Date of Publication: 5/17/11:
This is an eBay guide written by myself; a fellow antique and collectibles dealer, investor, and collector. It is PART of a series I have written that is featured solely on eBay for FREE; as way to share my views on the antiques and collectibles industry and what new 'trends' are developing. Be sure to check out my other eBay guides, as they are all available for reading FREE of charge; right here on eBay under my 'electrogames' eBay account.
Before I start this guide, it is important I mention one quick point. I have been asked why I have not been writing so many eBay guides lately. In fact, I have been getting a lot of great emails on this subject. My time, health, and career responsibilities aside, a lot of my 'guides' are being 'copied', 'misquoted', 'summarized' and even 'stolen.' Keep in mind that I know who you are and what you are doing. These 'guides' are my own work and should NOT be appearing anywhere else in any form. Enough said...now onto the guide!
It has been many years now since the very FIRST episode of 'Pawn Stars' and before that, 'Antiques Roadshow'; have graced the television screen. That being said, since that time a LOT of changes, trends, and market appreciation and depreciation; has occurred in the world of antiques and collectibles. Both the History Channel, A & E, PBS, and other stations continually televised reruns of these popular television shows. This is expected; as most of these shows, especially 'American Pickers' and 'Pawn Stars'; are top notch. Heck, I even own the full boxed set of all these shows. That being said, it is now starting to cause a MAJOR headache for antique and collectible dealers like myself. This may come as a surprise, but this is affecting the collecting market in a unique and unexpected way.
As of right now, and of the time of this writing; 'Pawn Stars' is at least four to five years old. The shows from the first season are still being aired and are much enjoyed by myself and other fans around the country and the overall collecting communities. That being said, to the unskilled person whose only knowledge comes from watching these television shows, a major trend has occurred. One thing one must understand when analyzing any MARKET (this is basic economics) is that markets are cyclical. The antiques and collectibles market is no different. Therefore, what was SHOWN in episode two of season one on a particular reality television show, as being worth 'X' amount of dollars, may actually be less than half that today. It should be noted that the opposite could also have occurred and the item in question could now be worth two times what it was originally quoted as. Markets, especially those as fickle as the antiques and collectibles trade; can and do change FREQUENTLY. That being said, the most ridiculous statement I have ever heard being stated in the antiques and collectibles trade is that 'all collectibles and antiques go up in value.' NOTHING could be further from the truth. Just ask anyone who 'invested' in Beanie Babies or sports cards in the 1990's. These items lost a LOT of their value. One must also realize that as of right now the antique market in America is in severe trouble. This is something that no one wants to admit; but it is happening at an alarming pace. Besides some stable categories (certain antique furniture, antique toys, vintage bottles and marbles, vintage art glass, Tiffany lamps,and a few other areas (vintage advertising comes to mind)); sales of antiques across the board is down, way down. Collectibles have taken over. This is somewhat unfortunate; as today's collectors differ a lot from their parents and grandparents who are now downsizing their estates. Collectors in their twenties and thirties appreciate mass produced objects like comic books, toys, and contemporary studio art glass. While I do too; and there is NOTHING wrong with this; way too many people are happy to buy reproductions from classic antique eras, while spending thousands of dollars for an item that was mass produced in China or Taiwan. Unfortunately, this is not, however, the topic of this guide. It just seems to fit in with what I am trying to convey.
When someone outside of the collecting world researches an item of value; all to often the price they find is years old and is no longer valid. This usually means that they do not understand the item may have appreciated (or depreciated; as in most cases) in value since they perceived to research in item in question through the internet or worse yet; saw a similar item on a 'collecting based reality television show.' I know people who will argue with me into they are 'blue in the face' that their Atari 2600 is worth over $100 as is. They don't realize that on eBay these systems sell for $49.95; sometimes in the box; with A LOT of games and accessories included. The market is NO LONGER there. When I ask how many they sell at their proposed price, it always seems to amaze me that I never get an answer. I do however get told, that they 'saw it on TV.' This is a MAJOR issue happening within the industry. Items decrease and increase in value on a daily basis. Collecting categories spike and die off as quickly as they appear. Unless you have a true 'blue chip' collectible, expect to be disappointed at the value you will receive for the item in a tight economy.
In conclusion, I wish more collectors understood and wanted to learn about TRUE antiques. The objects of our past are disappearing at an alarming rate and as people age the newer generations just don't seem to care. While I believe this trend will change in time, I certainly wish that some of my collecting friends who are in 'deep amazement' over my CGC graded comic book collection; would also understand the beauty and value in my vintage 'art deco' and 'Victorian' art glass collections; and my vintage marble collection (like other collectors do). It always amazed me that when a highly recognized and esteemed local auction house got into the vintage comic book market; a lot of comic book collectors I know of asked 'how do you sort through all those advertising things to get to the comic books on their website.' I was appalled by that statement and question; as those vintage advertising pieces are much more valuable and much more hard to find than MOST of the 'comic books in question.' This truly makes me understand the quote that states 'beauty is in the eye of the beholder.' I only hope my generation will LEARN to appreciate what the previous generation has cherished. This will come in time; and that is why I still believe in the antiques and collectibles market and continue to collect; for age, brings knowledge, experience, and patience. And it is patience in that which is most required to enjoy objects from the past...
Till next time...keep on collecting...
DISCLAIMER: PLEASE UNDERSTAND THAT MY EBAY GUIDES; INCLUDING THIS ONE, ARE BASED ON MY OWN PERSPECTIVE OF THE INDUSTRY AND HOBBY AS A WHOLE. IT IS NOT INTENDED TO GIVE FINACIAL ADVICE OR SHOULD BE IMPLIED AS SUCH. THE ANTIQUES AND COLLECTIBLES MARKET IS AN UNREGULATED SECONDARY MARKET WITH A LOT OF RISKS. I AM NOT LIABLE OR RESPONSIBLE FOR ANY LOSS OF MONETARY VALUE OR OTHERWISE; AS A RESULT OF THIS OR ANY GUIDE I WRITE; JUST LIKE I AM NOT RESPONSIBLE FOR ANY MONETARY GAIN (OR OTHERWISE).
MY BEST ADVISE IS BUY WHAT YOU KNOW, LEARN ABOUT WHAT YOU DON'T, BE PATIENT, AND BUY WHAT YOU LOVE AND YOU WILL NEVER GO WRONG...