Humans are drawn to making collections, and whether you realize it or not, you've likely been collecting in some shape or form for as long as you can remember. From gathering seashells as a child to searching for the missing editions of Shakespeare's work as an adult, we share a communal urge at every stage of life to collect what we love. While we do it absentmindedly, there are people worldwide who invest time, energy, and money into the very real hobby that is collecting.
If you're interested in taking this pastime one step further, maybe it's time to start a collection of your own. But where to start? Find inspiration for what type of item you'd be interested in collecting, learn more about the most popular collectibles, and find all your questions answered with our professional advice today!
What Are Collectibles?
A collectible is any item that has worth to a collector, whether it has nostalgic memories attached or high monetary value. Anything around you can be qualified as a collectible, whether it be something as common as thimbles or as rare as fine art. Some people hunt for expensive collectibles to turn a profit at collectible stores or online, while others could be collecting something personally significant from their youth.
Why We Love Collecting
Collecting is a fun and exhilarating hobby that people of all ages can enjoy. In our busy world, it's important to slow down and invest time doing something that makes you happy. Starting a collection you care about, whether figurines or vintage bottle caps, can give you a purpose in life. And you don’t have to be an expert—anyone can walk into a collectible store and start their search.
Everyone has a special interest, so why not collect items that help you display that passion in your home? Browse different collectible stores and personalize your home décor with figurines and valuable items to show your guests a collection you love.
While it's easy to assume this hobby is a solo adventure, you'll find a large community of like-minded people. You can even make your collection a family affair, involving your kids in the search for unique and rare items to collect! Strike up a conversation with your shared interest online or in person at collectible stores and antique malls, and you'll instantly feel connected to the people around you.
5 Simple Steps to Starting a Collection
Collecting doesn't have to be daunting! Start small and follow these five simple steps:
Step 1: Choose a style, company, or type of memorabilia that interests you! Having a personal connection or passion for your collection is half the fun, so when you're starting out, find something you know you’ll be excited to search for at collectible stores.
Step 2: Determine your budget—and stick to it. Depending on the collectible you choose and the rate of purchases, this can be anything from $5 a month to thousands.
Step 3: Figure out how to store and protect the items in your collection to keep collectibles in quality condition for years to come.
Step 4: Dictate how much time and energy you will allot to collecting. Will you spend all your free time traveling to different collectible stores? Or try a laid-back approach and set a Google alert for rare items?
Step 5: Start shopping! Online sites, local collectible stores, yard sales, and large antique malls in your area can all be valuable resources to grow your new collection.
Current Popular Types of Collectibles
Anything can be collected, from antique dolls to vintage cookware, and as long as you're passionate about the item, you'll have endless fun. Not sure where to start? Try searching for some of these items at a collectible store near you:
Collect Vintage Sports Memorabilia
If you root, root, root for the home team, or never miss a Super Bowl, collecting vintage sports memorabilia may be the perfect niche for you. From vintage baseball cards depicting your favorite teams to bobblehead figurines of your basketball idol, there are plenty of categories within sports memorabilia to choose from. As you start, choose one specific type to search for at collectible stores and branch out from there!
When collecting sports memorabilia, you'll see that it's extremely popular for players to sign their jerseys, bats, and cards—but it's a very divisive topic amongst collectors! Some will only collect sports memorabilia in perfect condition, while others believe the autograph increases the value. Choose which side of the argument you’re on to home in on a collection you love.
Grow an Antique Coin Collection
Coins are some of the most accessible items to collect—you can start with the loose change in your pocket! Whether you've come across a unique coin at a collectible store, inherited a family member's old-proof coins, or have always dreamed of collecting quarters from all 50 states, coin collecting is easy and fun for all ages. When you start a coin collection, you can take the time to learn the rich history of each coin, connect with a worldwide community of collectors, and eventually turn a profit as the coins age!
5 Popular Types of Coins to Collect:
You can start a collectible coin collection with whatever interests you, whether worldwide coins or a certain year's pennies. But, to understand the value, you should research these important coin categories as you start your collection:
Walking Liberty Half Dollars
Invest in Vintage Holiday Collectibles
Vintage holiday items can be found anywhere, from your untouched storage boxes to your local collectible store. Embrace the simplicity of vintage-inspired holidays and start gathering Christmas collectibles you love. From vintage blow molds on your porch to Department 56 Christmas villages in the foyer, every item in your holiday storage boxes can be carefully curated.
Relive Nostalgia with Vintage Toys
Some of the most popular collectibles come from famous toy companies. Figures like Barbie, G.I. Joe, or Lego can be found anywhere at various prices. Some collectors enjoy keeping them in mint condition, while others play with them like we did as kids. Whatever your style, there are endless companies and eras of vintage toys to add to your collection.
If you like the sentimental aspect, figurines from toy companies are the perfect item to collect. Embrace the nostalgia, visit a collectible store, and reflect on your early days. Whether you played with Strawberry Shortcake or created imaginary worlds with Little People, starting a collection as an adult can reignite that childlike wonder in your life.
Popular Toys and Action Figurines to Collect:
Collect Vintage Figurines
If you think back to your grandmother's home, chances are, she had a growing collection of antique figurines in her China cabinet or on her mantle. From dazzling Swarovski cut figurines to porcelain Hummel figurines and more, these pieces can be found at various price points at collectible stores worldwide.
If you're looking for an elegant collection to keep on display, figurines are perfect. Depending on the brand, you can create little scenes for guests to enjoy or swap out certain figurines as the seasons change. Elevate your home with a timeless collection of figurines.
7 Frequently Asked Questions When Starting a Collection
Feeling inspired to begin collecting but not sure where to start? We've answered seven frequently asked questions to help you on your journey:
1. Does the Condition Affect the Value of a Collectible?
There's no hard and fast rule about conditions when it comes to collecting. Some collectible stores will only accept items if they are in mint condition, valuing the unscratched and barely touched items higher. Often, people who collect mint condition items expect the action figurine, vintage coin, or jersey to be authentically graded and packaged by an appraisal company to prevent damages or, at the very least, sealed in its original packaging.
Simultaneously, some collectors don't mind if an item has evidence of wear or tear—their sentimentality over the object matters more. These people tend to have a nostalgic connection with their collection, whether it's toys they played with as children or vintage baseball caps. For these collectors, the monetary value is not affected by the condition as much, and they will still pay high prices at collectible stores for that item.
2. Is Collecting an Expensive Hobby?
Well, it depends on what you're collecting and what you set as your budget! Collecting doesn't have to be expensive – if you collection is something like rocks, it can even be free as you find them yourself. Some collectible stores price figurines at a couple of dollars and others offer extremely rare and high-value collectibles. Remember how we said anyone can collect? Choose a budget you can afford and progress from there.
3. Are Rare Collectibles More Valuable?
Generally, the rarer an item is, the more valuable it is. Sometimes the rarity can refer to a unique manufacturing error at the collectible store or the fact that only a couple exist. Think of it in terms of supply and demand. If a thousand figurines are made in one design, but only a handful are made in another, collectors will often seek out the more unique one to add to their collection.
4. Where Can You Buy Items for a Collection?
Whether you're interested in rare figurines or learning about Funko Pops, you can often grow your collection from the comfort of your home. Explore different online collectible stores, forums, and collector's websites, or place your bid on an online auction site like eBay. When you find an item you want, you can purchase it and have it sent directly to your home.
If you're interested in the thrill of the chase, head to a thrift shop, collectible store, antique mall, or flea market near you. Adding to your collection this way may feel like more of a gamble since you're never sure what will be available, but isn't that half of the fun?
At our locations, you can stroll down aisles of booths, each with unique stock. Discover vintage collectibles amongst antique furniture in Indiana or rare coins hidden in a Chicago antique mall—anything is possible!
5. How Do You Sell Collectibles?
Is your collection growing too big? Have you found a rare item you know is worth selling? Some collectors decide to get into the business of selling their wares—and it's simple! After determining the value, you can set up your collectible store online, sell it to a local vendor, or, if your collection is large enough, consider renting a booth or a renting a showcase at your local antique mall! From there, you can turn your prized pieces into a business.
6. What's the Best Way to Store a Collection?
Where and how you choose to store your collection can depend on the type of collectible you choose. Moving boxes are a great option if you decide to store your collection out of sight, whether in the basement, attic, or office. But within that, the protective cases vary. Baseball cards will need penny sleeves; coins should be kept in plastic containers; figurines may need durable glass boxes—the list goes on.
Pro tip: Always store your collection in a room temperature, low-humidity area of your home to avoid damage.
7. How Can I Display My Collection?
With all the behind-the-scenes work of starting a collection, you deserve to show it off! Keep it clutter free and organized in your home by choosing an intentional space or surface to house your collectibles.
Acrylic or glass display cases are the best method for keeping small items safe and visible. Incorporate them into your home décor, arrange a group of figurines on your mantel or dresser, or encase paper collections in picture frames on the wall. Get creative with your display options and enjoy the sight of your hard work 24/7!
Any collection can begin with just one item. That funky-looking penny you found on the street. Your favorite Star Wars action figurine. From there, as you add new and unique pieces, you can quickly grow your personally curated collection. With answers to the most commonly asked questions about collecting and a look into some of the more popular collectible items, feel inspired to harness your passion and start collecting. Visit us at our Algonquin, Highland, or Melbourne locations and begin your search today!