Mature Life Features

Cecil Scaglione, Editor

Closet Collectors Cram Closets

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By Cecil Scaglione, Mature Life Features

     So you’ve completed a couple or more sets of 50-state quarters you began putting together for your grandkids, and decided to keep one or two packages for yourself. 

     What are you going to do with your collections? Will they sell for the profit you had in your head when you began? If you spend each set, you can buy $12.50 worth of something. You probably would have been better off buying each grandchild a $10 savings bond.

     Collectibles just don’t cut it a lot of the time if profit is the motive. Pasting $1 bills into a book is a lousy idea. Inflation deflates their value over time.

     A recently deceased relative left behind cartons of comic books and baseball cards. His heirs haven’t found it worth their while to catalog the collection and have it appraised.

   During a neighbor’s family visits back to northern Canada, resolves were made to rent a vehicle to transport antiques and collectibles back home to California to be sold to provide for a comfortable retirement. After getting over the wishing, a cold calculating look at the costs involved usually trumped the emotional ardor and gave way to common business sense.

     The point is that collectibles are not only in the eye of the beholder, they’re also in the heart of the collector. They usually offer more thrill in the hunt and satisfaction in the acquisition than profit in the purse. They provide the collector with a circle of like-minded colleagues to discuss likes and dislikes, as well as the opportunity to brag about the latest addition to one’s collection. But you can conduct the same spirited exchanges over your favorite book, movie or sports teams without having to spend time and money tracking down another piece of cloisonné for your collectible closet.

     If you enjoy the hunt and your chest swells with pride when you add to your hoard, you contain the core of a collector. And there are always new “hot” items to boost you up the ladder of collecting society.

    For example, it seems that almost anything from an old gas station – those roadside oases that began sprouting about a century ago – has become popular despite environmental  activists’ aversions to gasoline-gulping sports utility vehicles. As items such as the solid glass gasoline-pump globes become more scarce, their prices rise. So does the number of reproductions that appear at flea markets and in collector catalogs.

     As electronic slot machines become the norm in the ever-expanding coast-to-coast casino industry, the old one-armed bandits with those old-fashioned mechanical spinning reels have taken on new value because some collectors began coveting them. Jukeboxes have been a favorite among collectors for several decades now, especially since compact disks have all but eliminated the old black plastic records.

    The best way to find out if what you’re collecting, whether it’s little red wagons or ceramic salt and pepper shakers, can make you any money is to check catalogs, flea markets, and Internet sites for that particular item. If you already have a collection built up, you should have some idea of what the items are worth and how prices have risen since you began collecting.

You can test the waters by pricing similar items at swap meets or trying to  buy one on the Internet.

Mature Life Features, Copyright 2003

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Written by Cecil Scaglione

February 24, 2012 at 12:05 am

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