You probably have someone in your life – or maybe it’s you! – who has a prized collection of something or other that they are convinced is worth a lot of money. This person proudly displays their horde of treasures and often quotes online prices to “prove” how smart they were to start collecting this stuff years ago. But sadly, if any of these items are among those featured in this recent article from the Considerable.com website, the true value of that collection may in fact be something close to zero.
Hanging Onto Worthless Collectibles Can Mean Refusal to Face Reality
Columnist Kenzo Nakawatase wrote this entertaining and eye-opening article, and we share it here on the AgingOptions blog for one serious reason: many people build their retirement hopes on unrealistic expectations. Assigning a high value to a set of essentially worthless collectibles may seem like a small matter but it could indicate a deeper refusal to face reality when it comes to true retirement planning, something we’ll get back to in a moment. At the very least, if you’re the adult child or grandchild of someone who treasures their practically-worthless collection of cards, coins or figurines, this article will probably ring true.
“For some people, it’s a shoebox of baseball cards, gathering dust in the basement,” writes Nakawatase. “For others, it’s a binder of old coins passed down from a great-aunt. From toys to technology, jewelry to figurines, most everyone has that collectible they are sure is worth a small fortune. And most everyone is probably mistaken.” The article does add that there may indeed be the occasional valuable treasure tucked away “in the spider-webbed nooks and crannies of attics across the country,” such as that “treasured antique lampshade” that belonged to your great grandmother. But in order to bring lofty expectations down to earth, the author researched appraisers, pawnshop owners, and collectible experts “to separate items that have potential value from those that will leave you sad, surprised, and disappointed.”
Four Myths People Believe About Worthless Collectibles
According to the article, after conferring with “numerous professionals who make a living in the world of collectibles and antiques,” some clear themes emerged. Here from the Considerable article are four myths people believe about essentially worthless collectibles.
- Myth Number One – If it’s old, it’s valuable. “A common thought is that because something is old, it must be valuable. That simply isn’t true,” Considerable One appraiser told author Nakawatase that “very little of what crosses [her] desk has value,” including old coins and stamps.
- Myth Number Two – Mass-produced stuff can still be collectible. “Keep in mind,” the article says: “If millions of them were produced — and it’s likely there were — then literally millions of folks just like you have one and are thinking the same thing” – that the one you have actually is valuable. That’s very unlikely. “Rarity and scarcity are two factors that can make an item valuable. Mass production is completely counter to this.”
- Myth Number Three – Poor condition doesn’t really matter. As one appraiser from Antiques Roadshow explained, “Unless the item is extremely rare, collectors tend to only collect items in pristine condition. So if you have an item that is available on the market in good condition, that’s what investors will want to buy.” If the condition is poor, the value is doubtful.
- Myth Number Four – Online prices are a good gauge of actual value. “Please remember that the internet isn’t always the most accurate or truthful source when discerning value,” says Nakawatase. “To get an accurate valuation of an item you will need to do more than google it.” Go ahead and do your online research, but for an accurate picture you’ll want to bring the item to an appraiser.
Worthless Collectibles: Nine “Treasures” That Probably Hold Little Value
With that in mind, let’s look at the list from the Considerable article – nine so-called collectibles that probably have little if any actual value, chiefly because they are all far too common:
- Vintage cameras
- Beanie Babies
- Your collection of DVDs and VHS tapes
- Hummel figurines
- Morgan silver dollars
- Indian-head pennies
- Anything from Franklin Mint
- Big, disorganized collections of baseball cards
- Disney “Black Diamond” VHS tapes from 1984-1994
Nakawatase does end his article with a faint glimmer of optimism. “Before your hopes and dreams are crushed entirely, please remember that there are exceptions to every rule,” he writes. “While the large majority of items from the categories listed above won’t make you rich, selling them could still be worth your time.” So, go ahead and have your treasure appraised, but keep your expectations down to earth.
Expert Advice and Realistic Expectations are Central to Retirement Planning
As we suggested above, don’t pin your retirement plans on false hopes and unrealistic expectations. Instead, please accept Rajiv Nagaich’s invitation to join him at an upcoming LifePlanning Seminar, where you’ll discover an approach to retirement planning that is truly comprehensive, realistic and individualized. LifePlanning weaves together financial, legal, medical, housing and family elements of your future planning into one powerful strategy that will help you experience retirement on your terms, so you can protect your assets and avoid becoming a burden to those you love. There’s absolutely no cost, no obligation and no hard sell. For a calendar of upcoming seminars, visit our Live Events page and register for the seminar of your choice. And meanwhile, age on!
(originally reported at www.considerable.com)