As with everything of value, collectibles and the hobby markets were dealt a blow during the
global financial crisis of 2008. Consumers became leery of spending money on anything whose
value was dependent on its price rising in the future.
Also, the age of the average collector increased significantly. The hectic world of young
married people reduced the number of those wanting to collect train and car models, sports
cards, and comics. They did not have the time for hobbies or collecting. It’s the middle-aged
and retired collector who is still avidly collecting models, baseball cards, football cards
and model trains with a vision for making money in the near future.
Collecting Model Trains
The value of a model train is determined primarily by condition and rarity. The Lady Lionel set
from the late '50s, for instance, now have an incredible value. With its pink engine, white and
gold transformer and cars in a rainbow of pastels, it represented a distinct departure from
the main line. Not surprisingly, it derailed.
Items selling for top dollar must be in their original boxes. At the upper end of the Lionel
scale is an engine and four passenger cars that can fetch well over $50,000.
Collecting Sports Cards
It's no secret why new sports cards will never be as lucrative as old ones. And no, we're not
talking about Baby Boomers grasping for their childhood, trying to relive baseball's glory days
of the '50s. This issue cuts to the most basic law of business - supply and demand. For
instance, Frank Thomas, by the time he's done playing, will have 1,500 different cards.
DiMaggio had 39.
It's not just the sheer numbers of new cards. It's also the interest level of the consumer. No
longer are city blocks filled with the snap, crackle, pop of cards running through spokes.
People today buy cards and the first thing they do is go to the price guide and see what
they're worth. Then they slip them into plastic. There's no bubble gum in cards any more. Why?
Because it might damage the cards.
Collector’s items need to be in pristine condition to valuable.
As long as there are things out there worth collecting people will collect them. One of the
wonderful aspects of collecting is the hunt. Finding rare stuff is fun. Waiting with the hope
that it will become valuable is even more fun.
Collecting Comic Books
Not every old comic book is valuable. Value depends on condition of the comic, the publisher,
the demand by collectors, the subject matter or characters and, in some cases, the artist who
drew the characters.
Knowing which comic book characters and artists are commanding the best prices
The potential comic book investor may want to consult other dealers regularly and keep up
with the latest price changes through price guides and comic book conventions. For those who
buy the right comics, the investment can pay off substantially.
Investors should not only study what's in demand but also have the kind of knowledge of the
industry and readers' tastes to anticipate which recently published comic books will be
valuable in the future. Like anything else, you can make a bad investment.
Comic book dealers say the most important consideration in making an investment is the
condition of the book. In fact, investors usually make condition their first consideration.
For instance, a comic book in perfect condition -- its pages still white and not brittle -- that
would be sold for $600 would drop in value to $100 if only in good condition, with some
wrinkles and folds. That same comic book might be worth only the cover price of a dime or a
quarter if pages are missing or the book is water-damaged.
Although most comic books in demand from collectors are in the $50 to $100 range, there are
some comics that have reached prices once reserved for works of art or rare 19th century
Superman is one of the most widely collected comic book characters, and a perfect condition
No. 1 Superman, published in 1939, recently sold for well over $25,000 -- a comic book record.
It traded hands several times in the past three years, rising in value from $5,000 to $10,000
and finally over $25,000. This is because only a few hundred copies of it exist.
Why do comic books capture the imagination of collectors? Because the comic book is an
American creation. So many people grew up on them. There's a sense of nostalgia.
At the NASCAR show, dealers offer replicas of famous drivers' cars, from tiny 1/64th-scale
cars up to 1/18th-scale vehicles meticulously re-created in the most minute detail, right down
to sponsor stickers on the cars' sides.
Wednesday and Thursday nights, the wildly popular Beanie Babies take center stage as Beanie
fanatics search for "retired" babies to complete their hoards of the soft creatures.
Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays, sports card and memorabilia vendors hold court. The only
exception to the schedule is a vendor who is at the mall all six days exhibiting Hot Wheels
When early collectors first started, all the car models could offer dealers was the hope that
they would interest others to collect models.
Soon there were permanent dealers who bought and sold model cars and now it is big business.
|COLLECTING MODEL TRAINS, COMIC
BOOKS, SPORTS CARDS AND MODEL CARS