Posts Tagged ‘antiques’

Don’t Blame Mom That You’re Not A Millionaire

October 13, 2011

A recent story in USA Today dealt with how people are turning to collectibles and antiques as investment vehicles. Since the stock market tanked in 2008 and has yet to fully recover, many people taking their money and buying old comic books, movie posters and similar items in the hope that they will get a better ROI* than their 401K**.

Of course, what sets a collectible apart is that it is an actual thing that people can hold in their hand or hang on their wall and admire. After all, when was the last time you looked at your quarterly statements and thought “What a thing of beauty all those numbers are.” Yet, the trouble with articles like the one in USA Today is that it encourages people to go out and buy lots of stuff in the hopes it will be “worth lots of money someday.” Yes, there are items for sale at thrift stores, flea markets and on eBay that are being sold for a faction of their true value. Conversely, there are items that are only worth what someone paid for them in 1998 and it’s not even close enough to make a person quit his or her job and live a life of ease. With all this stuff floating around, how can a person tell what’s valuable and what’s not.

Educating yourself before buying anything helps. No one wants to learn the hard way that the original that they paid $$$$ for is a fake worth $. Read books. Go online and find out the going price for the item in question. is a website where a person can learn how much an item sells for on eBay. If the item a person wants to buy is more expensive than a Beanie Baby or Power Ranger action figure, it helps to buy from an established auction house. The appraisers at the auction house did their due diligence, so a person can rest easy knowing that the item he or she wants to buy is the real thing.

It also helps to realize that if something is too good to be true, it probably is. The Internet makes it very easy for fly by night types to fly by and take your money. So, it is a good idea for a person not to suspend his or her skepticism just because a good deal comes along. Of course, despite what experts will say, my advice remains to purchase a movie poster or other item of pop culture for enjoyment purposes, not for investment purposes. In addition to all the fakes being sold as the real thing, there’s the problem of no one knowing which item from 2011 will be worth lots of money and which item won’t be worth much.

As for all the comic books your Mom threw out that turned out to be worth lots of money, don’t get mad at her. If you had taken better care of them and not left them lying around on the floor in your room, she would not have thrown them out. In time, you could have sold them for a pretty penny (and dollar too) and ended up living a life of ease. Okay not really, I was just exaggerating. Still, if you take care of your comic books or other doo-dads, you will get more enjoyment out of them and that’s something even a recession can’t take away.

Note: The mention of was done for informational purposes. It was not an endorsement of the service.

*ROI—Return on investment. For example if you buy a stock at $10 a share and you later sell it for $15 a share, your ROI was $5 a share.

**401K—This is a defined contribution plan set up by companies in the U.S. in place of a pension where an employee can have a portion of his or her pay set aside for retirement before taxes are taken out. Sometimes companies can match the employee’s contribution dollar for dollar. What makes the 401K attractive is that if an employee goes to another company, he or she can bring the 401K to the new company and he or she loses nothing. Pensions don’t have that portability. (/


Hunter, Lisa. “Author Q & A Internet has Broadened the Art and Collectibles Market for the Better” Heritage Magazine, Spring 2008, pg 68-69


How To Spot A Fake

July 29, 2010

Since there is a huge demand for collectibles, works of art and designer goods, there is a shadow industry of counterfeiters that wants to meet this demand.  Not only are these people taking money from legitimate businesses by selling fake items, also the consumer is being cheated by having to pay their hard earned money for an inferior product. If that wasn’t bad enough, in many cases, the sale of counterfeit products helps to fund organized crime and terrorist organizations. So, selling counterfeit goods isn’t a victimless crime.

Still, how can a consumer protect him or herself? Here are some tips to remember when it comes to purchasing collectibles, works of art and designer goods.

  1. If possible, examine the item in question. Many times it is the little things that will show that an item is a fake. Logos that don’t look right, colors that aren’t crisp, details that aren’t rendered correctly and images that are blurry are signs that an item is counterfeit.
  2. Educate yourself. Read books and articles about the item you want to collect. Contact dealers and ask questions. The more you learn about how an item is and isn’t suppose to look, the less likely you are going to be fooled.
  3. If you are buying something online, read the description more than once to make sure you understand what is being sold and read the feedback comments. The comments should be a mix of sales and purchases and from different people.
  4. Related to number 3, if things don’t seem right, ask the seller for clarification. If the seller doesn’t answer your questions to your liking or doesn’t answer your question at all, don’t deal with that person.
  5. Use some common sense and realize that if something is too good to be true, it probably is. A real Rolex watch or Louis Vuitton bag would not be sold on a street corner or flea market. These companies invest a lot pride and money in their products and they would never allow their products to be sold at a place, like a street corner or flea market.

Yes, people will continue to make counterfeit goods, because there is a market for collectibles, antiques and jewelry. Still, when a person knows what to be on the lookout for, that person will be less like to buy a counterfeit good and have more money in his or her pocket for the real thing.


Your Stuff Has Issues—Condition Issues Part One

June 19, 2010

Lots of people like acquiring collectibles and antiques, as evidenced by the popularity of the Antiques Roadshow on PBS. Yet, when you own something that is older than you, how do you take care of it?  After all, you wouldn’t put a piece of Limoges porcelain from the 1890’s in the dishwasher or use adhesive tape to repair a tear on a U.S. political poster from the early 1900’s. How do you preserve items like these?

Well there are some things you can do to make sure your collectibles last.

Paper Collectibles
1) Obviously, keep the item out of direct sunlight and away from damp, humid places.
2) Don’t use cardboard or adhesive tape with paper collectibles. Over time they will both damage the item.
3) Keep the item in either a protective sleeve, an acid free storage box or frame it.
4) When framing the item, make sure that the frame and backing materials are of conversation quality (i.e. acid free backing and UV protective glass.)
5) Many rodents and insects are attracted to the materials in paper. So, be on the lookout for rodent and insect damage.
6) Keep food and drinks away from the item. Spills and stains can damage an item beyond repair.
7) If the item is 50 years old or older, take it to a paper conservator. To find a paper conservator in the U.S. go to The Foundation of the American Institute for Conservation (FAIC) website

1) Obviously, don’t put it in the dishwasher. The hot water and harsh chemicals will damage the piece.
2) Keep out of direct sunlight.
3) Use a soft 2-inch paintbrush to remove dust from the piece.
4) If the item in question is a completely glazed piece, it can be put in soapy water for a few moments. Wipe the item clean with a soft cloth, rinse it in clear water and let it air dry on a stack of newspapers or in a dish rack.
5) Do not soak cold painted or unglazed pieces in soap and water. Instead clean such items with a damp cloth.
6) Don’t wash items like Hummels, Snowbabies or Village pieces.

These tips should help to insure that your paper and porcelain/pottery items will give you many years of enjoyment. Next week there will be more tips on how to protect your collectibles.