About Collecting

aI wonder how many times
have you heard someone say:

I wish I’d known how valuable
those would become,
I would have saved them
! ”

People of my generation are always saying that..
about baseball cards, toys,
and the other ephemera of childhood
that our Moms just threw out as we outgrew them.

she had no idea, either…

( Dammit , Mom….
I coulda been a gazillionaire . )

….and besides,
where would she have stored ’em, anyhow?

( That’s Mom’s argument, anyway. )aw

After all, it’s all well and good
to say something old is
worth money today,
but who knew ???

A lot of old stuff
isn’t worth anything at all….
one man’s trash —
— often really is —
just one man’s trash.

What value it has,
is a value which we ourselves give it,
or what others are willing to pay to acquire it.

Nothing more.

Still, when I see a baseball card
like I had when I was a kid,
go for thousands of dollars,
it makes me go hmmmmmmmmmmmmm.

bIf you had the Topps Baseball card set
that included the card here, for instance,

….. you might be able to sell it for about $20,000 today.

Of course, like ANY collectible,
CONDITION is every thing.

And if you were like me as a kid,
you were kinda rough on stuff.

In which case, you might get a
coupla bucks from somebody
who just liked Mickey Mantle.

Sometimes it’s rarity that determines a collectible.

For instance, that Mickey Mantle card
would be more valuable if the word ‘Mantle’
was printed in white, instead of yellow.

Less of them were printed that way.

Does it make an obvious difference AT THE TIME ?

Did I as a kid care if the name was yellow or white?

No, very often, those kinds of differences
only become obvious over time,
and are a matter of importance only to collectors —
— collectors who probably didn’t even
own the collectible when it was new.

Of course, sometimes an item’s collectibility
becomes obvious immediately.

Check out this stamp. c

What you’re looking at is
a very rare 1918 U.S. 24 cent Airmail Stamp.

It features a World War I era biplane —
a Curtiss JN-4 “Jenny”-

……… but the plane is erroneously printed upside down .

In producing the stamp, the Postal Service printers had to run the sheets of stamps through the printing press twice ( one for each color ), and several were inadvertently passed through upside down.

Of the four sheets that were believed to have been printed,
only one sheet of 100 actually made it to Post Offices…
the others were destroyed immediately.

Once the Postal Service learned that
one of their sheets had been issued,
they did their best to get them back,
but many of the 100 escaped….
— it is not known just how many.

Imagine being one of those lucky postal customers
— buying a 24 cent stamp that would now be worth
somewhere close to a million dollars !

Of course, you’d have to be a very patient person
to hold on to it for ninety something years, I guess.

Many of us remember when the first ‘Star Wars’ movie came out…

Toys, games, and memorabilia were everywhere —
— and could be had for a song.

And I guess we ALL know
where the prices on that stuff has gone…
………. into deep, deep outer space.

I thought that stuff woulda been forgotten
a week after the movie was released.

Shows ya what I know.


Do you remember that “The Munsters” lunch box
you used to carry to school in the 3rd grade?

Sorry to tell ya this, buddy…

But if you had kept that thing…
— and didn’t bash it repeatedly into the back of little Cindy’s seat on the bus to get her to pay you a little attention ( fat lotta good it did ya ) it’d be worth about a thousand bucks today.


( come to think of it, she used to say that
you bore a striking resemblance to that Eddie Munster kid, anyway )

Now, of course, there are a lot of different kinda collectibles —
— and some have nothing to do with ‘pop’ culture.

But whether your preferred collectible is pogs or posters,
records or coins, toys or machines…
made of paper, metal, glass or plastic ….

The eventual collectibility of it is going to be
governed by supply and demand–
more demand, and less supply–
makes an instant collectible.

And it’s a fact that experience sometimes
can tip you off to the ‘next big thing’.

It’s a lot like the man said… “Knowledge is Power”,
………. especially in the world of collectibles.

So, if you’re gonna collect something,
it’s very helpful to know about it.

Here is an example of a 1959 Ponytail Barbie doll….  e

Well, ok..
—- you caught me.

It looks like a 1959 Ponytail Barbie doll….

….. actually, it’s a 1994 Mattel reproduction
of the original Barbie.

So, how do you tell the difference?

In this case, there are several differences —

For instance,
the 1959 had “Japan” on the right foot,
the 1994 “Malaysia” on its back.

the 1959 had a strapless swim suit, the 1994 had clear straps.

… and interestingly enough, the 1994 had ” Mattel Inc, 1958 ” on the neck.

How you get to the point, that you would
recognize the difference between a $40 doll and a $4000 doll,
is what you call ‘knowing your collectible’.

That’s why it’s helpful to take a narrow approach to collecting something at first…

…. and then, as you get more experience and knowledge you can branch out.

fWhen I first started collecting cookie jars,

……. I collected only American Bisque, like this one.

I loved the look of the American Bisque jars,
and still do.

So, I read up on the pottery,
and it’s products,
and how they’re identified.

I bought books
on collecting American Bisque,
which gave me values and marks..

…. that way, when I saw a jar I thought I wanted,
I knew what I should pay for it.

And although I branched out
eventually into jars from other American potteries,
these are still my favorite.bisqu

Another interesting thing to note….
This example has aspects that would
make it appealing to several different types of collectors…

People who like clowns,
People who collect ‘flashers’
( the eyes change depending on how you look at it )
People who like cookie jars,
People who like American Bisque pottery.. etc, etc.

This is something you can use as a
consideration when trying to
estimate an item’s future collectibility:

The more people interested in your item,

………. the more collectible
it will potentially be –
and the more it’ll be worth.

But the absolutely most gimportant thing that can be remembered from this example is this:


If you’re interested in something,
you will be more likely to want to learn more about it,
you will be more likely to search harder and go farther for it,
and you’ll be a much better collector overall.

Best of all,
………………….. your collection will show it.

Happy Collecting !


11 thoughts on “About Collecting

  1. Brett says:

    I’ve collected a lot of things as a kid and ever since and I think the best thing about that is that I’ve learned a lot about many subjects as a result. Amazes me still to find out how widespread are the many subcultures around collecting. Seems someone somewhere is into collecting just about anything you can imagine. Fascinating!

  2. Cool collections and good info!
    I have a few collections myself.
    HUGS!!! 🙂

  3. mislucja says:

    I have a couple of pieces of butt-ugly McCoy pottery … who knew that stuff was worth something? Grandma had a ton and we all hated it! lol

    Wish I had Mom’s “Introducing the Beatles” album. (Not the one with the four disembodied heads, the one with the guys in suits and red checked shirts.) That was in great condition …. brother swiped it, dangit!

    Fun post!

  4. julespaige says:

    I sometimes watch the Antiques Road Show – Not everything goes up in value. It just depends on who will pay for what. Some stuff goes down. But when you are talking in the ranges of 10,000 what’s a couple of thousand? 🙂

    I have some old beer trays that on line – the ones I could find anyway only go for about $40. But they were/are family items. So I guess that makes ’em priceless until someone down the line needs cash 😉

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