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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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