Collectibles Statistics

People cherish and collect a wide variety of things. Books, magazines, coins, stamps, baseball cards, clothing, toys, dolls, technology items, wine, pottery, furniture, artifacts, all kinds of memorabilia can be found at yard sales, thrift stores, classified ads, consignment shops, garage sales, local auctions or estate sales. But why do people select to collect one item over another?

Getting to know the collectibles market

Generally, a rare item is classified as collectible. The most popular collectibles are coins, stamps, dolls and baseball cards, but other items may be sought after based on their demand and scarcity of supply. If there are too many buyers for an item, but the supply is low, this item may sell high in the marketplace. For instance, the 1952 Mickey Mantle baseball card was sold for $15,500. Buyers can be lay people who love to collect vintage items or investors who put their money on rare pieces just for the sake of owning a classic car or a vintage guitar.

Assessing the value

To assess the value of a collectible item, collectors consider its authenticity and popularity. For example, an autographed Fender Standard Series Stratocastor guitar was sold for $2.8 million because it was signed by legendary musicians including Paul McCartney, Peter Townsend, Bryan Adams, Mick Jagger, David Gilmour and many others. Similarly, in 2010, a 1947 Cheval Blanc, one of Bordeaux's rarest wines, was sold for $304,375 because it was original and imperial-size.

Statistics do not lie

Comic books are highly regarded collectibles in the market. According to 2012 year-end collectibles statistics, it has been estimated that the comic books sales have increased by 12% compared to 2011. Marvel Comics account for 37.59% of total comic book units sales, while DC account for 36.75% of total unit sales. In terms of sales turnover, Marvel Comics has a market share of 34.06%, while DC has a market share of 31.94%. Recently, a lot of 3,400 Marvel comics from the 1960s sold for $14,000, at an average price of $4.12, while a regular 32-page Marvel comic book is normally priced at $2.99.

According to Sports Collector's Digest, in 1991, baseball card sales hit a record high at $1.2 billion. By the end of 2000, total sales dropped to $400 million, a decline of 67%. Overall, in the past 15 years, there has been a notable increase in the collection of baseball cards. Joe DiMaggio, Yogi Berra and Rollie Fingers are benchmark cards to which the value of the rookie baseball cards is assessed. Yet, the 1909 Honus Wagner baseball card is a highly collectible item, currently valued at $2.35 million. Furthermore, other baseball memorabilia sell like crazy. For instance, baseball fans may pay between $65 and $120 for a signed Yogi Berra baseball card. The value depends on the condition of the baseball, but more importantly on the authenticity of the signature. A non-authenticated signature lowers the baseball's price. Similarly, the 1998 Mark McGwire's 70th home-run baseball was sold for $3 million.

Coin collection is also extremely popular. There are people who collect coins as a hobby (hobbyists); people who satisfy their love of history and geography by collecting coins of different regions (generalists); collectors who like to own complete sets of different coins from different regions and eras (completists); and speculators who collect coins as a part of their investment strategy. The Professional Coin Grading Service (PCGS) verifies the ownership and quality of coins and publishes the value of each complete set. Then, coin collectors compete for the acquisition of the rarest samples and, consequently the prices of the coins can be really high. For example, in 2002, the 1933 Saint-Gaudens Double Eagle was sold for $7.6 million to a private collector.

Stamp collection is also on the rise. People collect all kinds of stamps, although the cost of a rare stamp may range from a few hundred to a few thousand pounds. According to Stanley Gibbons, the chief stamp dealer around the globe, stamp collection has risen by nearly 90% since 2000. Yet, according to Harmers Auctions, stamps are not a good investment because there are no assurances. A collector may buy a rare stamp for 70,000 GBP and sell in at an auction for less if the market is not willing to pay more. On the other hand, Gibbons guarantees the return of the initial capital of for stamp auctioning.

Conclusively, collectibles may be a hobby, an art or an investment. In many cases, people may decide to sell their valuable collection in order to cover a student loan or delayed bank payments. Whatsoever, although it may be heart-shattering to give away a collection of beloved items, collectibles may also be a life-saver.