Think anything from today will ever become collectible or antique?

My mom likes to go “antique-ing” and buy old furniture to put around the house. She can end up paying as much (or more) for an old table or chair as a new one would cost. She says that they’re built better, and I don’t really doubt her since the piece of furniture has made it for so long without being turned into kindling. When I was in high school, one of my friend’s mom and sister collected beanie babies and would pay outrageous sums of money for some of the “special” ones. From what I can tell beanie babies aren’t what they used to be as far as re-sale price goes.

I believe that people justify the high prices for older things because aren’t as many items as people want. For example, a baby-boomer might want a Barbie like she had when she was a kid, but her mom threw out. So she searches for an old one, finds it and pays significantly more than what it would have cost back-in-the-day (regardless of inflation).

So what I’m wondering is, with so many people keeping stuff around with dollar signs in their eyes, will this be counterproductive and just keep prices low? Of course I know that something is only worth as much as someone else is willing to pay for it, but will anyone ever want to pay anything for the junk I’ve got in my garage? It just doesn’t seem like it because so many other people have it too.

Collectibles are a crap shoot. No matter how rare or collectible something is, it will only be worth what someone else is willing to pay for it. That’s what is so hard about understanding prices and stuff. You might have the rarest end table (or whatever), but if no one else is willing to pay $10 for it, it is worth diddley-squat (iunless it has real historical significance or something). Many Beanie Baby collectors got burnt when the market for them hit bottom, that should be a lesson to people investing mucho diniro in “collectibles”. My rule of thumb is “Buy what you like”, then at least if it isn’t worth anything, you still like it.

I don’t think there is any way to predict what is going to be rare and desirable in the future.

To answer your question about antiques: If I’m not mistaken, Lyndon Johnson signed a law that declared anything 100 years old is allowed to be called an antique. Legally. That’s the definition.

I’ve been involved in collectibles for over 30 years now, making a living by knowing something about them and buying and selling them, hopefully making a profit in between.

My rule of thumb is, if it’s dirt common, it’ll always be junk. Rare things always get rarer.

Things that are currently available(1990’s) won’t have great value for 30-50 years. If you have the luxury of putting them away, you may do well. Beanies were made in quantities that would keep them from ever having much value in the future. NO one threw them away. Unlike Barbie Dolls that were from the late 50’s and early 60’s. Parents threw stuff away back then.

From what I understand there’s a decent marker for the original Transformers and some other later toys that I remember from being a kid (and I’m 22.)

But I’d be highly skeptical of anything sold as a “collectable” new to ever be worth anything in the long-run. Anyone with any sense should have known that Beanies wouldn’t be worth squat in the long run. It was the “dot com bubble” of the collectable world.

Toys do well, I think, because you never know which ones will be desired ten, twenty, thirty or more years down the road, and since they’re for kids most of them tend to get destroyed or damaged in the long run, making them rare when they weren’t to begin with. They also have a high nostalgia factor once those kids have grown up.

There are people that collect Pez dispenser and old McDonald’s happy meal toys. You never know.

Um, my Canon A-1 SLR camera may be, someday… it’s already 20 years, old though. The market for older cameras, just like a lot of older stuff, is going to be around for a long time. The emphasis these days seems to be on cheap mass-production and high profit margins. So, they just make everything out of plastic now.

I can tell you, my sheet metal A-1 is going to be in better shape and retain more value 50 years from now than any modern, electronic, plastic SLRs that they sell today.

Sigh… why can’t they go back to metal, why?


A lot of pros give advice that differs from samclem’s on one point: The most common kids toys/giveaways from the 30s-40s are most prized now. So many people saw them, had them, lost them, that that creates buyers. Rare stuff that most people never saw don’t interest a lot of people.

OTOH, the repeated advice "don’t buy new stuff adverstised as ‘collectible’ " seems to be widely held.

eBay, has really killed a lot of markets. Used to take a year to track down 1 of an item and now there are 10 for sale on eBay today.

Now is not a good time to enter the business. Wait for things to settle down (and prices to fall further).

Expect that I’ll become an antique.

From the amount of Sponge Bob Square Pants memoraribilia taking over my house,it damn well BETTER be worth something someday.

Yeah, that was mostly my point. There’s so much stuff produced these days and people will even keep it in hopes of it being collectable. Like my mom didn’t want me to sell my old Superman and Star Wars toys that have a bunch of paint scratched off of them when I was younger because “they’ll be collectors items” or “your kids will want them some day, I wish I still had my toys.” If you look on ebay you can find all the junk I used to have, but it’s all sealed up in original packages, untouched, etc. Any way, it was just an observation.

The “leftover” bits from Michael Jackson’s plastic surgeries, but the market may be flooded.

The best little kernel of wisdom I ever heard about collecting and value was this: If there are three of something in the world and four people each want one, the third one is priceless. If there are four of something in the world and only three people want one, the fourth one in worthless.

The “leftover” bits from Michael Jackson’s plastic surgeries, but the market may be flooded.

The best little kernel of wisdom I ever heard about collecting and value was this: If there are three of something in the world and four people each want one, the third one is priceless. If there are four of something in the world and only three people want one, the fourth one is worthless.

If I’d remember to use “preview”, I wouldn’t do stupid crap like that.

One of the most shocking things I found out recently was that certain Japanese laserdiscs, some released less then 10 years ago, are now pushing past $400 dollars for mint condition. Now these are typically unedited Disney movies that have not been released in the US.

And I think that’s a good rule to go by. I’ve got The Little Mermaid on DVD. It’s unavailable now and I’ve seen it going for $100 or more. But if Disney were to decide that her transformation scene was a little too revealing and they went back and made a new one the price would shoot up dramatically. Although at the moment I can’t think of anything like that. In fact in the future studios will probably become looser with their movies and we’ll see previously edited bits added back in certain releases. I hope.

As a whole however most things are simply produced in numbers too large to ever be worth anything great in our lifetime.

I’ve heard that those Abercrombie and Fitch T shirts that got pulled quickly go for quite a decent sum.

Also, I remember two or three years ago, when the buzz for LOTR started, the old video tapes of the Bakshi version were going for several hundred on eBay (and I was bummed that my Beta player no longer worked… or I could have watched mine).

Anything that was only produced briefly, but then later experienced a surge in demand will be collectible. The problem with most mass produced “collectibles” today is that once demand goes up, they just up the production.