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Collecting is More than Just a Hobby - It's Valuable Too!

Nov 7, 2007
Buying, selling and trading collectables if a favorite hobby for millions of Americans. And the items that these Americans chose to collect can range from common collectables, such as coins, fine china figurines, and stamps, to other unique or less common collectable items.

Of course, the value associated with any type of collectable will vary greatly. Some collectables will be worth considerable sums of money: for instance, a fine art collection, while others will have a value expressed merely in sentimental value.

How much are your collectables worth?

Even though collectors always have a fair amount of sentimental value in their collections, everyone always wants to now how much their collection is worth in dollars and cents. Figuring out the value of a collection is not always easy, and is influenced by multiple factors. The most important factor is demand, just think of the craze over Beanie Babies in the late 1990s that pushed the price for relatively cheap stuffed animals through the roof, all built on an overwhelming demand and artificially restricted supply.

This can also be seen in other recent collectable crazes such as Furbies, Pokemon cards and the Tickle Me Elmo. Restricting the supply of a specific collectable is a common tactic used by manufacturers to push up the value and demand of their wares. Manufacturers will often produce limited editions to raise interest among the collecting public. Another major factor is time. As a general rule, the older the item, the more valuable it could be.

Take baseball cards, one of the most popular collectable series ever produced in the United States. The older cards can cost hundreds of thousands of dollars for dedicated collectors.

Who are these collectors?

Almost anything imaginable can be collected. For this reason, there is no specific demographic for the collector. Just think of the range of items that have been consistently collected over the past few decades: coins, stamps, comic books, commemorative plates, postcards, political memorabilia, and porcelain dolls.

And collecting is not confined to any one generation. Indeed, it seems that every generation has its own hallmark collectors item, from G.I. Joes, to Cabbage Patch Kids, to Beanie Babies.

How should I display my collectables

If you have gone to the effort of assembling a top notch collection, it seems a bit silly to stow everything away in a box in your basement! You should be proud of your collection, and want to display it in a manner that lets you enjoy your collection and helps preserve it.

A whole companion industry has developed to provide collectors with the proper products to preserve and display their collectables. For instance, larger collectables such as models or dolls can be displayed in glass and plastic cases. Trading cards, stamps and coins can be placed in glass or plastic sleeves or envelopes, which are great because they protect the item, but allow you to view and handle it.

The future of collecting

The Internet has profoundly changed the way people collect. With the rise of popular online auction sites, collectors can now locate and purchase collectables with a level of efficiency and ease that most would have never thought was possible. Online auction sites such as eBay also work to create new markets for collectables, often driving prices up for lucky sellers. Other retailers have used the Internet to create a retail presence that can be accessed from anywhere in the world, increasing their market and exposure. The short of it is that it has never been easier for a collector to find that one highly sought after piece.

How do I start a collection?

While starting a collection can be an exciting time, it can also be frustrating and disappointing; lured into the hobby with dreams of amassing a comprehensive collection, it is common to be disappointed with your meager collection at first. But try not to let that get you down. Enjoy the items you have, and start planning your strategy to get those hard to find items. After all, collectables are meant to be fun, it is a hobby, not a job; if you are not enjoying it, do not bother.

The best collections are not just the product of determination, but also a product of love. You should love the items that you are collecting. If you are just collecting for the sake of collection, hoping to make a few extra dollars on the side, you will never be able to make a true connection with your buyers, and it will just become another job for you.

If you are having trouble growing your collection, search out local experts and join hobby groups with likeminded individuals, either in your community or through online forums or blogs. Indeed, one of the best things about collecting is the relationships you will develop with other collectors.
About the Author
Steve Dolan is has been collecting and trading for many years. Find out what to collect and why Collecting and Collections . Collect Coins? - then click Coin Collecting and for stamps Stamps and Stamp Collecting
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