Think that something you have had since you were a teen-ager can't be worth much?
Think again! Even if you are only now in your twenties...it won't be long until that dress, purse, tie, jewelry, perfume bottle or sport memorabilia will be sought after. It never ceases to amaze me just what can become the hottest collectible at any given moment...and it never ceases to bring me joy to find that I have it! Right now, I am enjoying watching my daughter get excited over a 'find' that I used to wear or use (and which I had hoped that I would never see again)! The styles and designs that are being lauded as the 'latest thing' all look very similar to the things that my parents abhored and would not allow me to wear - no matter how much I pleaded. They aren't new to anyone over 40 years of age. My mother had sweaters that I begged off of her in the 1970s - because they were from the 1950s and were cool once again. While others were sporting copies - I was wearing 'the real thing'.
What do you have that is now on the 'Hot List" of "Cool Stuff"?
Well...it just might surprise you. So many times, as I walk through a flea market or antique shop, I over-hear other shoppers saying, "Oh, I used to have one of those"... followed by the sound of disbelief when they look at the price tag ... followed by the words, "I should have kept it!" While it may be difficult to imagine that the toy or book or dish we use today could be worth ten times more than it's original purchase price in the future, it does happen - and here are just a few tips on recognizing a potential treasure:
The Maker, Author, Celebrity, etc. - Knowing a bit about who made the item - and when - is always important. Knowing what a person has accomplished and how they stand out in their field is also key. You will probablly want to take care of anything directly linked to someone who is a celebrity due to setting a record - or making a box office smash - especially if they did it despite exceptional odds or if they were able to do it repeatedly...not necessarily while being the most popular or socially accepted among their peers or fans. Of course, we have seen this to be the case, as well, when someone who has had no time to really make much of a history for themselves - become an unforgettable part of history through their untimely death. While unforeseen events often trigger the sudden rise of an items' particular value...timing can be everything when it comes to the collectible market. You've got to"know when to hold 'em and know when to fold 'em".
Dates, Signatures and Marks - Know what your item should say (or not say) and what identifies it as the 'real McCoy' - McCoy pottery pieces have many different identifying marks which were used since the company first began...some are very similar in the way they look and some very different. What was made, when it was made and where, being some of the determining factors for which mark was used. Lack of that knowledge has caused more than one disappointment to be sure. Having a treasure right under your nose and letting it go for a quarter or fifty cents when it is worth five dollars or more can leave you with a sick feeling. Tossing away something your Grandfather gave you, because you find it unattractive - only to find that it is irreplaceable is...(well, maybe we shouldn't open up a wound that deep). Keeping something in the best condition possible, is only part of what it takes for an item to be considered valuable. In fact, some things are not required to be in pristene condition...but instead, are expected to have certain wear asssociated with them...however, all items with moving parts, for instance, should have all of their parts and the parts should be working for most to be considered of any worth. We all know to look for signatures, of course, but being sure that a signature is not forged is not always easy - in fact, it is one of the most common mistakes made by enthusiastic collectors. If you are putting out any amount of real cash - get an expert's opinion before committing.
With All Of This In Mind..What Do You Have?
If you are like most of us, you have things from your past...and somewhere in the future, some of those things are bound to become worth some money. When and just how much...is anybody's guess. Some items are a little more predictable than others, though. The more rare, because of how it was made, or how long the artist created, or the effect of the author's writings on society, or even because of who owned it, are all to be considered. What you don't know can hurt you, financially speaking, and yet the average person can easily be the owner of any number of items that will be valuable tomorrow. If you want to test something out - ask your pre-teen what they think...if they say it's cool hold onto it for a few more years - it's almost certain to be in demand as retro, if nothing else! If you are holding onto something that you believe to be valuable now - don't let someone sell you short...if you don't know enough about the item find someone you can trust to educate you on the item...or educate yourself at your local library - or online. The Internet is a wealth of information at your fingertips.
Everything old truly becomes 'new' again in a new generation's eyes and while chances are you will not get rich off of your past - handing it over to someone for a fair price based on it's true worth - can be a very rewarding way of preserving it!
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