Are young people still adopting these hobbies or are they gentrifying and dying?
Young people can’t afford comic books these days. I’ve never met a stamp collector (though I’m sure they exist in more than legends and stories) and none of the kids I know collect baseball cards. Anecdote isn’t evidence I suppose but that’s been my experience thus far.
Just thought I’d expand on the comic book part. Back in 2000 I worked at a rather well known comic store in the D/FW area. The vast majority of our customers who came in for comic books were males in their late teens through their 20s. We had a relatively high number of females come in primarily to purchase manga like Sailor Moon and other titles I can’t remember off the top of my head. The price of collecting comic books is prohibitively expensive for young people without a job. There’s also fewer places for them to buy comics. Growing up in the 80s, I could go to the supermarket and pick up a copy of Batman, Spiderman, or Superman but I can’t remember the last time I saw one of those titles for sale at Krogers, Albertsons, or Safeway. One other problem is that comics are difficult to just pick up and read because the story arcs can last for a long time. You used to be able to pick up a funny book and it’d have at least one (often more) self contained story. Last time I was into comics was about 8-9 years ago. I only read Nightwing and some Ultimate Spider-Man but when Nightwing’s story arc was interrupted for stuff going on in Batman’s title I gave up on it and all comics.
I can’t really tell you whether or not comic collecting is dying. It’s certainly a much different animal than it was when I was a child in the 80s.
PS: Missed the edit window. Sorry.
Sports card collecting is… complicated. It certainly isn’t very popular with kids these days. I frequent one of the two or three card shops in Baton Rouge, and almost all of the customers are men in their thirties and older. Most of the kids that come in are brought by an adult. That is completely understandable. When I was a kid collecting I could get packs for a dollar or less. These days most hobby packs cost four dollars or more(up to seventy-five or so). A full box can cost anywhere from forty dollars to six hundred or more. That said, some kids do come in and the owner and manager make a real effort to give packages of cards(the reason why I give all of my doubles to them) to children in the area. The problem is, it is prohibitively expensive for kids. Actual card shops are a dieing bread as well. It is a lot cheaper to order cards online, as they don’t have nearly as much overhead as the actual shops and not nearly as large a buying sector. The industry is doing decently, just with a different demographic.
Are you interested only in collecting or in all old-fashioned hobbies? If the latter, knitting has certainly become popular in recent years.
Yeah, it would be interesting know what hobbies are on the rise.
I once knew someone who collected stamps. He had one from Azerbijan. I don’t know if he still has his collection.
I opened my first coin and stamp shop in 1974. I worked for another dealer for three years before that. I first collected coins and stamps starting around 1956.
The stamp hobby essentially was dealt a death blow starting in 1980, when the prices of stamps went through the roof, baseball cards became a consuming pastime in the mid thru late 1980s, and video games and computer gaming gave the kids opportunities that didn’t exist when I was young. As the old time stamp collectors die off, there are few youngsters coming along to take the place and soak up the stamps.
In the 1970s, in the Akron(OH) phone book, there were probably 12 stamp dealers listed. None today.
I collected stamps as a kid; my mom’s own childhood collection was the nucleus of mine. But it got to be very expensive and I gave it up after three or four years - there were always more appealing things on which to spend my limited funds. My three sons have never shown the slightest interest (although they did collect the state quarters when those were coming out). The USPS promos for stamp collecting have kind of a sad, desperate feel to them these days - I think it’s a dying hobby.
The only thing I collect these days (and really, ever) is comic books. But I don’t do it for any kind of investment potential; I collect them because I like to read them.
Apparently building model kits (aeroplanes, tanks, cars etc) has undergone a resurgence in popularity lately. I’ve heard people mention James “Captain Slow” May’s name in connection with this, too.
Hornby, whose brands include Airfix, Humbrol and Corgi, seems to be doing well enough. The company reported a 5% gain in first-half sales earlier this month, which I think is pretty good considering the pressures on consumer spending at the moment, although profit was down because of higher costs and currency movements. Hornby singled out Airfix and Corgi as “performing well.”
Those things kept us pretty busy as kids! I remember the blue cardboard coin books where you inserted coins by date, and parents sending away for a big cellophane bag of various stamps - we’d spend hours gluing them in stamp albums, always searching for “the world’s most valuable stamp”, the black on magenta octagon shape. Good times! (Comic book collecting - hell, yeah, a whole other subject.) I suppose video games and texting are more popular with kids now.
I actually do collect stamps (have a collection of just over 5000 stamps, from a wide variety of countries, including most current ones). Started in 1987 at the age of 15 and still going today (I can remember the first foreign stamp I got was from a country that no longer exists! (but did then)). However, I haven’t had much time for it lately, pretty much the only time I go out to get new stamps is every spring when the Winnipeg Art Gallery has its annual stamp sale. I used to be afraid that I’d be by far the youngest person there (I’m 37 now), and while I’m by no means the oldest, or even in the middle, there’s still a few people under 50 there to make me think the hobbie’s in not too bad shape. There have been some stamp stores closing here, but there is still a couple open.
Last time I went to the Art Gallery stamp sale, my daughter (6 at the time) insisted she come along too, she never really showed much interest in stamp collecting before, but I gladly had her tag along, and look through the collections to see what she wanted. She picked out a good starter set (although they’re still in an envelope, have yet to get her a book), and next spring, I’m going to ask her if she wants to come.
As to other “old people” hobbies, my dad’s a ham radio operator (or was, hasn’t been on the air in years because his health isn’t good enoguh to get his antenna up again, but he insists on keeping his license renewed and valid “just in case”). I have never (even when I was a teenager and had more interest in the hobby) met a ham under the age of 40 (I know of a few friends of mine my age on the 'net that are hams, but I’ve never met them face to face … ) I was way more interested in it as a teen, even studied for my license (but the technical aspects of it stymied me, back then you had to have a knowledge of electronics and Morse Code to get your license). Once I discovered the Internet in my teens, it was game over for ham radio. I really fear that by the time I’m the age of my dad, ham radio will be on critical life support.
I used to collect both stamps and coins when I was a kid in the late 80s and early 90s. I still hit the coin shows every once in a while. I don’t buy anything valuable, mainly just the various foreign coins they sell for a dollar or two. I just like the idea of having money from all the over the globe.
I collect, but I do it on the internet.
Graphics files sorted by name, type, time and so on. I suspect given my migratory lifestyle, this meets my physiological desire to hoard stuff. I cannot help but think I am not the only one. Some portion of the collapse of collecting might be due to this.
Of course, that link is pretty misleading, at least on the face of it. It was a 1795 U.S. CENT that brought that price, not a “penny” which is what folks in England used for a few hundred years. This is a coin that is the size of a U.S. half dollar. They were that size from 1793-1857. It’s not like finding a “penny” in your modern change worth something. :mad:
I hate sensationalizing websites.
I have had all my coins certified, and keep them in a safe deposit box . . . adding to the collection occasionally. They are currently worth more than my house (thanks, in part, to the rise in gold prices).
I also still have remnants of my childhood stamp collection, but I don’t think it’s worth much.
I find this intriguing. How does this work, Paul? You’re collecting images? Does that deliver the same “thrill of the chase” as finding physical objects?