The Collectors And Their Collections


People of all ages and in every country in the world collect things.

They collect stamps, labels, books, cars, antiques and pretty much everything else that you can imagine and some collections even collect dust.

Many collections are worth thousands of pounds (and twice as many dollars), a few are worth millions and many are worth what can be got for them at a local garage sale.

The difference between antiques and other collectibles is that antiques are traditionally defined as items that at least one hundred years old and were for the most part hand-made whereas other collectibles could have been mass produced yesterday.

Is everything over 100 years old and antique?

Although almost anything can be classified as a ‘collectible’, antique dealers would generally define only such objects as jewellery, books, furniture, dolls, glass, pottery and porcelain as antiques and the more modern objects such as post-World War II toys, magazines, sports memorabilia, comic books and trading cards would be referred to collectibles.

What causes collectors to collect one thing and not another?

Collectors as against antique collectors tend to gather items that have some personal meaning for them such as things that relate to their childhood. Those who grew up in the early part of the 20th century might have an affinity with toy soldiers or Matchbox vehicles whereas those who grew up in the ‘60s and 70s would be more likely to collect action figures, superhero comic books, space memorabilia, robots and Beatles paraphernalia.

A quick look at eBay will reveal that there are over forty different categories of collectibles which are then sub-divided into hundreds of sub-categories and my advice to anyone wanting to start collecting would be to keep the category fairly narrow at first. There is a vast difference in collecting American or English matchboxes or matchboxes from all over the world. If you want to collect dolls then start off by collecting either Shirley Temple or Barbies but not all dolls.

You will still have a very wide choice available and gain a lot of pleasure from your pastime and should you later decide to widen your collection then it will be a much smaller and easier step than say starting out with the intent of collecting cereal boxes from every county in the world.

There is another group of items that people collect that are specifically manufactured for that purpose, like limited edition paintings, Barbie dolls, exclusive porcelain plates and figurines, certain kinds of toy cars as well as many other things. These items might be worth collecting if they particularly interest you but be aware that they are unlikely to increase in value as most of them were manufactured in too great a number.

In Part 2 we will look at why people collect and also take a look at the financial aspect.

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