Buried Treasure in Southampton
Collections that have lost their value and why
At one point or another most of us have dreamed about finding buried treasure in our attic. Whether it’s an old china set, some dusty candlesticks or a hidden Picasso, there’s always hope that maybe up amongst the rubbish is something of real value just waiting to be discovered.
That dream extends into collectibles. From marbles to Cabbage Patch Kids to rare Barbie dolls, most of us tried to collect something at one point or another. For a few the passion continues. For the time being though, you can probably leave those shoeboxes where they lie because the truth is that those old items rarely retain much value over time. No matter how high profile, most collections sooner or later become little more than old curiosities, remnants of a fad that only really made sense in a specific time and place.
When it comes to many collections, people’s belief in their value as an investment lingers long after that ceases to be true. What drives the kind of passion that can send prices soaring and what can bring it tumbling back down? To understand, it’s helpful to look at some collections that aren’t worth much, despite what people think. It’s worth noting that a few rules guide the price of collectibles. First and foremost is the oldest of all: supply and demand.
Back in the 1940s and 1950s, America seemingly couldn’t get enough of Coke brand merchandise, and the company obliged, pumping out paraphernalia from clocks to iconic case station pumps. Prices soared for even the most mundane of items as collectors grabbed every red and white TV tray they could. The prices came tumbling back down when those collectibles started appearing on the shelves of every retail store in the country. As with all collectibles, the rule isn’t absolute. While prices will chase fads for most items, the really high quality or unique pieces will always retain some of their value.
A collectible is a personal decision that something has value far greater than the cost of it and prices can shoot up when society decides to embrace that. There is no greater evidence of that than the explosion of the comic book industry. Aside from the highest value items, comic book collections are worth next to nothing these days.
Today the collector’s world has shifted from baseball cards to trading card games. Baseball cards frequently disappoint. It’s not that they have no value. As long as the sport remains popular, so too will its cards. It’s just that they have far less value than people assume. While rare or exceptional cards can still fetch a ton, most baseball cards are worthless. Baseball cards may some day be back, but for now, few of those cards are much of an investment.
These are just a few of the collectibles that have seen better days. For the true collector though, it doesn’t matter. We collect what we love because it brings back memories from the past and at Antique Allure we always say, collect what you love not what you can make a killing off of.