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Collecting is fun, but it is not always a good investment. We have always said to buy what you like or want to use, not to make money. Whether your antiques and collectibles appreciate in value or not is often a matter of luck or changing tastes. Here are 7 collectibles once bought as good investments that are worth much less today.


1. Hummel figurines once sold for hundreds of dollars apiece. But the generation that collected them after World War II is downsizing and young collectors have no interest in them. A few are listed on eBay for $1. Some rare Hummels, those more than 12 inches tall or made before 1949, still sell in the hundreds, but most have little value. Same with other “collectible” figurines like Precious Moments or even Royal Doulton.


2. Limited editions sold by the Franklin Mint, Bradford Exchange and many others. “Limited edition” coins, plates, medals and other collectibles still have a very little to no resale market. Franklin Mint coins and medals can get their meltdown value but it’s a fraction of the original sale price. Same with items from the Danbury Mint. Royal Copenhagen and Bing & Grondahl Christmas plates are still wanted but are not as expensive as at the height of their popularity.


3. Longaberger baskets. Handcrafted baskets made by the Longaberger Company of Newark, Ohio, became a hot collectible in the 1990s, with some selling for more than $100. Today most sell for less than $20, even the once-expensive limited-edition baskets. Their famous basket-shaped building sold last year, and the company closed earlier this year.


4. Limited-edition Barbie dolls. Mattel issued many different limited-edition Barbies over the years and they are still declining in value, worth less than the price paid when new. But early Barbies from 1959 through the 1960s in mint condition are still going up.



5. Thomas Kinkade paintings and prints have very limited resale value. They were produced in huge quantities and buyers who paid retail prices for “paintings” at a Thomas Kinkade Signature Gallery (there were more than 300 in the 1990s) will have trouble selling them. Many paintings were not original oils by Kincade but prints with some oil paint added. Since his death in 2012, framed Kinkade prints are listed online for as little as $13. Most receive no bids.

6. Vintage lithographed metal lunch boxes were a popular collectible in the late 1980s, and by the 1990s, some were selling for thousands of dollars. Today, few lunch boxes sell for more than $100 in mint condition and most bring much less. Lunch boxes that are cross-over collectibles (Superman, Beatles or Star Trek) sell for more to those collectors.


7. Cookie jars became a hot collecting category after Andy Warhol’s cookie jar collection was auctioned for steep prices following his death in 1987. Collectors paid hundreds, even thousands for cookie jars that were limited editions and not even that old. But today, cookie jars once thought of as collectible sell for less than $50 at flea markets or online shops to actually hold cookies. Very few sell for more.

Other things that have failed to hold value are Beanie Babies, Cabbage Patch Kids, Avon bottles, Beam bottles (except for athletic-related bottles) and trading cards.




#14 Collecting the unwanted.LifesIrony 2018-08-29 16:36
My mother is a collector of antiques & has taught me
To love antiques as well. However I have a different style than she. But in watching her lament over what to keep & sell from her parents’ estate & seeing what people don’t want from their own families estates, as I do estate sale clean outs, I notice that people get inundated with whatever their family collected & then seem to loathe it. Especially those who collected a multitude of things. Don’t feel obligated but don’t just walk away from a relatives’ entire collection of loved items. Know that they loved them & that is where the value is. Keep a few that appeal To You, to remember them by, to inspire your children to ask about them. It’s about the person who loved those items, that you loved, not so much that the items aren’t worth much. . And definitely don’t “invest” in stuff hoping it will be more valuable unless you have money to burn. Stuff is just stuff. Invest in people.
#13 Beanie babies?Bohemian69 2018-08-23 02:35
Beanie babies?
#12 RE: What NOT to Collect – An UpdateCaptKW 2018-08-16 23:09
My grandmother collected so much stuff and lucky for me, she bequeathed most of it in her will. I have a fair collection of depression glass... it's going to take me forever to figure out its value. Your list of collectibles not to collect is very helpful! Thank you!
#11 Pewtereillib 2018-08-16 16:18
You can add Pewter to the list. My spouse collected Pewter by Ricker. Ebay prices are in the basement - costs too much to ship the stuff.
#10 What not to collect ...ChristyLove 2018-08-16 11:02
I often shop at thrift shops for treasures. It is quite enlightening. I do find Boyds Bears, Limited Edition plates, Thomas Kinkade prints, old well-worn Barbie dolls, Ty Beanie Babies, Precious Moments figurines, cookie jars, china, silver plate flatware, and baskets. I collect what I like and find beautiful. I'm now 70 and find it's difficult to downsize. What should I hold onto and what should I donate? My daughter shows little interest in much of my things. I've collected books for years and may donate them to our public library.
#9 RE: What NOT to Collect – An Updatewanderingcreek 2018-08-16 10:27
"Name" costume jewelry is another collectible that has lost value. In the late 1980s and 1990s people were paying hundreds and sometimes thousands of dollars for jewelry made of rhinestones and pot metal (or occasionally sterling silver) because it had the "right" signature.

These pieces now sell online for $50 or less, if at all.

I am a dealer and tell customers that if you like it and can afford the price, pay whatever you like, but don't EVER expect to buy art or collectibles as an investment. Should you sell something at a profit, consider it a lovely surprise.
#8 RE: What NOT to Collect – An Updatevald 2018-08-16 10:27
This is very helpful information. My mother in law collected everything, so I spend so much time researching that sometimes I want to just throw them out!!
#7 Collect what you likelee77 2018-08-16 10:04
A good reminder to first and foremost, collect what you enjoy. I have some items on this list eg Hummels, Bradford plates) that I bought because I wanted the items, not because I thought they were an investment. And when my heirs donate them to a charity thrift shop, they will serve some good in the end.
#6 RE: What NOT to Collect - An Updatedougandrosy 2018-08-16 09:51
Do you feel that some of these collectibles will come back around to being collectible once again? Case-in-point, Longaberger Baskets no longer being produced causing a more limited supply.
#5 RE: What NOT to Collect – An Updatenancehome 2018-08-15 19:54
I'm assuming that TY Beanie Babies and Boyd's Bears are in the same category of once popular collectibles?

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