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Collectibles as an Investment?

Collectibles can be just about anything, because almost anything can be collected. Remember the big ball of string you may have seen in the Guinness Book of World Records? Obviously that was the serious work of a string collector. TV personality Jay Leno collects expensive classic cars and I know a 5-year-old who collects Legos.

For most, the joy of collecting is in the finding, the researching and adding to their respective collection. Many enjoy displaying their treasures and gathering regularly with other collectors of similar items.

Some people collect with the belief that may make money from their collection or will at least retain value in the items they have acquired. While this does happen at times, markets change and so do the whims of the collecting world. Shirley Temple was a huge star in her day, but the value of collectibles related to her hasn’t appreciated like Superman’s first appearance in 1938. But back then, who would have known? At the time, she was a lot more popular than the brand new comic book caped crusader.

In recent decades collecting has become serious business. Companies like Franklin Mint sprung up to create hundreds, if not thousands, of instant collectibles, which sold like wildfire. However, many of the “limited editions” from these companies aren’t that limited, resulting in a deluge of items reaching the secondary market. As an example, many Danbury Mint die cast collector cars, sold several years ago for $100 or more, bring as little as $20 to $30 on EBay these days.

None of us can predict the future of any given market, whether it be the Stock Market, Gold Market or the Collectible Market. The truly happy collector is one who collects for the joys and pleasure of collecting and not for the potential monetary return.

As a side note, if something is marked and marketed as a “Collectible”, it usually isn’t.

Hope to see you at the next Auction!
Terry Mangum – Professional Auctioneer

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