Nothing Collectible Is Collectible

It seemed like a tall order, and possibly an expensive one. There’s been a bit of coin collecting going on in the house lately, so for Christmas I had the idea of getting the US Mint Proof Sets from the years than Danger Girl and I were born. Since I’m older, I anticipated that my proof set would be harder to find, and more expensive when I did find it. I was wrong on both counts. eBay is absolutely engorged with US Mint proof sets from the past sixty or so years.

In the end, I paid about five bucks for my set and about six bucks for DGs. Had I been patient, I could have bought a package of 250+ proof sets, including all of the Sixties, Seventies, and Eighties, for about a hundred dollars. Making the individual value of a US Mint proof set somewhat less than the face value of the coins in the sets. You could make a couple bucks an hour buying proof sets in bulk and taking the painstakingly finished, utterly pristine, four-decade-old coins to the local bank.

A new 2016 Proof Set from the US Mint costs $31.95. It contains $5.91 in proof-minted currency. I own a set, because I like pretty coins, but I’ll explain to you why it probably won’t even be worth $5.91 in twenty years. Hint: it’s the same reason the $150 BMX bike stolen out of my garage in 1994 is now worth $2,500.


The notion that old things are worth more than new things is, in itself, not very old. Prior to the nineteenth century, most people didn’t give a damn about Roman coins or original folios of Shakespeare. It’s true that there have always been people who studied old objects in order to learn more about history, but the idea that an old object might have intrinsic worth just for having survived didn’t really gain any traction until well into the Industrial Revolution.

Prior to the aforementioned Industrial Revolution, we looked at objects differently. Everything from a sword to a plowshare had intrinsic value based on how much human capital it would take to duplicate. Very few things were thrown away or wasted. And nobody got excited about old stuff because they were surrounded by old stuff all the time. This was doubly true in Europe where people grew up in the shadow of the Colosseum and the cathedrals, which were about as exciting to them as Dublin High School (constructed 1970) was to me as a teenager.

The arrival of mass production broke the iron band between human capital and manufactured goods. A relative abundance of everything from sewing needles to firearms changed the way we viewed everything. For about a hundred years, newness was prized above all else. Some time after World War II, we began to see signs of what I think of as facilitated nostalgia.

Human beings are nostalgic by nature, more so as we age. But a caveman had no way of indulging this with possessions. Either he was using the same axe that he used as a child, or he’d lost the axe and had been forced to get another one. There was no merchant out there selling Retro Reissue 3000 B.C. Axes to cavemen. It took widely-accessible markets to make that sort of thing happen, and it took an excess of purchasing power to fund it.

The Boomers were the engine behind a Golden Era Of Antiques, denizens of an economic and spiritual paradise who nevertheless couldn’t stop looking backwards at their perfected childhoods. (“If you want to be really authentic about nostalgia for the Seventies,” one wag wrote a while ago, “you have to get your head around the idea that much of the Seventies consists of nostalgia for the Fifties.”) It would be easy to laugh at them and the way they inflated the prices of everything from a 1959 Les Paul to a 1970 Chevelle to the stratosphere — but didn’t I, the enlightened Gen-Xer who believes in nothing, just pay serious money for two reproductions of BMX bicycles from 1986? Yes I did. So the ground beneath my feet on this issue is more like shifting sand.

Which, speaking of BMX bicycles, brings me to two ways you could have spent $175 about thirty years ago. While recovering from a crippling neck-snapper of a crash back in 1988, I started collecting baseball cards. It was the right time to be excited about baseball cards; outrageous prices were being paid for Mickey Mantle rookie cards, Mark McGwire Olympic cards, and Ken Griffey Jr. cards of all types. You could get serious money for print errors like the “Fuck Face” Billy Ripken card, too. Everything was worth money. New collectors were pouring into the hobby, inflating the price of everything and anything.

The insane amount of enthusiasm being devoted to baseball cards led to the creation of two new baseball-card companies: Upper Deck and Score. The 1988 Score set was oversubscribed from the moment it was announced. It wasn’t uncommon to see sealed full sets going for $40 or $50 against a retail price of $21.95. Some time in 1989 I attended a card show in downtown Columbus and I watched an extraordinarily fat man wobbling out of the building clutching a stack of Score sets that went above his head. It was quite a balancing act. But let’s move to the present day. How much have those Score sets appreciated? Are they worth the $10,000 that a complete 1958 Topps set would have fetched in 1988? More? A lot more?

Oh. That’s not an unusual price. eBay is full of no-sale Score sets at $21.95, $19.95, $15.95. The actual value of a Score set is probably nothing. Bad news for me, because I have one. I bought it at a screaming-deal $22 thirty years ago. The smartest thing to do with it is probably to throw it in the trash.

About eighteen months after I bought that Score set, I spent $175 on a complete JMC Darrell Young BMX bike in chrome. I did this because my BMX hero, Richie, had ridden one back in 1984. Later on the year, I bought a complete JMC Andy Patterson for $150. Both of these deals came out of the Columbus Dispatch classifieds, by the way.

The Darrell Young was stolen out of my garage in Hilliard, OH by two kids who saw the door up and decided to grab a pair of bikes. I came out of the garage when they were riding away. I had to choose which one of them to run after. One kid had the Darrell Young. The other kid had my actual race bike that I was racing, a Badd&Company Stretch Pro. I went after the bike I really needed; the kid decided to dump it and run rather than try to ride it across a grass field. I had a Glock 21 in my waistband at the time and remember thinking I should have shot both of the kids dead. “But what’s an old JMC worth?” I asked at dinner later that evening, rhetorically.

The answer to that question today? Well, a white frame/fork/bars is worth $2,800. A chrome complete bike? More than that, I promise you. The Andy Patterson I had? Also three grand or more. The story of how I lost that bike is one I’ll tell another time: it involves hillbilly three-ways, liquor-store robberies, shooting a Chinese rifle at sheriff’s deputies, and denim clothing. A LOT of denim clothing.

No prize for guessing that I wish I’d left my baseball cards in the garage and my bikes in my basement, instead of the other way ’round. But why is a sealed 1988 Score set worthless when a 1984 BMX bike is worth as much as a year-old Kawasaki Ninja 300? And what does that have to do with coin sets?

The answer is simple. Items that are designed to be collectible from the moment they are made tend to be stored away in perfect condition. And that’s how they remain. People forget about them. They lose emotional value. They aren’t associated with any exciting memories or personal experiences. After a while, they’re just junk.

By contrast, BMX bikes get broken, bent, rusted, thrown away. I bet you that both of my old JMCs are sitting in a dump somewhere. That happens to toys as well — but any collector of Star Wars toys will tell you that worn-out, fondled-and-played-to-death figurines from 1977 are still easy to find. It’s the boxes that are worth money, because the boxes got thrown out.

If you could plot the number of currently-extant mint-condition 1988 baseball-card sets and the number of currently-extant good-condition 1984-model-year BMX bikes over time, you would see the former on a more or less steady line while the latter falls off dramatically for the first decade before leveling out way below the original figure. At the same time, more and more people are getting interested in owning something from their BMX past even as they express total apathy about old sealed baseball-card sets. It’s a supply/demand curve that is very much in the bicycle’s favor.

US Mint proof sets are just like baseball-card sets. You have to assume that virtually all of them are still around in like-new condition. And you also have to assume that nobody really gets excited about them. In the end, they’re worth less than face value because the time you’ll take to get the coins out of their holders also has some value and that has to be factored in.

All of the truly valuable coins, just like all of the truly valuable baseball cards, were originally distributed as non-collectible items. I guarantee you that there were kids riding down Main Street USA with Mickey Mantle rookie cards in their bicycle spokes, even as they used 90% silver quarters to buy hamburgers at the local diner. By the time those kids were grownups who wanted to connect with their past, the quarters were worth $5 each or more and the cards were worth thousands.

My son has started collecting precious metals. I’ve strongly advised him to stay away from coins and to focus on reputable bullion; so far he’s buying heavily (for a seven-year-old) in Valcambi grams of gold, platinum, and palladium. There’s a lot of discussion in precious-metal circles about the value of certain coins or bars or rounds. Trust me; it’s all stupid, all ridiculous, all pure ignorance. There are a few coins that might have a slight value premium fifty years from now because they are easier to authenticate, but in general nothing you buy from APMEX or the other vendors will be worth a penny over melt value in thirty years.

What will be valuable and collectible? My crystal ball is broken, so I couldn’t say. Maybe nothing. Most young people spend most of their time interacting with computers and tablets nowadays. Vintage computers have only sentimental value, so I’m guessing that “vintage iPads” won’t be worth much in the year 2046. (If you think otherwise, I own six Atari 800s and I’m open to offers.) The ideal collectible would be:

  • Popular when it was released
  • Not over-produced
  • Relatively ephemeral/fragile
  • And some other mystery factor to be discovered when it’s too late.

If you figure out what that might be, let me know. In the meantime, I will try to figure out what to do with my old baseball cards. I’m thinking that I might use my Score set as a substitute for a “Duraflame” log. Or, better yet, convince everybody else to do that, while I keep my set in pristine condition. IF you want a Dave Henderson ’88 Score after the great Duraflame Baseball Card Burning of 2017, where you gonna go? Right here, my friend. I’ll leave the garage door open for you.

40 Replies to “Nothing Collectible Is Collectible”

  1. Tommy

    I think alot of non-sports cars with stick shifts will be worth something in our drab, hybrid/electric/cvt/4 cylinder blob transportation pod future.

    I still regret selling my Iron Horse ARS Team BMX bike back in college for $50. I want a new BMX now and I’m feeling nostalgia for my first and only BMX bike I owned (it probably wasn’t even that great of a bike, but it brings back fond memories)

    I also think Dodge Viper ACRs will go up in value, and wish I could convince my wife to let me buy one now.

    Reply
    • kvndoom

      I agree about the cars. Especially with Hondas, the manuals have way more value than the autos.

      The funny part is the stealerships who lowball on trade-ins because “nobody drives manuals” but sell them used for a premium because they’re “rare.”

      Reply
  2. Bigtruckseriesreview

    Unfortunately, for stuff to be valuable later on, it has to be in MINT condition.
    I have a lot of old game systems which I’ve played with. Had I not opened their boxes – or the games…they’d all be worth thousands of dollars now. Specifically because the circuit boards start to corrode.

    My only collection is EXO SQUAD figures from the 1990’s TV show. I have them all. MINT in box.

    They may be worth a lot someday, but I’d probably never sell them.

    I had discussed the possibility of starting a toy museum and possibly joining a toy museum someday but that remains to be seen.

    I’d feel really bad if I had a kid who opened them all up to play with them if I kept them around and the kid got curious.

    STAR WARS, TRANSFORMERS and GI JOE figures will probably hold their value the most.

    Reply
  3. niclas

    Something must become collectable for the people who grew up after the internet and mobile telephony became mainstream. Might be something like the Nokia 8850. I certainly still want one after briefly having a loaner when it was new in 1999. Early mobiles are/will be collectable in some sense, but it’s unlikely your stash of woodgrain 2110i’s will make you rich anytime soon..

    Not much o a numismatic, I have a Tintin 50th anniversary set of euros from 2004 and that’s it. I did collect stamps when I was was a kid; don’t think they’re worth much. Or maybe they are, since they are all in a dead currency and mostly first day of issue. And I have a small collection of LA Kings hockey cards somewhere, from back when you bought collector cards at the video store right next to the photo store. Can’t remember exactly why I focused on the Kings. Probably Gretzky.

    Reply
  4. rpm1200

    Popular when it was released
    Not over-produced
    Relatively ephemeral/fragile
    And some other mystery factor to be discovered when it’s too late.

    That makes a lot of sense, especially “relatively ephemeral/fragile”. The Philco Predicta television sets of the 50s immediately came to mind; iconic design plus crappy electronics equals a sought-after item.

    My personal obsession is 80s-era boom boxes. The best ones were expensive enough to be out of reach to most people and only in production for a couple of years. Many of the ones that survive were heavily used, outdoors or on job sites. So the few that are in mint condition go for big bucks on eBay, especially with the packaging. A JVC RC-M90, which I believe sold for around $1000 in 1981-1982, can regularly fetch $1000 on eBay with a broken tape deck as long as it’s in good cosmetic shape. One example with the original packaging and accessories went for over $4000 a few years ago.

    Reply
    • Felis Concolor

      And that’s why I will continue to recommend a used BOSE AWMS to anyone who’s serious about a garage or workshop radio: they’re built for the ages (no one else uses laminated construction for their sound systems) and models from the mid to late 80s and 90s are still going strong as long as you give the slider volume controls a shot of your favorite Cramoline substitute. As a result of their brick-tough construction, you can find them for $250 all day long in the secondary market.

      Reply
      • -Nate-Nate

        Izzat so ? .
        .
        I’ve been wanting a good Garage radio for some time and have also always wanted a BOSE but $250 ~ yikes .
        .
        I know that if it lasts and doesn’t begin drifting off station like _every_single_other_radio_ I’ve put out there it’ll be well worth it but that’s close to my monthly food budget .
        .
        -Nate

        Reply
        • Felis Concolor

          Later models feature a simplified CD door and soft touch buttons instead of sliders, while still maintaining the laminated construction which was a major factor in their $1000+ purchase price when new. Apart from the LCD display’s backlight giving out 10 years ago, I’ve not suffered any issue with the boring beige unit in the house. If you can find someone who has one just to sample its sound and performance, I highly recommend an in-person audition before buying, but it’s outlasted much nicer units from Boston Acoustics, Cambridge Soundworks and Tivoli Audio.

          Reply
        • Eric H

          Does anyone still use a radio? I haven’t had an antenna hooked up to a receiver in well over a decade.
          The endless commercials have driven me away.
          And Bose? Really? A $100 amp and speakers from craigslist will kill it.

          Reply
          • -Nate-Nate

            THANX Felis ! .
            .
            I’m one of those who always loved and always will love, the Radio .
            .
            It certainly isn’t what it used to be thanks to the gop destroying the fairness doctrine but there’s still lots of good music out there if you want to listen .
            .
            Looking at E-Bay I see there’s a serious price drop when you look at only the Radios ~ I wasn’t interested in any CD playing .
            .
            As of yet I’ve never heard a BOSE system playing so I can’t see to paying $100 for an old radio….
            .
            I’d love to be convinced though .
            .
            -Nate

  5. Bigtruckseriesreview

    As far as cars go… I’m gonna trade my Jeep SRT for the Trackhawk ASAP. that will probably be the last gasoline powered car I buy.

    after that I definitely will have an EV luxury car as my daily driver.

    SRT vehicles hold their value very well.

    Reply
  6. DirtRoads

    My Dad left my a 1953 Grundig radio, which I proudly display and listen to in my living room. It’s worth more than he paid for it. I used to listen to it in my bedroom as a kid, all the short wave and long wave stations coming in from a triangle antenna we put on the roof. I heard Russian radio, German radio, what I thought must be satellite transmissions, Radio Free Europe and many amazing things. That gives this particular radio immense value, actually more than anyone could or would pay for it. Once I’m dead and gone it will just be an old German tube-based radio worth whatever the market will bear.

    Other than that, I have a Macintosh IIcx and IIci I would sell, and even one of the first PowerBooks (grey body with mono screen) around somewhere. I’ll even throw in the ImageWriter printer. I don’t think they’re worth a plugged nickel, which is why someone will eventually want them, right?

    Reply
  7. lzaffuto

    I’ve got a bunch of plastic model 1/18 scale WW2 airplanes. They were made by a handful of companies in the early-mid 2000s and sold for $40-100. They are now worth $250-500. People that like them and want them (like me) REALLY want them, but although almost everyone thinks they are the coolest thing ever most people don’t have room for them which is why they didn’t sell very well. These things have wingspans of a few feet and bodies that are even longer. Therefore, you have a relatively small supply with a very rabid fanbase that wants what is left out there. I suspect they will only get more expensive at least in my lifetime.

    Reply
  8. Disinterested-Observer

    I always think it is funny on Antiques Roadshow when they bring in some old jewelry or an old piece of furniture and it is basically worth what it’s worth, whereas well preserved tin toy that cost a nickel the 30’s will be worth a fortune.

    Reply
  9. Dave L

    Explains the vintage Rolex market. Most of the watches look like tag sale garbage and were sold well below 4 figures when new. Their selling prices are staggering.

    Reply
  10. viper32cm

    Great post. I wound up pondering a lot of these issues in my car search over the past three plus years. BTW, I do plan to actually send you something concerning said car. I just need to find the time to write it amongst all the other things I have to write professionally, and, spoiler alert, it’ll probably be more about the process than the actual car.

    “Vintage computers have only sentimental value”

    I’m not so sure about this one. Beginning sometime in 2007 with the advent in popularity of “The Angry Video Game Nerd” and other various personalities, I think the great nostalgia monster for vintage video games awoke in the late-Gen-X/early-Millenial crowd. Values are through the roof for a lot of older systems and games, especially if you have manuals and boxes. Look up the values for “Stadium Events” for the NES or “Conker’s Bad Fur Day” for the N64 and you’ll see what I mean. As for computers, based on what I’ve seen on YouTube, it appears that working IBM 5150s and original Apple Macintoshs are going for relatively serious money. Going into the 90s, it looks like values for the 3Dfx Voodoo and Voodoo II cards are holding up pretty well. Also, certain complete good condition “big box” PC games are going for a lot more than most people would expect for 10-30 year old, obsolete software. I don’t know as much about the old 8-bit computers, save how to operate my CoCo3, but, again, based on YouTube, I think the Commodore systems are doing pretty well value-wise. Hell, I’ve heard at least one guy say that the original “2G” iPhones are going up in value.

    Actually, speaking of collectibles, I’m kind of looking forward to the Boomer’s eventual exit from the collector car market and the continued Millennial’s obsession with vintage video game systems and computers, as I’d like a shot at, inter alia, buying an E-Type, Austin-Healey 100, and/or Mercedes-Benz 190SL at a reasonable price.

    Reply
    • Dirty Dingus McGee

      I think a “reasonable” price on your wish list vehicles is going to be subjective. If you are hoping for a preserved/restored one for less than $50K, that just ain’t gonna happen. One in the $50-75K range, maybe if the planets align correctly. These are rare, desirable and expensive to restore, unlike say a Model A Ford or a late sixties VW bug. I’m a mid boomer, born in 57, so I was too late for the traditional hot rod years, yet good examples still trade in the $30-50K range. Same with old Duesenburgs, Packards, Cadillac’s, etc, which it’s always assumed that folks older than I are into. I would love to have a V-16 Caddy, but $100K plus just isn’t in my budget. Same with a 57 Fuelie 4 speed Corvette or a 58-60 Alfa Giulietta

      TL;DR Expensive desirable vehicles are always gonna expensive

      Reply
      • viper32cm

        Hey, I can dream :-).

        In any event, you are close in my estimation of “reasonable price.” For what it’s worth, Austin-Healey 100s are still available for under $75,000. Just this past September, I saw a G/VG condition car at a dealer with some period-correct modifications selling for $60,000. Within the past two to three years, I remember seeing a few, mostly BN1 cars, listed for around $50,000. Heck, as recently as two years ago, I saw a good condition Series 1.5 E-Type 2+2 with a stick selling for $35,000 at a dealer. As you might suspect, the car was sold very quickly, but, now, I don’t think there’s anyway you’re going to see manual transmission E-Types of that vintage for that type of money.

        This article has some interesting insights on the generational effect: http://www.caranddriver.com/features/baby-boomers-created-the-classic-car-marketand-could-crash-it-feature

        Reply
        • Dirty Dingus McGee

          Nothing wrong with dreaming. Hell, I dream of popping open the door of an old barn and finding a Hemi anything/big block 67 Corvette/Shelby Mustang, etc. Reality is; ain’t likely to happen. I do agree that tastes are changing and some prices are holding or dropping some. But, certain vehicles are not likely to drop to “used Camry” levels. I attend several car shows a year to show various vehicles I have. There are a good number of younger folks, 25-45 years old, that are into the older iron. There is beginning to be more early Japanese iron in the shows, but the majority are into old American iron. If you go to an Import show, most are European, with a good dose of early Japanese iron. The “stanced” and “ricer” crowds have their own shows and are unlikely to attend “traditional” type shows.I think a lot of folks these days also want drivers, not trailer queens. While I certainly wouldn’t want to daily drive a Hemi ‘Cuda convertible, I’m not as worried about my 65 Dart GT convertible, or my 60 Studebaker Lark. Even my 86 Shelby Charger gets a few hundred miles a year, because I like to actually drive my iron. Bikes also. My 73 Ironhead Sportster chopper gets a few hundred miles a year. It shakes and vibrates, the brakes suck (and the rear one is on the “wrong” side), but its fun. For daily riding, my Roadglide or Road King, or even my BMW K100RT are much more civilized. Not as much fun tho. Like anything else, collectible is in the eye of the owner. I collect old tools. A niche market if ever there was one. Most I find at estate sales because nobody wants that old piece of crap. I once bought 2 large boxes of old tools for $25. One level, 20’s vintage wooden Stanley, was alone worth over $200, but only to the right person. I did sell it, because I already had a better condition one, that had been owned by my great grandfather..

          Reply
  11. Aoletsgo

    Not much of a collector myself. My philosophy is buy it, ride it hard, put it away wet, then give/throw it away.
    The only exception was the stack of American Gold Eagles I bought back in 2003 and 2004 for $400, I sold a few at $1,500 but I am now keeping them as the ultimate back up against a total crash.

    Reply
  12. -Nate-Nate

    Too bad you didn’t have a short barreled scatter gun loaded with rock salt Jack….
    .
    Oh, wait – I guess you can’t do that anymore ? .
    .
    ‘ collectables ‘ is bullshit .
    .
    I recently bought a battered old 1959 VW Beetle and as soon as I got it drive able, random folks began offering me close to twice what I paid for it…..
    .
    Madness ~ I have what I have because I like not because some rich asshole told me it was ” !COOL! ” .
    .
    -Nate

    Reply
    • Jack BaruthJack Baruth Post author

      No. I have relatively small hands (glove size 11) and I had to train myself to hold onto the thing securely.

      Reply
      • Paul in Las Vegas

        Don’t get me wrong, I love them. I got one in the early 90’s when I was shooting IPSC and it drove the 1911 fanboys nuts. BTW… if you’re writing for TTAG would it be possible to drop some links in?

        Reply
  13. kvndoom

    NES/SNES cartridges. Ugh if I could tell my 1996 self to have bought an extra Chrono Trigger and never open it. That $75 would be worth $3000 today.

    I still have my cartridge but I won’t sell it. Used in the box is worth $130 but that is part of history, one of the greatest games of all time. I’d rather keep it.

    Reply
    • Economist

      My copy of Earthbound fetched around $150 on Ebay a few years ago. I don’t remember Chrono Trigger getting anywhere near $75 though.

      Reply
  14. Michael

    I’ve been collecting vintage first pressing Compact Discs from the dawn of the format. For the most part they sound better than anything with a remastered label post 1994. No thank you Pro Tools and No-Noise.

    The only thing I ever bought that might hold value is a watch I bought for my ex-wife. What she doesn’t know is that I really bought it for my daughter.

    Cheers, Michael

    Reply
  15. Joshua Johnson

    The silver proof sets are where value is at least partially retained. I collected the sets from 1999-2008 during the state quarter years, having bought 2 sets of silver and 1 set of the clad with the intention of reselling one of the silvers at some later date, and keeping the others for my own numismatic interests. It pains the collector in me that one can purchase the entire 1999-2008 run of clad coins for less ($59) than one year of the silver (1999 is $95, but falls to about $30 each after that). However, it makes sense from a economic perspective for the exact reasons you outlined- the market ultimately values these coins at intrinsic value, which may be less than face value.

    For crystal ball predictions, I see older, complete, Lego sets being worth a few $$ more than purchase price for the Gen-X and Millennial generations. Of course more $$$ with the damn box. Most of my older castle sets are worth exactly what my parents paid for them in 1995, without the boxes.

    Reply
  16. Jeff Zekas

    There is a difference between collectibles, antiques and speculation objects. Collectibles are objects designed from day one to be saved and put away, like those baseball cards and coin sets from the mint. Antiques are daily objects that folks later find valuable. Speculation is the tulip market back in the day, when prices were crazy due to speculation instead of actuall value, leading to a crash. BTW: my grandmother started collecting antique furniture back in 1920, so collecting cool old stuff didn’t start with the boomers. The main rule with old cars is: once the folks who grew up with that car either die, or buy every one available, the prices will come back down. We see this with Model T and Model A Fords, along with the Woodie market, which was crazy for awhile.

    Reply
  17. One Leg at a Time

    Collectible speculation is so excellent. The Franklin mint and similar companies have made a fortune off of people like my father-in-law who have a ton of overproduced, individually-numbered tchotchkes that are still “new in box”. Mine came in the form of the 1986 Donruss Baseball Cards set (I didn’t enjoy baseball cards enough to continue collecting) and comics from the early 90’s.

    The cards have been missing for decades, and I sold the comics for about a nickel apiece when my wife tired of the “stupid boxes full of shrink-wrapped idiocy”.

    Reply
  18. wlitten

    Guns.
    Guns do and will hold their value. They are generally a better investment than stocks.
    Any one fortunate enough to own a Colt Python or Anaconda has seen a marked increase in value. Winchester Model 70 rifles, especially pre-64′ examples, have only increased in value. Smith & Wesson revolvers with out the built in safety locks and the older better finish have increased in value. Hell, an HK P7 squeeze cocker goes for stupid prices today, not that they were cheap to begin with. Pretty much anything that isn’t an AR-15 or a Glock will hold its value if not actually see an increase in that value.
    Plus, they don’t really wear out. A 100 year old gun that was at least cleaned and oiled a few times is just as good today as the day it was made, probably still will be 100 years from now.

    Reply
  19. Rick T.

    Collect antiques (furniture and prints older than 19th century) but no collectibles. A truism is that everything valuable is old but not everything old is valuable.

    Reply
  20. Tom KlockauTom Klockau

    One thing that surprised me is the value of 1/18 Highway 61 models. Bought a ton in 2004-08 or so, particularly because of their fine renditions of E-body Mopars. A few years back my brother informed me they are going for stupid money on ebay. Whodathunk? I bought them just because I thought they were cool. But it’s kind of nice to know they’re worth more than I purchased them for. My favorite is the ’70 Hemi ‘cuda coupe, red with red interior, one of the first issues from 2003.

    Reply
  21. Max Hoffman

    Many film Leica M rangefinders hold their value. A good number do appreciate (as do the lenses). In a low interest rate environment, easily portable Veblen Goods (Leicas, Patek Philippe watches, air-cooled 911s) are a good bet.

    Reply
  22. Charles

    All four criteria are satisfied by a Big Four sportbike between the ’85 GPz900 Ninja and the ’07 Yamaha R6.

    The question is – is it worth the new-in-crate premium over an A-condition bike that’s been ridden regularly?

    Reply
    • Charles

      Widowmakers and superlatives get the x-factor bonus:

      First CBR900, TL1000S, ZX-11, first-gen Hayabusa, ’96-00 ZX-6R (lightest carbureted 600), air/oil GSX-R 7/11, Aprilia Mille (least streetable riding position).

      There will be too many good Ducati 916s for Ducati 916s to ever be worth more than they are today. They were expensive enough that only adults bought them, common enough to save the company, recognized as an instant classic immediately, and similar enough to faster bikes that they were passed over by the trackies in favor of 996/998/1098 as soon as those were a few years old. 999s are already appreciating, and maybe they are different.

      Reply

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