Updated: Sep 14
There is just something special about collecting things. We humans are drawn to gathering our favorite items — we all know that feeling of not wanting to part with a special or old item. We are naturally drawn to accumulate our favorite things — thus, we amass collections of treasured “collectibles.”
What Is a Collectible?
Quite simply, a collectible is any item that is interesting or valuable to a collector (regardless of monetary value). However, more specifically, collectibles can also refer to things that are currently worth more than when they were originally sold. These items can range from stamps to baseball cards to cars to art to comic books, just to name a few popular categories.
Delve into the world of vintage collectibles and sports collectibles and find out if collecting items is about to become your new favorite hobby.
All About Collecting
Collecting is a hobby that involves collecting items of interest to the collector. Collecting is a fun and easy hobby, as the collection can literally be anything you want it to be (Ceramic chickens? Old bottle caps? Concert ticket stubs? Yes, yes, and yes!). You can collect sentimental things, interesting things, or valuable things — it is completely up to you and what you like!
How To Start a Collection
Before you start gathering your collectibles, take some time to consider a few things: your interests, budget, storage space, time, and longevity of the item. First, what are your personal interests? If you love Pokémon, then you can start collecting Pokémon memorabilia like trading cards, figurines, and costumes. If you love a certain football team, you may want to start gathering sports collectibles related to your team or the sport.
Second, determine your budget for collectibles and stick to it. Third, be sure to consider what space you have for collected items and how best to store them. Fourth, decide how much time and energy you want to dedicate to this hobby — that can guide you into either a high or low-maintenance collection.
Lastly, consider the fact that this hobby could be an investment. Some rare and/or vintage collectibles can increase in value over the years and be sold for more than they were initially purchased if they are in good condition.
What Are Vintage Collectibles?
In general, vintage items are those that are at least 20 years old and also evoke a nostalgic feeling. Any items over 100 years old would be considered antiques. Vintage collectibles, then, are nostalgic items such as toys, trading cards, or books that are 20 to 99 years old.
The value of a vintage collectible is determined by four key factors: age, rarity, condition, and historical significance. Regarding a collectible’s age, the older the item, the better. As for the rarity of a vintage collectible, a limited supply typically means a higher demand for the object.
With vintage collectibles, excellent condition is key to having higher value. And if a collectible was made during a historically significant time (like a sports collectible from a famous game), this can mean that the object is more valuable.
Top Types of Valuable Vintage Collectibles:
First edition books
Antique maps and globes
Art deco pieces
What Are Memorabilia?
Some collectors focus on specific types of memorabilia rather than one single category or type of object. The word “memorabilia” is defined as “things that stir recollection or are valued or collected for their association with a particular field or interest.” In the collectibles world, memorabilia typically refers to sports collectibles and pop culture memorabilia (such as items relating to specific TV shows, movies, etc.).
America’s Antique Mall offers a huge selection of antiques, vintage, collectibles, and memorabilia. Our glass showcases boast a wide array of collectible items, with our Highland, Indiana, location featuring more than 400 glass showcases filled with vintage collectible treasures.
Fun Memorabilia to Collect:
“The Simpsons” memorabilia
Collecting Pokémon Cards and Memorabilia
Pokémon is a Japanese franchise that launched in 1996 and has become extremely popular worldwide (with both children and adults) since then. The franchise includes TV shows, trading cards, video games, and a wide array of toys and collectibles. The Pokémon are 900+ creatures that live in the imaginary world’s wilds and are to be caught and trained by Pokémon “trainers.”
Although there are all kinds of Pokémon memorabilia (figures, toys, etc.) for you to collect and display, the major collectible items regarding Pokémon are the trading cards. The value of Pokémon cards has spiked in recent years, thanks to YouTubers who are delving back into their childhood interests. Some of the rarest of Pokémon collectible cards have sold for thousands of dollars (the rarest of the rare selling for millions)!
15 High-Value Pokémon Cards:
Gold Star Espeon and Umbreon
2002 No. 1 Trainer
First Edition Crystal Charizard
No Rarity Venusaur
1999 No. 1 Trainer
2006 No. 2 Trainer
First Edition Holo Lugia
Pokémon Snap Chansey
Blastoise Presentation Card
Collecting “The Simpsons” Memorabilia
“The Simpsons,” which debuted in 1989, is the longest-running animated television series and longest-running scripted prime-time TV show in American history. The show is broadcast in numerous languages around the world.
“The Simpsons” has had an undeniable impact on modern pop culture and other shows. The show has expanded into comic books, video games, and a 2007 movie, as well. Because of its immense popularity, there is a wide variety of collectible items and merchandise (like Funko Pop collectibles) related to “The Simpsons.”
For lovers of ‘90s nostalgia, accumulating “The Simpsons” collectibles may prove a great hobby. An upcoming book, “Collecting The Simpsons: The Merchandise and Legacy of our Favorite Nuclear Family,” is even set to be released later this year. Many rare collectible Simpsons toys can be valuable, such as the Krusty the Clown Funko Pop ($550), the Bearbrick 1000% Homer Figure ($1,800), and The Simpsons Game Arcade Cabinet ($4,000).
How to Collect LEGO
LEGO are toy plastic building blocks that became popular in the mid-20th century. LEGO bricks were invented by carpenter Ole Kirk Christiansen in Billund, Denmark, in the 1940s and patented by his son and company head successor, Godtfred Kirk, in 1958. The word LEGO comes from the Danish phrase, leg godt, meaning “play well.”
LEGO building is a fun activity enjoyed by children and adults alike. Today, more than 600 billion LEGO pieces have been made. LEGO blocks are great to collect because they are fun to build, and finished LEGO sets can be displayed in a home. You can definitely collect LEGO sets that line up with your interests (such as “Star Wars” or “Harry Potter”-themed sets), and some LEGO collectible sets can increase in value over time.
One article from 2015 even states that LEGO sets can provide a better return on investment than gold, bank accounts, or the stock market! If you are interested in collecting and investing in LEGO, you can sign up for an account on a website like Brick Picker to search for the value of LEGO sets.
How to Find Sports Collectibles
Sports collectibles can mean a variety of things, from trading cards to game-worn jerseys to caught fly balls. With the wide world of sports collectibles sold on the internet, a sports fan can find just about any kind of sports memorabilia they desire. If you collect sports memorabilia, remember that these pieces are an investment, and be sure what you are purchasing is authentic.
Here are a few things to remember as you begin amassing your sports collectibles: start with the basics, such as one special object. You can focus on simple items, such as jerseys, balls, helmets, equipment, and hats. You can also start by focusing on objects from rookie players who have bright futures.
Remember that gear used during a game will be more valuable than the mass-produced products. One way to increase the value of a sports collectible is to have the piece autographed by a player or coach (or buy one that is already signed — just be sure it is verified and authentic).
Collecting Vintage Collectible Childhood Toys
Don’t you remember that feeling of seeing advertisements for an amazing toy and wanting that toy so very badly? As an adult, you can become a collector of your childhood toys and maybe even make some of your childhood dreams come true. Gathering vintage collectibles like childhood toys appeals to our sense of nostalgia and can be a fun and rewarding hobby.
The great thing about collecting childhood toys is that you can pick whatever toy or toy type that interests you. So, think back to your childhood favorite toy or which types of toys (antique and vintage dolls are a popular collection type) you wish you had more of and start there. Along the way, you will need to decide if you are looking for vintage collectible toys that are in their original packaging or loose toys (or both).
Popular Vintage Collectible Toy Lines:
He-Man and Masters of the Universe
How to Collect Action Figures
A niche within vintage collectible childhood toys is collecting action figures. Action figures can depict characters from your favorite comic book, TV show, movie, or anime series. Action figures can also make a great investment, as some can be worth hundreds of dollars.
As you start your action figure collection, you probably want to narrow your focus to a certain theme of figurines. You can find new action figures at toy and specialty stores, but vintage collectible action figures can be found at thrift stores, garage sales, antique malls, and flea markets. Like other toys, vintage collectible action figures may be loose or in their original “mint” box — which can affect their value and resell potential.
How to Sell Vintage Collectibles
Once you really dive into your chosen collection, you may find that you run out of room or have some collectibles that you no longer need or want. If you want to prune your collection or simply want to earn more money so you can continue adding to your collection, selling your vintage collectibles is a great option. Before you start selling, you must consider how you want to sell an item, where buyers are, and what type of item you have.
Three great ways to sell antique and vintage collectibles are at an antique mall, online, or at flea markets. An antique mall is a social and collaborative way to sell vintage and antique items, and the bonus is you will not have to worry about shipping costs. Setting up an antique mall booth can be a wonderful and rewarding venture.
You can also sell your vintage and/or sports collectibles through online marketplaces — just make sure you use sites with seller protection. You could also sell your antique or vintage items at flea markets or yard sales, but you may not find buyers who are willing to pay large sums (and you will need to be prepared to negotiate prices).
How to Care for Vintage Collectibles
Your vintage collectibles are important to you both emotionally and financially, so it is important to take excellent care of them. Many vintage items are fragile, so you must be careful not to damage them. And as we have already discussed, collectibles in excellent condition will be worth more than damaged ones.
Be sure to store your vintage and sports collectibles in the appropriate containers or materials to keep them protected. When handling your items, do so carefully (and, depending on the item, you may need to wear gloves). Use the recommended gentle cleaning method to care for items and keep them looking great.
Are Vintage Collectibles a Good Investment?
Starting a collection of vintage time or sports memorabilia can not only be a fun, exciting hobby but can be a great investment for you. Of course, the value of your vintage collectibles will depend on what type and kinds you have collected, but with good research and diligence, you can build yourself a fine collection. Since trends are ever-changing, you can gain insight into your collectibles from appraisers, collectors, and experts.
Antique malls like our very own America’s Antique Mall are a great place to hunt for your favorite collectible items. We just know you will love discovering your favorite nostalgic items. Happy collecting!