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“Investing in antiques” in the last 30 years has included free and very low-priced things. Only a few are serious collectibles today. Most ended up unwanted and almost worthless. Be careful when joining the craze for a new collectible series. Check this list. How many did you save for a while? How many went up in price and are still popular collectibles? How many lost all value? The dates are the years the collectible first became popular, sending prices up, and then the end of the fad. Many are still being made. We remember:

  • Metal lunch boxes (1950s-1980s)
  • Beanie Babies (1993-1999)
  • Lady-head planters (1950s-1970s)
  • Cookie jars (mid-1950s-1990, with highest prices at 1987 sale of Andy Warhol cookie jars)
  • Limited editions like Franklin Mint’s silver bars (1964-2003) or annual plates (1970 to 1990s)
  • Royal Doulton character jugs (1934-2011) and figurines (1890s-2008)
  • Hummel figurines (1945-2012)
  • Modern baseball advertising cards (1960s-2010)
  • Matchbooks (1950s-1990s)
  • Comic books (1950s-2017)
  • Hot Wheels (1968-2017)
  • McDonald’s Happy Meal toys (1979-1990s)
  • Precious Moments (1978- 2008)
  • Hummel (1942-2008)
  • Bing & Grøndahl Christmas plates (1895-2017)
  • Royal Copenhagen Christmas plates (1908-2017)
  • Trolls (1959-2000 – started going up again in 2010)
  • Longaberger baskets (1998-2005)
  • Chia Pets (1977-Chia Pets are still being sold/purchased)
  • Garbage Pail Kids (produced from 1985-1987 and then reissued by Topps in the 2000s)
  • Tamagotchi (1990-2000, the pet you had to feed, etc.)
  • Pet Rocks (1975)

Today just about everything listed here is almost impossible to sell. Is there a way to know what is only a fad? We just went to a charity auction and there were collector plates for $1. Most fads die in a few years, and, like the collector plates, are almost impossible to sell. A few, like Hot Wheels, have gone down in price but later gone up as new collectors search for early examples.

There was a recent article about a very rare white Valentino Beanie Baby worth $25,000. But it has to have a heart-shaped tag with two misspelled words, a 1993 “tush” tag, be stuffed with PVC pellets and be in mint condition. We’ve seen ads offering to sell the bear for $25,000 but we haven’t been able to find anyone who bought the bear for anywhere near that price.

*This article originally appeared in the June 2017 issue of Kovels on Antiques & Collectibles Newsletter, Vol. 43 No. 10.

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#10 rock ford republicoscarbueno17 2017-06-26 16:23
#9 Tweetytroubletweetytrouble 2017-06-14 22:07
Has anyone ever heard of a Hummel FurnitureCo.?
#8 RE: Are Free and Almost-Free Collectibles Worth Saving?LaineyH13 2017-06-09 21:59
I didn't see any mention of Hallmark Series Collections. I have a complete set of Rocking Horses still in boxes, including special editions. I also have all of the Sky's the Limit series to date, all boxed. What has happened to these value Since?
#7 still sellableerbut 2017-06-09 00:10
Of the list - I still find selling Royal Doulton jugs and figures still an easy sell. Metal lunch boxes still sell well - especially superhero or tv show related boxes. Believe Tamagotchi toys were mentioned - those are getting harder and harder to find - especially in unopened packages. Tamagotchi, digipet, nano pets, littlest pet shop digital pets, etc - all sell well. I sold an unopened digipet for about $150 not so long ago...still very much sought after.
#6 art glassfinerthings 2017-06-08 15:21
why has some art glass gone down so much and which ones are they?
#5 HUMMELSMMitch121 2017-06-08 14:26
I have the same question about HUMMELS and plates. Most of mine did not cost the going price, so the decrease is not so awful. I want to unload them, too.
#4 Not all truemonkeygus 2017-06-08 01:27
Several items on your list are still very sellable. Comic books, especially Wonder Woman (thanks to the new movie) are still very hot. Anything from 1950s to the 1980s. Tamagochis in the original package will go for $50 fairly easily. Same for the original Furbys. Hot Wheels (redlines) are still hot, depending on the condition. Even ones in "played-with" condition will sell for $25.
#3 RE: Are Free and Almost-Free Collectibles Worth Saving?mikemtn 2017-06-07 23:45
I've got a bunch of Clark's Gnomes. I bought part of them over the years at retail and some of them in a box lot at an auction recently.
#2 Lady head vaseslanemaeve 2017-06-07 23:19
Hey, lady head vases (orignal, not the repros) are still popular. The molding and painting are so well done, we should appreciate them as works of art! I have several because I think the lady outfits, gloves, hats, are hysterical, and I especially like the facial expressions. These ladies would NEVER let butter melt int their mouths!~
#1 HUMMELSJoanneZB 2017-06-07 22:36
What can we do with a large collection of Hummel Plates & Figurines?

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