungeon. It can only be used for this. As in NetHack, shops can run out of money - however, they eventually renew.
The si isn't useless - it's a self replicating artifact that comes in useful on the ice level for moving around and can be wielded as an improvised weapon against enemies that damage/destroy non-artifact weaponry.
Castle of the Winds has a junk store specifically for the player to sell broken or cursed items, as the other stores won't take them. At least in the case of cursed items, if the player hasn't already identified them (say, by Save Scumming to find out what they are), stores will buy as if they were ordinary goods — unless the player abuses this privilege, after which those stores refuse to take unidentified items.
Dwarf Fortress has a lot of this in the form of enemy equipment - you can't wear most of the clothing that other races drop, seeing how it's too big or narrow for your dwarves. You can use most of the weapons, but they're usually poor-quality compared to what you can make locally or buy. However, depending on the material that it's made out of traders will sometimes give you quite a bit of money for it. Metal items can also be melted down, and the junk left behind on a battlefield acquired the Fan Nickname of "Goblinite, the fourth iron ore". As a result, goblin invaders starting to turn up in leather armour in the latest version had the perverse effect of making defending the fortress harder on metal-poor maps.
In fact, nearly everything you can manufacture that your dwarves can't eat, wear or kill things with is Vendor Trash at this stage in the game's development; presumably at least some of it has another function that hasn't been implemented as of version 0.28.181.40d.
This is true of Fortress Mode. In Adventure Mode, you can sell anything to most merchants, but different currencies are not interchangeable between different towns, so selling a bunch of stuff usually just nets you money with very limited use. But the money can still be thrown for massive damage.
There's also stuff you can create that exists solely to be sold to merchants. Turning a few hundred of those useless quartzite rocks lying around into A Present From Boatmurdered +quartzite mugs+ can be very profitable. It does, however, become odd when vendor-trash material like golden salve or barrels of blood get brought to your fortress by vendors, especially if you then spend hundreds of dwarfbucks on useless barrels of golden salve without knowing what it's for.
Dungeon Crawl makes sure shops don't buy anything, specifically to avert this trope; the author thinks lugging mountains of vendor trash back to the shops just isn't a fun game mechanic. Besides, apart from cursed and/or damaged equipment and a few malevolent pieces of jewelry, there actually isn't anything truly useless — your lvl 20 Troll Monk might not need that book of lvl 1 completely useless spells, or that potion of poison, or that +2 dagger — but for some other type of character those things might be very valuable.
The only "vendor" who accept anything is god Nemelex Xobeh. Buy sacrificing all the trash you find you make day you get magic deck of cards come sooner and also determinate what kind of cards will be in it.
NetHack restricts things by limiting the amount of cash each storekeeper actually has to buy your junk. Once that's depleted, the value of the trash is vastly depleted and you can only get store credit. General Stores are the friends here, where you can sell all the random encounter crud - including the elf armor, the elf weapon, the elf shield and the elf corpse. (Well, it beats eating it - sometimes...)
The real money in Nethack lies in gems - but you have to have magically identified which are valuable and which are just glass, otherwise the shopkeepers buy them priced as glass, and sell them priced as emeralds, amethysts, dilithium crystals or whatever...
Moria had shopkeepers that would purchase unidentified items. In theory, you could stockpile 99 potions of Apple Juice, Slime Mold Juice and Water to get maximum profit (since their unidentified form is always the same from game to game.) However, trying to sell known vendor trash will offend the shopkeeper. The More Popular Spin-offAngband makes it impossible to sell known trash.
In the Thief games, anything you pick up and keep that isn't a weapon or used to solve a puzzle is this. In the first two games, the trash is automatically sold for you between missions. In the third, you have to track down fences to sell the loot.
The shopkeeper of Dungeons of Dredmor, Brax, will buy anything off you (even the sidequest-completion items, before it was fixed in a patch), but there is nothing in the game that is, by definition, Vendor Trash: it's either equipment, a consummable, or a crafting ingredient. However, if you don't have the relevant craft (Blacksmithing, Alchemy, or Tinkering) or skill set (e.g., booze, etc. when you've got no mana-using abilities or food when you're a Vampire), many items are functionally useless to you, making them effectively Vendor Trash (or Horadric Lutefisk Cube Trash).
The expansion pack Conquest of the Wizardlands adds a new item, Horse Armour, which is a Shout-Out to The Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion. It would grant the wearer 20 piercing resistance and 20 armour absorption, except it can't be equipped, since you do not have a horse or a slot for horse armour. Selling it to Brax does give the player a good amount of gold, at least.
One Way Heroics has some slain monsters drop chipped or whole gemstones, and sometimes you'll even find Ancient Gemstones, all of which are only good for selling for money although they're thankfully weightless. They're kind of flammable though, so beware of firebreathing monsters.
Role Playing Game
The Pokémon games have such items as Nuggets, Pearls, Stardust, and Tiny Mushrooms.
As of FireRed and LeafGreen, Mushrooms are all used in Sevii by the Mushroom Maniac Move Re-Tutor, so the specific Vendor Trash is now mostly Rare Bones (dug up Underground), the classic Nuggets, Star Pieces, and Pearls.
However, every other Move Relearner in the series takes Heart Scales, and since items can't be sent back to the GBA games, the Mushrooms return to Vendor Trash status in Generation IV.
The Star Pieces aren't entirely useless on D/P/Pt, since you can just give them to the guy at Fuego Ironworks in exchange for shards, which are used for getting TMs on Diamond and Pearl, or to pay various move tutors on Platinum.
Once you get to the Department Store in each game, you can purchase "Fresh Water" from the rooftop vending machines, which are equally effective as Super Potions, but cost only a fraction of the price. The only disadvantage is that you have to purchase them one at a time.
Ethers are also outclassed by Leppa Berries, which have the effect but activate automatically when held by a Pokemon; the player can get a sustainable supply of them with careful gardening. Neither of these two can be purchased from shops, but Ethers fetch a surprisingly high price in resale.
To make up for the lack of trainer rematches, Pokémon Black and White added three collectors that will buy certain regular items for more than what you'd usually get and will also give you tremendous amounts of money for rare items you can't sell to anyone else (some of which you only get one of). Star Pieces can also be traded to a guy in Anville Town for PP Ups (but he's only there on weekends).
There's also the billionaire in Undella Town who will pay you a LOT of money for the Relics you find in the Abyssal Ruins, which you really can't do anything else with.
The Gold Bars and Dried Bouquets in Paper Mario: The Thousand-Year Door come close, although they did have very marginal other uses. Both could be cooked, which was necessary for 100% Completion, although it wouldn't really make anything worthwhile. Also, the Dried Bouquet restored 1 FP and the Gold Bars were a way to "get around" the 999 coin limit.
There are so many of these things in The Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion, it would be impossible to list. Basically, if you could realistically pick up something with one hand — you could put it into your inventory and sell it to someone. The thing was, only a fraction of the items had any use at all.
It's possible to find ancient statues in equally ancient ruins that, at first glance, appear to be vendor trash. Selling one to an unsuspecting shopkeeper piques the interest of a collector who employs your services as his personal fetch monkey to complete the set. You could, with the aid of in-character precognition just go directly to the collector however.
They did the same thing with another item. Hint: if you're in a fort, be on the lookout for "Shadowbanish Wine".
Some of that Vendor Trash may well be the required offering to a certain Daedra Prince (Think Sheogorath and a ball of yarn)
There is a quest in the Shivering Isles that requires a pair of calipers and another of tongs. Also, it's apparently legit to loot the houses of people who've tried to kill you. It registers as theft in your Journal, but nowhere else.
An aversion for many of the trash/clutter items, though, is that they have trashy monetary values. A fair amount of items sell for nothing at all. Gems and metal nuggets are the more prototypical vendor trash, though their high values mean you're very likely to get ripped off when selling them.
In the game Shining Force CD, several pieces of Mithril that are found in Book 3 are like this.
In Mount & Blade, enemy drops are useful early on for equipping your character and NPCs; however once you have everybody decked out in the nicest armor drops, enemy drops essentially become Vendor Trash, as do the enemies themselves if you manage to take any prisoners. Prisoners can be recruited to your army, but the chances of that happening are low; the point is moot if your army is at capacity anyway. To sell them, you have to go from town to town until you can find a ransom broker, meanwhile with the prisoners dipping into your food supply. Captured lords and kings can be the most annoying to have to drag around, since the usual ransom brokers won't purchase them from you; you just have to wait until someone makes you an offer for them. There are also items that you can purchase from vendors for the sole purpose of reselling them elsewhere for a profit, some of which have absolutely no function apart from their inherent money-making value.
The "Pretty Stone" in the first Kingdom Hearts game. Likewise, the "Mystery Mold" that Randomly Drops from the randomly appearing Black Fungus; which is sold for 9999 cash! Sora apparently isn't curious just what merchants do with magic mushrooms formed from the darkness.
Especially when the merchants are kids. And nephews to Donald, no less.
In Raidou Kuzunoha vs. The Soulless Army, Raidou can acquire "artifacts", such as old coins and pottery, that are only useful when you sell them to Konnou-Ya, the crotchety old owner of the store that shares his name. Given that Konnou-Ya is a pawn shop whenever you're not buying magical elemental bullets and magical booze for your familiars, it's sort of justified.
Persona 3 has a similar system. Coins you get by killing the game's Metal Slime are usually worth a lot of money, and some of the items dropped by bosses are only there for you to sell.
In Persona 4, your first visit to the only equipment shop has the owner tell you explicitly that items dropped by enemies are useless to you and should be sold to him. A nice touch for those worried about selling anything for fear of missing something later on. As an additional reason to do so, new weapons and armor become buyable if you sell certain amounts of stuff to the shop.
Breath of Fire III had Antiquities that could be sold to any store for money, or to a specific store for more money. However, one of them (the Flower Jewel) is needed to get a certain master to help your party, so don't sell it.
The three statues in Skies of Arcadia were originally used for a sidequest, but in the remake, Skies of Arcadia Legends, this quest was taken out, and the statues became Vendor Trash. The game also featured plenty of straight examples — Crystal Balls, Gold Bullion, and the Zivlin Bane treasures, for starters. Daccat's Coin also probably counts, although only one vendor in the game was interested in it. The Discoveries are a somewhat less orthodox usage.
Mario encounters the Goodie Bag in Super Mario RPG: Legend of the Seven Stars, an item that gives you one coin when used, and never runs out. This can be used to create unlimited wealth (very, very slowly), but Mario is a good citizen and sells it for 555 coins instead, sparing the Mushroom Kingdom the slow devaluation of its coinage and the complete collapse of its economy.
There's also the Pure Water item, which is frequently won from beating undead enemies. The Pure Water item only has one purpose, which is to instantly defeat undead monsters. They also have a hefty resale value of 75 coins a piece, making Pure Water a good way to rack up some coins.
Shadow Madness, a little-remembered Playstation RPG, had entire barrels of useless geegaws (farming tools, toys, etc.) that would get you loads of money if sold to specific shops. The game gives you no clue about this.
Selling Vendor Trash is your main source of income in Final Fantasy XII. It should be noted that a lot of items are available earlier, cheaper, and/or exclusively if you sell a certain quota of Vendor Trash.
FFXII actually adds justification to most vendor trash. Info in the bestiary frequently describes which items a monster drops and what they're used for, making the fact that they sell for decent money more plausible. And there's also a direct correlation between what you sell and what stuff you can buy from the Bazaar.
Ditto Final Fantasy XIII, which had loot you could either use for synthesis or selling, certain items give you so little synthesis points, you'd probably be better off selling them (and they'll usually vendor for large amounts if they give you less than fifteen).
This is more of a Guide Dang It moment as several of those items that give you single-digit EXP for synthesizing could be the ones that up your EXP-Multiplier to triple the usual value of more valuable components. But the real Vendor Trash components are the ones that are blatantly labelled as 'can be sold for a premium'.
Subverted in the first Baten Kaitos: Even the vendors don't want your trash. Selling cards you can't use brings in a pittance at best. Your main source of income comes via taking photos of monsters.
However, there are a few items (Jill's Jewelry Box, for instance) which can be created in battle and sold for a relatively high price (nothing like a rare photo, of course.) And then there's one of the oddest-ever ''inversions'' of Vendor Trash, where a certain item (Small Debt) changes over time to the Large Debt, and then the Snowballing Debt. Attempting to sell the Snowballing Debt will remove 50,000 money from your possession.
Chickens, rulers, and protractors in EarthBound. Luckily the game also has a "For Sale" sign which causes random people to wander up to you and buy your things. There's also the semi-rare Meteotite, which is dropped by some enemies and (as the description states) doesn't do anything but can be sold for a high price.
And then there's the Insignificant Item...though it actually has a use.
The Meteotite appears in the sequel, Mother 3, with the same purpose. Also, there are items such as Nuts (which heal 5 HP when eaten, but can be traded for much better recovery items until chapter 4) and Dolphin Ossicles (which have no purpose other than being sold).
Star Ocean: The Second Story is an example of the rarer "appreciating value" Vendor Trash, in which it sells (at an incredible price) a bottle of what was translated to "Seltzer". It rapidly increases in value based on the number of squares you've moved since the beginning of the game. It should be noted that this appreciation happens whether or not you own the item, meaning if you want to buy it you'll have to progress far enough that your ability to make money outstrips the time you've spent playing. You can also create it using ultra-rare cooking ingredients.
Star Ocean: The Second Story also had reverse vendor-trash in the item Bounced Cheque. In order to get rid of it, you had to pay a shopkeeper to take it off you.
Hell, half the stuff you make using Item Crafting can be considered Vendor Trash. Many items have little or no use and there are over a thousand of them.
Inverted in the obscure Game Boy RPG Great Greed, which contained an item called "TRASH" that took up limited inventory space. Trying to discard TRASH to free up your inventory space would fail with the amusing message "YOU CAN'T LITTER" (the game had an environmentalist theme). In order to get rid of it, you had to pay a shopkeeper to take it off your hands.
The Sega Saturn RPG Albert Odyssey: Legend of Eldean (based on the Super Famicom series) had several "mundane" items much like NAMCO RPG Great Greed had — forks and makeup and the like — which differed from the other fantasy setting items — swords and armors and the like.
You could collect plenty of vendor trash in Betrayal at Krondor, and some in its lackluster sequel, Return To Krondor. Return was perhaps notable for the fact that gems weren't vendor trash, because the game actually assigned a weight value to money. Vendors would automatically convert your coinage into lighter-weight gems. The large mid-game section where you're free to explore the coastal wilderness near Krondor without any easily-accessible vendors could easily lead to serious weight problems just from all the cash you weren't able to convert to gems (not to mention all the potion-making crap both your wizards were likely carrying around).
The Baldur's Gate series has a lot of these sorts of items—mostly non-magical jewelry and gems. However, occasionally, an NPC will have a use for a particular kind of Vendor Trash... and all the people who gleefully sold high-end Vendor Trash—particularly emeralds, star sapphires, rogue stones, diamonds, and other gem types—for large piles of money in Baldur's Gate II were disappointed when they go to Throne of Bhaal and found that there was a real use for them...
Dragon Age: Origins, its spiritual successor, does something similar. Word of advice, you may not want to sell off your unused gems, crafting supplies, and runes, as they can be used to give you an advantage in the final battle. But during your quest you'll also find things like blank vellum, silk carpets, and silver chalices, none of which serve any purpose except for this trope.
Dragon Age II reverses it and automatically sorts all unusable loot into the "Junk Items" category, which can be emptied at any shop with a single click on "Sell all junk" button. You can also move useless armor and weapons to Junk to greatly simplify loot selling.
Might and Magic RPG games had gems of different colours and value. They did not have any use except for selling them. And in M&M VIII there were 'shop tours': you could buy or sell Tobersk fruit, Tobersk pulp or Tobersk Brandy from various merchants, making some profit. This was too tedious, though, to earn gold that way.
In Vandal Hearts 2, the bullion (of gold), ingot, and the R (rare) metal serves practically this purpose. They're great to sell off, but no use whatsoever except to add weight (except the R-Metal, which is light). Even worse, there are items that doesn't even sell well, and just adds weight. Of course, there's a niche weapon with a niche skill that relies on your overall weight to damage enemies. You don't discover it until later in the game though, which means, most usually, you have sold those said items...
In the .hack// games, end-of-dungeon chests often contain one to three vendor trash items that are very valuable for trading with "other players."
The Monster Hunter and Monster Hunter Freedom series. While on missions you can find such rare and valuable items as shiny shells, mountain herbs, and special mushrooms. With a few exceptions, these items serve absolutely no purpose but for cash, and are sold off automatically when the mission ends.
Oddly enough, everything else is fair game. You should be fairly used to saving everything because you never know when you'll need it. Even those seemingly useless ROCKS (does 1 damage, same as a paintball) can eventually be used to forge the Basarios series. (High defense but looks like a ton of bricks.)
This is your only source of money in The World Ends with You, and the Vendor Trash is about as obvious as it gets— pins called "[number] Yen", with a design featuring that number, and no other purpose. Somewhat justified, as every enemy in the game is actually made from a pin, and presumably Vendor Trash pins are easy to get.
Not only that, but the shops' selection increases mostly by selling off various quantities of it.
When you're fighting human (or humanoid, anyway) opponents, the Fallout series most definitely falls into this trope, since you can usually scavenge a weapon, a piece of armor, and a trinket or two from hostiles, and they're usually things you either don't need, or already have (or have something better,) leading to huge mounds of Vendor Trash after a fight.
An interesting part of the Fallout game economy is that actual cash is relatively limited. It is often easier to trade for vendor trash to make up for what the NPC merchants lack in money. It gives the game's barter system a more realistic feel (in a post-apocalyptic sort of way), as you'll end up with transactions that go along the lines of "four scavenged shot guns for all of your cash, several bottles of hooch, and some ammo".
Fallout 3 reinforces this trope with a vengeance, supplying vast amounts of useless to marginally useful clutter around the environment and in containers. You only get one ally to load up with unreadable books and unsmokeable cigarettes, but fortunately stacks of Pre-War Money have zero encumbrance. Most of the junk can be used as ammunition for the Rock-It Launcher.
Fallout: New Vegas describes such items handily as "vendor trash." Some items are bound to personalities and take offense at the player picking up his/her trash.
The one saving grace to all that crap comes in the form of the custom weaponry, wherein fairly decent weapons can be fabricated from things that are literally lying around everywhere. One of these custom weapons is the Rock-It Launcher, an, err, unusual weapon that uses clutter as ammunition.
Oddly, as many GameMods lampshade, some of the vendor trash get turned into repair items for weapons and armor, which, given pretty much nearly all weapons and armor have been scavenged from the pre war world for use in the post apocalyptic one, maintenance of these items often becomes a constant personal task, and hence many mods make some of the obviously useful (for repairs) trash like "Wonderglue" and "Scrap Metal" usable for item repair because it makes logical sense.
In addition, in Fallout: New Vegas items such as Scrap Metal and Fission Batteries can be used to repair machinery if you have a poor repair stat, making it somewhat useful to keep some on you at all times.
Generally, the best way to make money in any Fallout game is to travel around, find a bunch of raiders, kill them, and sell their weapons in the nearest town. Raiders respawn (albeit in small numbers after you've destroyed the big hubs) in all games and carry weaponry that's usually useless to the player but very useful to the average wastelander, so they sell for tons of caps. A standout example is the Fiends of New Vegas, who frequently drop energy weapons. They even spawn a couple hundred yards from the game's main merchants at Crimson Caravan and the Gun Runner HQ.
Mass Effect 1 sees fit to dump upon the player piles of assault rifles, shotguns, pistols, and sniper rifles, not to mention armor and upgrades for all the above. Most of it is actually sub-par equipment, and a quick check of the weapon or armor's manufacturer by a reasonably experienced player can tell you off the bat which ones are worth keeping before you even check the stats.
Mass Effect 2 averts it completely, however: everything you pick up on missions can and will be used in some way.
Lampshaded (sort of) in-universe
Shepard: "We can use this!"
Knights of the Old Republic is equally bad, especially with stims. The bonuses they give don't stack, and are only mildly useful once you've got access to Force abilities. Ditto with medpacks, standard blasters, vibroblades, and such. The second game is a lot stupider about it than the first, leading you to have 5-6 copies of an allegedly "one of a kind" blaster.
Planescape: Torment has a lot of vendor trash items, mostly non-magical rings and bracelets, as well as weak weapons dropped off of opponents that you have long since outgrown, that seem to only exist to be sold to the vendors. However, while most plot items are unsellable, a couple are not and it gets very annoying to suddenly need a hammer and prybar but nobody seems to sell them. Luckily, vendors remember what items you sold them and will sell them back, assuming you can remember who you sold them to and that they're in an area you can still return to.
Megaman Battle Network puts an interesting twist on this. The battlechips you start off with, as well as many of the chips you earn early in the game, quickly become useless, filling up your pack with piles of crap chips, and you can't sell ANYTHING. However, you can plunk useless or unwanted chips into Chip Traders, which cough up (hopefully) better chips.
Some players actually BUY said chips just to go and pop them back into the machine again.
TaskMaker and its sequel, The Tomb of the TaskMaker, have several of these, including "Poison" which does bupkis; "old empty chest" which contains nothing; and other objects which can't be used, and have to be sold or discarded.
Brain Lord has things like Gold Coins and Silver Bullion, which have no use other than to take up space and be sold. Fortunately, they sell fairly well and you get a rather large inventory, but money isn't exactly hard to come by in the first place.
If you play the Memory game in Dragon Warrior 7 for Playstation for any length of time, you will amass a gigantic collection of dung, which gives you a measly 1 gold at the shop and serves no purpose other than attracting enemies (which you really don't need help with).
In Neverwinter Nights, certain types of creature always drop a specific body part; fire beetles, for instance, drop fire beetle bellies. Shrubs and piles of rock typically yield fenberries and quartz crystals (though the piles of rock can hide more valuable gems). All of these sell for one gold apiece. But just when you've learned to recognize Vendor Trash in Chapter 1, Chapter 2 changes the rules... Now, there's one vendor who won't deal with you until you give her an item of Vendor Trash (an 'arcane reagent') — every single time you deal with her — and you can also find out how to use some of them in Item Crafting. But you still collect so many of them that they still by and large count as trash. At the same time, certain rare items from the first chapter, worth holding on to for their use in that chapter's Item Crafting, now themselves become Vendor Trash, showing up everywhere. (But fire beetle bellies remain trash.)
Oh, and the books. You can ransack the Pamphlet Shelf for the same dozen or so books the world over. (And the occasional magic scroll.) Once you've read the page of setting-enhancing text once, they become pure Vendor Trash.
Can't forget gems, which exist solely to keep money in reserve so that when you die you don't lose too much dough. Admittedly, selling gems for money makes sense, but apart from diamonds (which are used in item crafting) they're rarely worth more than 100gp, which is a pitifully small amount of money when you get up to level 10.
This is the quickest means of getting money in Fossil Fighters. You find "Jewel Rocks" over the world, and clean the rocks to sell the jewels inside. However, it ends up being somewhat "normal" in that, in order to claim a Jewel Rock, you must generally win a battle first.
One of the most basic ways of making money in Albion. Some predators are hunted for parts that are used for various purposes (like decoration or as an ingredient for medicine). So whenever you're running low on cash, go hunting, pick up a few dozen of these and sell them. Valuables, like gems, also count, except for (non magical) jewelry, which can be equipped for extra protection.
White Knight Chronicles averts it. Don't sell anything. Ever. Everything you find has a use, be it for upgrading gear, crafting new gear, making Georama parts, or recruiting town residents. And even if you find something you don't think you need, you're better off donating it to the crafting NPC to get access to new recipes than selling it for straight cash.
Lampshaded and ultimately subverted in The Bard's Tale; the Bard finds several useless things in the chests and barrels he rummages through, but instead of being lugged around with him, they're automatically converted into silver to line his pockets.
The 7th Saga has various gems. Their advantage is that you don't lose them if you get defeated in battle (unlike gold). And yes, you will die in battle.
Darkstone has a number of items collectible from the local dungeons which serve absolutely no point to the player. These include a number of weapons and jewelry pieces which, if wielded/worn by the player character, will actually harm them. Their only purpose is to be sold for extra gold.
Panzer Dragoon Saga has a lot of Ancient Age things for Edge to find, or even more... mundane things. Like Coolia dung.
In Lunar: Dragon Song, you have the option of getting experience or vendor trash from killed enemies. Said trash can either be sold directly or used in the delivery miniquests that ask you to give an NPC Twenty Bear Asses.
Lunar: The Silver Star had tons of useless items just waiting to be sold in the original Sega CD version. The remakes cut almost all such items out.
Most equipment that you found in Arcana were worth equipping your characters with, except for the Golden Sword and the Rococo Armor. The sword was made of gold and the armor was made of precious metals studded with gems, so they didn't raise your stats much, but they could be sold for a high price at the equipment shops.
In Path of Exile the vendors themselves give you trash. You see, the game works on the barter system and there is no currency. So you can sell items for scraps that eventually combine into something relatively useful like an identify scroll.
Spiderweb Software's Avadon goes so far as to have an additional bottomless pit of a bag that's shared between all of your party members (in addition to their individual bags) which is meant solely for vendor trash. There are some things (such as dead limbs) that shopkeepers just won't buy ... Wonder why ...
Pandoras Tower Until I Return To Your Side features books as pure vendor trash. Picking them up copies their contents to the archive, and then they're so useless Mavda will take them off your hands without even asking for confirmation. She'll also buy Beast Flesh from you in bulk to give your excess some value instead of letting it rot, proving that being a minor Plot Coupon and Vendor Trash aren't mutually exclusive categories.
At the end of chapter 3 of Dragon Quest IV, Torneko opens his own shop, and can put up any item in his inventory for sale. At higher prices than what it would be sold for in other stores. Despite this, his wife (apparently a spectacularly good saleswoman) always manages to sell it all. Even the most worthless items dropped by monsters apply in this regard as well. Needless to say, you can rack up obscene amounts of money if you're willing to grind for a while in this chapter. Too bad money doesn't carry over from chapter to chapter (though if you use it to purchase expensive items, those do carry over).
Dark Sun games generally have either useful items, or junk with "0 cp" price tag that nobody will buy. But in Shattered Lands there is one trader in Gedron, who buys and sells literal trash (broken pots, mostly) at huge prices. Unfortunately, he gets better when you save his village from evil wizard.
Krater has sellable items that include pinecones, dog hairs and very small rocks.
Cells in Digital Devil Saga. Interestingly, you're actually told why they're valuable (the Karma Temple wants the data contained within them), and selling enough of specific types will unlock new items for sale.
In Professor Layton's London Life, the adorable RPG that comes bundled with some versions of Professor Layton and the Last Specter, pretty much everything you can pick up is vendor trash. Caught fish, picked flowers, you name it - Bruno will buy literally anything you want to sell him, except for those items necessary for the completion of the main plot.
Every Geneforge game ever has had somebody who was looking for otherwise-useless Shaper equipment, Shaper records or iron bars. The amount of inventory weight they take up vs. the minuscule amount of money and XP you get for retrieving them means it's really only worth it very early on.
Evil Islands: Some enemies drop this instead of money, materials or items. At least each type is given a short description which explains why it is sellable and what the buyers would do with it. Rat tails, for example, apparently make for a decent beer snack, when salted.
Although this trope is usually averted in Squaresoft RPGs, it abounds in Xenogears. There are many items (Gold Nugget, Eyeball, Fang, Scales, ...) whose only purpose is to be sold.
In Robopon, there's Crysty, a Robopon found within the Shielder Tower in Apollo Fortress. It's only found during the evenings, but when it's out, it's surprisingly easy to come by. Its body is made of solid crystal, and while most Robopon sell for about 50-100 G per level, Crysty sells for 250 G a level. The ones you find are between levels 23-27, meaning they go for around 6000 G a pop.
In South Park: The Stick of Truth this is taken to an absolute literal sense, since the game is littered with garbage that serves no other purpose than to be sold to vendors. Ceramic shards, broken bulbs, pieces of plastic, used syringes, cardboard tubes, pubes, goo, splinters, tap shoes, etc are only a few of the list of ridiculously useless garbage that you can pick up to sell.
Monster Racers contains bronze, silver, and gold ingots. In fact, you're more likely to receive them as prizes and in treasure chests than you are actual money! That's probably because it's set in our world, and attempts to avert Global Currency. Of course, that still leaves the question of why the world is full of random pieces of metal just lying around...
Opoona has several. Gems, which can sometimes be found when doing the cleaning side-missions, can be sold as-is to a shop, or to a specific NPC, whose price for Gems changes day to day. Medals can be won from the cheapest Artihella stand, and can be sold back to shops to make back money from the stand. (There's even a hidden shopkeeper hiding in Artihella who's explicitly there to perform under-the-table medal trades.) Finally, some of the Rare Random Drops the monsters have are very expensive pieces of vendor trash, with the most expensive being the Raffelesia.
Shin Megami Tensei IV has several "Mystic Relics" that can be found and sold for Macca. There are also certain gold items that fetch prices for either 1000, 5000, or even a whopping 10000 Macca each.
Animal Crossing revolves entirely around Vendor Trash. You grow it on trees, you fish it out of the river, you pick it up off the beach, you catch it in your net, you dig a fossil out of the ground and have a paleontologist clean it up, and then you sell it all to the raccoon. Or in New Leaf, the pink alpaca.
Elite and games like it (Pirates, X, Escape Velocity, etc...) have this as the basis of the merchant and pirate occupations. Buy low, sell high. Typically, of all goods the only one you can use is fuel, if it isn't sold separately from normal goods, and there are contraband goods which are game-influencing in that being caught with it may get you fined or fired upon. The rest differs only in prices and places where prices are high/low.
In Frontier versions of Elite it's the same, except there are a few more exclusions (game-relevant goods): two sorts of fuel on the list and useable Chaff, plus Rubbish (what normal goods may become if the ship is hit) and Radioactives (byproduct of military drives) that usually have a negative price (you can jettison them instead, but may get punished for littering in space).
Any Space Sims like Freelancer will have vendor trash in the form of commodities such as food, fuel, light weapons and even oxygen and water. It's only good for freighter builds, since for everyone else it is a bloody waste of time to loot a tradeship.
In Gran Turismo 4, the first cup of the beginner mode grants the winner an old automobile that has very low power and front wheel drive, which can be sold for 8.000 credits, and it's easy to win the tournament when the player gets more experienced, and this can be done any number of times.
Much like with Animal Crossing, this is the general route to money in Magician's Quest: Mysterious Times. You can collect mushrooms, wild plants, and gemstones to sell them off. However, a large portion of Vendor Trash items can also be used in incantations for magical effects, and many of the gemstones and flowers make good gifts to give to people you want to be your friends.
In Nintendogs, your dogs can find things in the street. Except for toys and accessories, it's all pretty useless and only good for selling. Things that range from actual trash like empty juice bottles to fallen satellites and expensive vases.
Many Harvest Moon games traditionally have "foraged items" that respawn daily in the wilderness areas around town. Some of them can be eaten to restore health, and some can be used for cooking or crafting, but the majority of them are most useful for shipping. Especially early on, when you don't have many crops or animals to work with. Some Harvest Moon games also feature jewels and jewelry, which can sometimes be given as gifts but usually make much more when sold.
Resident Evil 4 has various treasures scattered around the place whose only purpose is to sell to the merchant for money, which can then be used to buy and upgrade weapons. Several treasures can be combined to form new items which are worth more than the sum of their parts, too. Luckily, they take up no inventory room and are listed seperately from key items (which actually serve a purpose), so you know you won't later regret selling them, and the compound treasure items point out in their description that they seem to be parts of a whole.
In a rare non-RPG example, Dead Space has gold, ruby and diamond superconductors, which exist solely for the sake of being sold for a hefty price.
In Tabletop Roleplaying Games, anything you can convince the GM to give a value can become vendor trash. As a wise gamer once wrote: "if all else fails, steal the doors straight out of the dungeon".
To be fair, a high-level dungeon would probably have thick doors made of something like adamantine and are probably enchanted.
Hell, this was Lampshaded by no less than Gary Gygax himself in the 1st Edition Dungon Master's Guide. Gygax pointed out that things like flasks of oil, the weapons and armor belonging to human enemies, and pack animals could all be resold for decent prices, even if the enemies the players are looting didn't otherwise have a lot of cash on hand.
Turn Based Strategy
In the SNES/PSX game Ogre Battle: March of the Black Queen several items have in their descriptions that their only use was to be sold off for money; the player could also find that different shopkeepers would offer varying amounts (or trade goods) for certain items.
Fire Emblem: Mystery of the Emblem: In Book II you occasionally find Silver Axes, and never recruit anybody who can equip them. Averted in the DS remake where you do get several axe fighters, and the Silver Axes are replaced with what they were worth in the first place: gold.
Similarly, Radiant Dawn gave you a chance to find (and buy!) Dark magic tomes near the very end of the game, which at first seems silly without anyone in your party able to use them... keywords being "at first"; in a New Game+, you can recruit Pelleas (who specializes in Dark magic and Lehran, who can use them in the final battle, but comes with no tomes of his own, so you have give some to him in the middle of the fight, which is a waste of time.
Throughout the series, enemies or chests will drop gems or bullion that have no purpose except to be sold.
Turn Based Tactics
Many alien items in UFO: Enemy Unknown (aka X-COM) and sequels have little or no use for the player, but can be sold for big bucks. Particularly noticeable with Mind Probes - of questionable utility on the battlefield, but worth more than even the heaviest guns when sold.note Of course, it's not hard to imagine why various civilian and military bodies would be quite interested in mind-reading devices.
Alien corpses can also be sold for a pretty penny, which leads to the question of what these people are doing with all these dead aliens...
Its sequel, X-COM: Apocalypse, has several items which were originally supposed to have an in-game use, but was never implemented. One of these things is Psiclone, a narcotic implant often found by gangs and cults in the city (which can lead to X-COM raiding gangs, stealing their drugs, and selling off the take to fund their operations.)
In the reboot XCOM: Enemy Unknown, some stuff you can find in UFOs, like alien surgery or damaged flight computers, are only useful as source of cash when you sell them. In a rare display of benevolence from the interface, the player is explicitely notified that those items have no research benefits and should be sold.
Wide Open Sandbox
You can literally sell anything you find in the trash in Chulip... and this includes piles of Poopie.
In Red & Ted's Road Show, the Indian Trader in Albuquerque will buy the various kitschy souvenirs Ted has collected and trade them for points.
In one of the 1632 stories, a mercenary captain asks his XO why there are three packets of tampons in the strongbox, beside bags of various coins. The XO calmly explains that women are paying through the nose for the things, and there aren't any more being made, so they were a better investment than keeping the silver.
This is the basis for shows like Auction Hunters and American Pickers. Both shows feature people who make their living buying things that would typically be dismissed as not worth very much and then reselling them for large sums of money to the right buyers. Sometimes even the literal trash itself can be valuable - at least one of the storage trailers purchased by the Auction Hunters was full of scrap metal that they were able to sell to the scrap dealer for a few hundred bucks, on top of all the other valuable contents.
Nodwick pretty much parodies this whole idea. More often than not, the haul that the team takes back from a job (which the main character is forced to carry) has as much junk as it does actual treasure. This was taken to its logical conclusion in one story when they had so much junk that Artax decided to hold a yard sale.