Antiques and Collectibles, What are They?
Just like a bride on her wedding day, our collectibles are either something old, something new, something borrowed or something blue? A bride chooses these items carefully, so they are cherished forever as part of one of the best days of her life. And so it is with our antiques and collectibles, like crystal champagne flutes or blue shoes.
An antique is any item having value because of its design or historical significance. At one time these keepsakes were at least 100 years old, but some now describe these objects as anything old. A true antique is over 100 years old. Anything “younger” is described at vintage.
A collectable is any object deemed worthy of being acquired by many. Some items appreciate in value over time, while others may be cherished due to their scarcity or even oddity. And there may be some who admire a token simply because it’s the right shade of blue.
Collectors of Every Age
As I began research into this article about antiques and collectibles , I assumed that children were the reason collections started in the first place. But after being led to A Cultural History of the Baseball Card, I realized I was wrong. According to the writer of this article, adults began collecting celebrity cards in packs of cigarettes long before little Johnny had to have the rookie card of Babe Ruth.
As a young girl, my neighbor encouraged my interest in salt and pepper shakers. I was not even a cook yet, but I fell in love with the little ceramic mimics of cats, dogs, butterflies, houses, and cartoon characters. From the age of about 10 or so, my little collection sat on my yellow chest of drawers in my butterfly-decorated bedroom. Not one of them contained any salt or pepper.
Today, I am much relieved that my interests have become a bit more sophisticated. However, I wish I’d saved just one set of my salt and pepper shakers. Simply for the memory, which leads me to the reasons why we collect.
4 Reasons Why We Collect
Why does an item gain importance to a collector in the first place? I suggest 4 reasons.
- You either want to put some fun into functional; like ceramic salt and pepper shaker,
- It is a piece of memorabilia that we want to invest in due to its value, as with baseball cards…
- It is an heirloom, handed down through an inheritance. Grandma’s china may not have survived over 100 years, but you were lucky enough to have one of her clocks of the same pattern bequeathed to you. And finally,
- It is just something you love! Like comic books or record albums.
Knowledge is King
So how do you know if your comic books are valuable? How much should you pay for a matching tea set of Grandma’s clock? The answer is research. There are websites such as Replacements, Ltd, Comic Book Price Guide and just about any other collectable you could be interested in. If there is a specialty shop in your town, go early and go often. Ask another collector a question and you might make a new lifelong friend. We all love to talk about our collections, which increases our knowledge as we learn from each other.
How to Improve Your Collection
The first thing I’m going to suggest is something you might hate. Sign up for emails. What better way to stay in the know of what’s available than to subscribe to different blogs, antique stores, gift shops and sports teams? You can always unsubscribe if you don’t find the information you need.
Shop regularly was also mentioned under Knowledge is King because it is doubly important. Not only does going often educate you, it also gives you the best shot of getting something as soon as it comes in.
Finally, make friends with shop owners as well as other collectors. If they know you are a serious collector, dealers will keep you posted about their inventory.
Your Path to Success as a Collector
According to how serious a collector you are, travel may be involved. Another reason to collect frequent flyer miles, if you ask me! Attend auctions, estate sales and even yard sales. If it is something that is just now coming into vogue, shop after Christmas sales, going out of business sales and log in often to Ebay and Etsy.
Most importantly, do not pass any antique malls! Shopping online may be easy, but someone has already juried a collection for you in an antique shop. You can hold the memorabilia in your hands and check for defects in person. Local businesses will learn to love you because you help keep them alive in their little corner of the world. It is a Win/Win. While you are there browsing for your favorite antiques and collectibles, you just might find the perfect shadow box, bookcase or locker for storing your new find.
What do you collect? Anything blue, by chance?
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