Ask the Appraiser: Collecting and Collections!
Collecting ads zip to your life and clutter to your house, but who cares as long as you enjoy the pursuit. The collector who collects for the pleasure that each item brings is living in the real world; however, the collector who thinks each treasure found becomes an investment is living in fantasyland. Many times as appraisers, we are forced to give some unpopular news.
Recently we were asked to appraise a man's collection of die cast Hot Wheels and Matchbox cars that were the rage from 1988 to 1999. He had a room with over four hundred and fifty Hot Wheels all in their original boxes or cartons and in excellent condition. He just knew his Pony Packs, Muscle Cars, Caterpillar Action Machines, and a hefty number of Matchbox cars would double or even triple in value.
The collector was knowledgeable, but he had no particular direction in his collection. It was just stuff, and lots of it. He did not narrow his pickings, nor did he have a set criteria. The bottom line: it was worth face value. True there are some that escalate in value and to the real collector he knows that to get a return on the car he must belong to a specialty club and find that buyer who will pay the $385.00 for the Matchbox 1955 six Wheel Quarry Truck!
Another collection we appraised was Hummels, lots of them. Most people have one or two, but to the avid collector, dozens. Before Ebay narrowed the buying world and opened up once locked markets, Hummels were expensive and regulated. Not now. A buyer can head off to Costco and buy a four inch "Merry Wanderer" for less than $100.00 compared to one that was purchased in Europe in 1985 for over $250.00. Values have shifted and what once was a collection of merit, just a memory. But to the keen collector who knows the history of marks and symbols, the early ones still hold value, but only to the buyer who is looking.
So collect for the pleasure!