Well most collections should never be considered investments anyways. Think I may have had a similar post not long ago, can’t remember, but I just still find it fascinating the stupidity of many humans. I recently came across yet another article about a person collecting in hopes that they will have a big windfall of money when times get tough, in this case comic books.
I have nothing against collecting. I myself have a nice collection of swords and knives, comics, sports and movie cards, figurines, “Star Wars” action figures, and a few other things here and there. I collected these things for enjoyment. None of these do I believe nor ever have believed to be cash cows. In this article I read, a man collected comic books for some 20 years or so. When he lost his nice cushy job, he thought he could use those 20 years worth of comic books to pay for his kid’s college. In the end he only got about $500 or so. Not a good thing. Luckily he did eventually get another job, but it is sad he had to learn the hard way that most collections are not investments.
One thing to know about collecting is that it is never a sure thing that there will be a market for the items in the future. Also, there is a lot of oversaturation in various collectible industries because these companies know there are people out there willing to shell out big bucks to whatever they hype as being “collector’s items” (remember Beanie Babies?) Sure there are those rare instances when a comic book or trading card has raked in big money, but look at the issue years of these little gold mines. Stuff made before the 1970s were rarely over mass produced and those toys, trading cards, comic books, etc. were bought and used by most buyers therefore some things get thrown out or worn out eventually creating those rare finds that rich people go nuts over. I’ve heard stories from baby boomers about how they used to put trading cards they got from bubble gum packs into the spokes of their bicycle wheels so they would have a clacking noise as they rode their bikes. In the 1970’s and 1980’s, more people started holding onto their things and companies began producing more products causing oversaturation. Finding another collector in desperate need of an item post-1970’s is near impossible to find as they probably already have whatever it is you have. If you are lucky enough to find a collector willing to buy your item, it better be near mint or better condition since your item is pretty common. If you think that just because in 2013 you have stuff that is 25 years old that it is valuable, you’re only fooling yourself.
Another thing that affects collecting, in the case of comics in particular, are the reissues and trade paperbacks. In the old days, the only way to enjoy a story you may have missed was to search for back issues at your local comic book store. And some of them story arcs could last over quite a few issues and sometimes even into more than one title line. At least as far back as the 1990’s, maybe earlier but I only collected from 1993 to early 2000’s, readers can save a few dollars by buying trade paperbacks. Trade paperbacks are books containing multiple issues of a given comic book. I personally have a few trade paperbacks where I can enjoy some of my favorite heroes’ early adventures from the days before I was born as well as some story arcs that would have otherwise caused me to look all over the magazine stands to try to find all the parts. Same thing with trading cards.
Do I regret my early days of collecting? Not at all since at the time I had the spare cash to entertain myself. I was not in it for the money. The comics I collected because just like traditional books, many of the stories were top notch and the artwork was well done. My trading cards reflected my fondness for such things as my favorite tv shows or movies and my favorite sports. Some of my cards were not all just screencap pictures either, some were actual pieces of art done by real artists which for me made them that much cooler. As for my knives and swords, although I did come by a few on my own, the bulk I inherited. And I still love looking at my dragons and scifi stuff which on the rarest of occasions I can still add a piece to. This stuff will never make me rich but I don’t care.