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9 Top Collectibles to Make Money

Updated: Mar 20

There are so many reasons we collect things. For some people, it is merely a habit. For others, it is the start of a lifelong pleasure of learning about a certain object. Whatever the reason for starting a collection, it can add value to our lives both emotionally and financially.

Collecting has been going on as far back as the 3rd millennium BCE. Books, crystals, horses, or fine wines – each represent a collectible that has specific value to the collector, be it financial, psychological, or emotional. But if you are long on feelings and short on cash, you may want to shop collectibles that are worth keeping because they are more likely to bring a nice return on investment.

What are Collectibles?

A collectible can be any object that holds great interest to a collector. It doesn’t necessarily have a monetary value, but the collector will spend hard-earned money to attain as many as possible. People interested in collecting items of value look for specific attributes to consider the item a collectible.

Attributes of a Collectible

  • Original

  • Expensive

  • Rare and uncommon

  • Antique (100+ years old)

For a collectible item to bring top value for a return on investment, it must be in good or excellent condition. Even an unusual item in poor shape will not bring a good price when you are looking to resell it. If you don’t have a specific interest when you shop collectibles and are open to collecting items simply for profit, consider the following top nine collectibles for making money.

Top 9 Collectibles that are Worth Some Cash

1. Coins

2. Happy Meal toys

3. Stamps

4. Comic books

5. Legos

6. Board games

7. Action figures

8. Porcelain figurines

9. Books

1. Collectible coins take up minimal space for maximum value.

Collectible coins

Outdated and rare coins are in strong demand when the collectibles are sold for profit. Coins connected to timelines bring top dollar, including the Brasher Doubloon, the first gold coin created in the United States. Coin collectibles don’t take up much space and are an excellent hobby for kids. Numismatics teaches about historical impacts on coin supplies and minting processes and provides an education in financial responsibility while providing a valuable reason to shop collectibles.

Most Sought-After Coins

  1. 1921 Peace Dollar

  2. 1916 Mercury Dime

  3. Lincoln Cents

2. If only we knew the Happy Meal toys of our youth would be collectibles.

Sesame Street Ernie Happy Meal toy

While these toys were readily available and not very valuable when they were sold by the fast-food chain, the price of these toys has jumped. When you are ready to shop collectibles, that means a return on investment. If you kept some of these toys but have an incomplete collection, consider selling your older toys in the original packaging for top dollar - what came free with your cheeseburger now commands prices up to $450.

Top Happy Meal Toys

  1. Jerry the Minion (2013)

  2. TY’s Teenie Beanie Boos

3. Stamp collecting has been around since the 1840s.

Whether you inherited a stamp collection or shop collectible stores looking for particular stamps, you are participating in one of the most accessible collectible hobbies of all time. People love collecting stamps because the return on investment can be very good, with stamps valued anywhere between $10 and $1 million. Small in space and big on returns, people enjoy creating a stamp collection with the rarest and oldest pieces in the world’s history.

Most Valuable Stamps

  1. Mauritius 1847 Post Office Stamp

  2. British Guiana 1856 1 Cent Magenta

  3. Benjamin Franklin Z Grill

4. Comic books are fun to collect and a great value to resell.

Collectible comic books

Comic books appear to have made their debut in the United States in the 1930s. Since then, adults and kids alike have enjoyed reading about the capers of their favorite superheroes and even non-superheroes in the comics we now call graphic novels. The re-sale of these comics has great demand and can easily sell for thousands of dollars if it’s in good condition.

Most Valuable Collectible Comic Books

  1. 1939 Superman No. 1

  2. 1963 X-Men No. 1

  3. 1961 Fantastic Four No. 1

5. The second-hand value of sealed Lego packs has been compared to investing in gold.

Since 1932, the Danish toy manufacturer that created Lego has been the best-selling toy block company of all time. People can’t seem to get enough of the plastic block sets and the worlds that can be created from them. Sealed Lego packs command high dollar with unopened toy block sets from a movie series like Harry Potter selling for up to $10,000. Ready to shop collectibles and find some big money in Lego?

Shop Collectibles Stores for These Lego Sets

  1. 1979 Space Commander Center

  2. 1978 Lego Castle

  3. 2013 Mr. Gold

6. Shop collectible stores for vintage board games to get value out of low-tech fun.

Collectible board games

Vintage board games have a great market. Special limited-edition board games can be worth hundreds when only purchased for a small fraction of that. With the fast-paced, high-tech world we currently live in, it might just make sense that we reflect on the positive qualities of simpler times – and board games are an easy bet. (You’ll get higher returns on unopened games with all the pieces intact, so you’ll have to settle on reliving those glory days of winning rounds of Monopoly in your mind.)

Valuable Vintage Board Games

  1. 1966 Lost in Space 3D Action Fun Game

  2. 1962 Haunted House

  3. 1981 Dark Tower

7. Action figures are a good investment when you shop for collectibles.

Statues of super heros

Action figures are different from dolls. They are plastic models of some of the most iconic figures in storytelling - usually movies. Typically standing or posing, these models must be popular characters and remain in their original packaging for the best value.

So, how does an action figure get to be such a valuable collectible? In the case of the Rocket-Firing Boba Fett, it is valuable because it doesn’t work properly and was never mass-produced. It is estimated that less than 30 examples of this rare toy are still available today.

Most Expensive Action Figure Collectibles Sold

  1. 1979 Rocket-Firing Boba Fett

  2. 1963 Handmade G.I. Joe Action Figure

  3. 1978 Rare Obi-Wan Kenobi Action Figure

8. Small statues are in huge demand by collectible enthusiasts.

Porcelain figurines can be traced back to the 1700s and are very popular with those who shop for collectibles. Figurines that are in pristine condition can be sold for high prices, making them an excellent antique investment. The key to finding investable figurines is to be knowledgeable about what you are looking for – the manufacturer is important, but so is the appeal of the piece.

Porcelain dog figurines

High Priced Porcelain Figurine Manufacturers

  1. Royal Nymphenburg

  2. Dresden lace

  3. Meissen

9. Shop for collectible books for your home library and invest in literature.

America's Antique Mall staff in front of bookshelf

Classic literature has a special place in the collective heart of collectors. If you are lucky enough to find yourself in possession of a publication from the 1800s or 1900s, it could be worth millions of dollars. Even modern authors have first editions that have sold for over $125,000, including J.K. Rowling of Harry Potter fame.

Most Expensive Books Ever Sold

  1. Book of Mormon, 1830

  2. Codex Leicester, circa 1506-1510

  3. Magna Carta, 13th century

Those are great non-fiction examples of excellent finds when you shop collectibles, but what about literature? A first edition of Chaucer’s “Canterbury Tales” from 1477 sold for $7.5 million in July of 1998. Additionally, William Shakespeare’s “Comedies, Histories, & Tragedies” (also known as the First Folio) sold for $9.978 million in late 2020. Sure, your Kindle is nice but unlikely to bring this level of return on investment!

How Do I Start My Own Collection?

Before starting a collection, you will want to decide if you are doing it for fun or to make money. When you just have an overwhelming interest in a certain item – like bottlecaps, for example – it may be a fun collection, but not necessarily one that will increase in value. However, if you can capitalize on a niche and create something unique, anything is possible!

5 Top Tips for Starting Your Collection:

  1. Check supply and demand

  2. Determine difficulty level

  3. Start small

  4. Let people know what you’re into

  5. Join a club

Collectible stamps

Look at supply and demand. With bottlecaps, for example, you may find them in a large supply, but if you narrow down to a niche collection for a specific region or certain type (craft brewers) and collect them over time, the caps become a rare novelty. Having a connection within the market will be invaluable for location-based collections.

Is it hard or easy to collect? Depending on your personality, budget, and time available, you might be satisfied with a small but valuable collection. Consider narrowing down your focus to one type of collectible, such as lockets, and then finding a variety within that category. As you learn the value, you may want to expand into antiques to increase your investment.

Variety of Collectible Lockets

  • Brass lockets

  • Oval lockets

  • Gold lockets

  • Lockets with precious stones

Start small and simple. Shopping for valuable collectibles is an art. You want to take time to educate yourself about the subject of your collection and learn as much as you can to avoid wasting time and money. If you choose to start a coin collection, counterfeit items could drastically change the value of a collection so take time to learn about how to identify fake coins.

Lego set

Tell people you are a collector. When you speak your passion to friends and family, they immediately think of you whenever they see an item that may be of interest to you. They can help you grow your collection with gifts and offer a sounding board to the subject you are most passionate about. You may even find a fellow collector or two within your own circle!

Join a club or organization for collectors. Whether it’s a group that likes to shop collectibles or a club specific to the item you are collecting, being around like-minded people helps you grow your interest and learn first-hand from other collectors. Other collectors are the gateway to the best antique shops, websites, and social media accounts that will add value to your hobby and the collectibles you love.

Where Do I Shop for Collectibles?

Antique mall display with collectibles

Develop relationships with the vendors at your local antique mall. These friendly collectors are a wealth of information and can point you in the right direction or acquire the collectible for you. If there is a specific piece you are looking for, this network of collectors shares your passion for the unique and will save you time locating that next addition to your collection.

With preparation and research, you can turn your collectibles into a profit center. When you keep your finger on the pulse of the collectibles market and educate yourself on what the item-of-the-moment is, amazing things can happen! Beyond the enjoyment of collecting something you are passionate about, you can make money while having fun and meeting interesting new people.

America’s Antique Mall is a unique family of antique malls that will connect vendors, collectors, and artisans with an exceptional shopping experience. More than just a home for high-quality goods, our malls bring together the passion of collecting with the thrill of the find. Our antique dealers and vendors are skilled in finding exactly what you are looking for – and incredibly fun to talk with, too!

Visit. Explore. Shop. America’s Antique Mall is a new adventure every day. When you are looking for the best place to shop collectibles, we will be your favorite place to grow your collection, your collectibles network, and your knowledge of the collectibles you are most passionate about.

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