Collectibles Are Losing Their Appeal

Collectibles Are Losing Their Appeal

One of the saddest situations we encounter when providing estate inventory services is when the children of the deceased find that their parents’ collectibles are not worth what they anticipated. What was purchased at one time with the intent to leave their adult children with valuable items they can keep or sell, has turned out to be a loss from the initial purchase price rather than an increase in value.


One main reason for the market value dropping on these items is that younger generations do not want to polish silver, do not host formal dinner parties, and many just don’t want to have what they call “clutter” in their house.


New York-based appraiser Lisa Ramaci, explained, “The greatest of the collecting generations, which is the World War II generation, is dying, and there’s nobody stepping up to replace them in terms of buying all the stuff that they bought. The collectibles market has really shrunk.”


Many collectibles from years ago have been placed back into the market over the last few years, which is resulting in excess supply against a lessening demand. Thus, the value has significantly dropped and the result is a very low market value for these once cherished items.


Some common items that no longer hold their value from days gone by are:


China – Lenox, Royal Copenhagen, Royal Worcester,  and Wedgwood are the known manufacturers of fine china. These were quite expensive and were quite an investment. A full set will now most likely bring only up to $200 at estate sales and auctions. Haviland china, and other similar patterns, are difficult to sell, and some have found they can’t be given away.


Collectibles – Decorative plates, coins, and other collectibles manufactured by The Bradford Exchange, Franklin Mint, Danbury Mint, and Royal Copenhagen are being sold (if you can find a buyer) for pennies on the dollar. The coins and medals bring more value when sold to have them melted down for the metal. As an example, some plates used to sell for $45 each, and now sell for less than $4. This includes plates that feature the work of LeRoy Neiman and Norman Rockwell.


Figurines – At one time, Hummels sold for hundreds of dollars, and now many can be purchased on eBay for prices ranging from $5 to $25. Precious Moments also have very little value.


Longaberger baskets – Years ago many were created as “limited edition collectibles” and priced at more than $100. Longaberger is still producing baskets today. The best opportunity to sell used baskets is to find a collector. However, they typically have the regular styles, and are seeking a specific basket. Today, you are doing well if you can sell them on eBay or at a garage sale for $10 – $20 each.


Thomas Kinkade paintings and prints – Revered for his talent, these were produced in excessively huge quantities. Unfortunately, due to the number available, what once sold in the 1990s for hundreds or thousands of dollars now have very low resale values. In fact, there are a plethora of Kinkades on eBay; few sell while many receive no bid at all.


Should you stop collecting?


If you are a collector, and enjoy it, then that is the reason to invest in collectibles. However, it is difficult to know what will become a true investment, and what could possibly turn out to be a large sum of money ill-spent. It’s best not to depend on collectibles as a retirement fund or to produce a large inheritance for your children.