For perhaps the majority of people collecting things is simply a hobby and it is almost certainly true that in the vast majority of cases that that is how it starts out anyway. Not many people say, ‘I’m going to collect comics and get rich’. That said, many people that started collecting as a hobby went on to have collections that were later worth great sums of money. The reason for this is that their love of the pastime and the thousands upon thousand of hours of study and effort that they invested in it finally ‘paid off’.
People start with one of two items (unless they buy a ready made collection) and add to it over the years and it is not uncommon for some collectors to amass over 10,000 model cars or in excess of 500 vases. Many run out of space in their homes and have to rent storage for their hobby and often the only factor limiting the expansion of their collection is money.
Many psychologists theorize that there is a difference between collecting and hoarding and believe that whereas collectors specialize in certain kinds of objects and generally organize their collections that hoarders will amass a random assortment of items and rarely ever look at them, let alone organize them. Some psychologists speculate that many humans feel the need to collect objects in order to overcome their feelings of anxiety or loneliness and especially those stemming from childhood whilst still others theorize that collectors simply want to assert control over objects and create order in their worlds.
The majority of collectors maintain that profitability is a secondary factor in their collecting and give other reasons for pursuing their hobby. They mention the overriding stimuli to be, the knowledge gained in collecting, the networking with fellow collectors and most important the pleasure that that they derive from finding and acquiring a new and much sought after object.
Attempting To Value Collectibles
In many cases a collectible has no value other than that placed on it by the collector. To him it is the most important thing in the world but to most others it might be simply junk. There are however some parameters that can be used in order to evaluate the practical value of a collection and we will take a look at them now.
How Rare Is It?
The rarity of something is probably the most important yardstick. If something sells for a dime a dozen and you have a dozen of them, in prime condition, then your collection might be worth a dime.
Many collectors consider condition to be the most important factor but it is hard to see how this could be correct. It is however very important since given two items of equal scarcity then the one in the best condition would be more sought after and worth more than the one in worse condition.
I hasten to add of course that ‘collections’ are made up of many items and some will contain things that are rarer than others and things that are in better or worse condition than others.
If you have the original packaging and it’s in pristine condition then this will always add to the value of the item. Many original purchasers ripped open the box and immediately threw it away so there are far fewer items available with ‘perfect’ packaging
Age And Origin
Unlike antiques, the age of a collectible does not immediately make it more or less valuable and some newly released items that are in short supply may be worth much more than older items that are in abundance.
Depending on the interest of the purchaser, the origin of a product may or may not add value. A book written by a local author may be or more interest to a local collector but not necessarily so.
Buying and Selling Collectibles
The buying and selling of collectibles is now big business and is very widespread so I shall simply attempt to point out what I consider to be some of the more worthwhile places to check out and hope that they will lead you to others.
Excuse me for not mentioning Christie’s and Sotheby’s but if you have a collection befitting of them then I need your help rather than vice versa J
Local collector’s clubs are a very nice way to start out and the owners of wherever you buy the items that you collect will certainly be able to put you in touch with people in your area. You’ll hopefully make new friends and benefit each other by sharing your knowledge.
Many publications such as the ‘Collector’ magazine are useful sources of information as are the more specialized journals like ‘Toy Shop’, ‘Coins Magazine’, ‘Comics Buyer’s Guide’ and ‘Teddy Bear’.
We mustn’t forget the Internet which is where you are most likely reading this, so check out sites like, ‘eBay’ and ‘Yahoo!, plus ‘Ruby Lane’ and don’t forget, ‘collectiblestoday.com ’.
Thank you for reading Part 2 of ‘The Collectors And Their Collections’. Part 3, which will be our final part will contain information on the history of collecting dating from the mid 1880s until today.