Archive for February 2014
I received an email from a reader this week, asking for help. The man who wrote has some antiques and collectibles that have been in his family for generations. He’d like to know what they’re worth and who to go to for that information.
It wasn’t that long ago that finding out the relative value of your heirlooms was a difficult process. It usually required taking your items to an appraiser or sending photos and detailed information. And it could be expensive.
For fine, rare and unusual antiques, that is still the case. You definitely need a professional’s opinion before selling or insuring. But, for most mass-produced items made some time in the last century, there’s an easier way.
Go to the crowd.
Take a look at Pinterest. See what people are talking about, linking to and pinning to their virtual pin boards. Check online auctions like eBay and vintage marketplaces like Etsy, where you can get an idea of what your collectible is worth at the moment and what such things are selling for around the world. This will give you a good idea of condition and rarity and help you gauge demand.
Ultimately, most things are worth only what someone is willing to pay. Collectibles, like fashion, are subject to popular trends. What was highly prized a few years ago, may not be sought after today.
Most of us never get that Antiques Roadshow moment, finding out the trash in the attic will make us rich. But, you never know. For every treasure there’s a treasure hunter.
Cheryl-Anne Millsap also writes about travel at Home Planet. She can be reached at email@example.com
Vintage toys have great appeal because they not only reflect an era or specific period of time, they carry fond memories of childhood and play. And vintage die-cast cars are one of the most enduringly popular collectibles. For some, the curators, only mint collectibles—preferably still in the box—will do. For others, the sentimental treasure hunter, the obvious signs of use, the dents, scrapes and wear and tear of play, only add to the appeal.
I saved a shoebox full of the matchbox cars my children played with, but although I’ve admired plenty at flea markets and antique sales, I’ve never bought a vintage toy car or truck. Until a few days ago when I saw a 1960s die-cast replica of a VW Microbus on the shelf in a local thrift store and I couldn’t leave it behind.
The toy is completely intact with none of the little pieces of trim missing. There are a few scratches here and there but the doors still open and close and it rolls straight. But to be honest, none of that mattered. What really drew me to it was that it reminded me of my son, not as a little boy pushing toys around in the sand box, but as a young man who likes to tinker with things.
Several years ago he bought a real vintage Volkswagen bus the same robin’s egg blue and white as the toy. The bus was in great shape when he bought it and he continued to make improvements to the interior. By the time he was done it was a compact, comfortable, camper. He and his friends camped all over the Pacific Northwest in it.
While the VW bus was fun to work on, and fun to use, it just wasn’t practical for everyday use so he sold it for a tidy profit. But whenever he rolled up my driveway in the driver’s seat, he had a smile on his face and I hated to see it go.
So, when I saw the vintage 1960s Microbus I brought it home. It doesn’t have any great monetary value, similar toys are selling online for under $20. But at $3.99, and considering the pleasure it brings me each time I look at it, my new toy was a real steal.