The Stories Behind Your Favorite Antiques and Collectibles

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Antiques and Collectibles

Back in 2014, avid collector David Adams put a rare original copy of Action Steel #1 comic book up for auction on eBay.

Bidding started at a measly 99c. Within two hours, the price skyrocketed to $1.5 million. As bidding wrapped up, Adams had sold his comic book for over $3 million.

While some collectibles are valuable, most collections won’t earn their owners millions of dollars. Most collectors are in it for the devotion, not the dosh.

Let’s take a look at some of the world’s most collected items and how these antiques and collectibles came to be so popular.

Collectible Coins

People have used coins to regulate trade since at least 700 BC. Known as the “Hobby of Kings”, coin collecting has long been a diversion of the wealthy. Today, people collect these precious trinkets as much for their artistic or historical value as their intrinsic value.

An interesting sub-section of coin collecting is the collection of challenge coins. These coins first appeared after World War I, when a pilot downed behind enemy lines made a small metal medallion that could be used to identify himself when he got back to his compatriots.

Off-duty soldiers developed a game to determine who would buy the next round of beer. The rules of the game are complicated, but basically, anyone who didn’t have their challenge coin on them would have to buy the next round.

If you’re looking to learn more about coin collecting, the American Numismatic Association has chapters all across the country. It offers a wide range of courses in everything from grading coins to teaching about collectibles.

Comics and Collectibles

Comic book collectors were born the minute Action Comic #1, the world’s first popular comic book, left the printing press in 1938.

If you’re a reader of comic books then you are already a collector, though some readers are more passionate collectors than others. Comic book fans add to their collections by buying newly printed magazines as well as acquiring old editions from sites like eBay, Heritage Comics, or even Facebook Marketplace.

People also collect items related to the various comic book universes they are interested in. They will collect figurines, toys, costumes, posters, and other ephemera, and will also attend conventions like ComicCon to connect with other fans.

The Library of Congress has an enormous collection of American and overseas comic books: more than 140,000 issues in total. Collected through purchase and donation, some of the comic books date from as far back as the 1930s.

Dolls: From Kestner to Bratz

Some people collect delicate antique porcelain dolls. Others covet celebrity look-alike Barbies. The types of dolls people collect are as varied as the collectors themselves.

The psychology behind doll collecting is fascinating. While some collectors hoard rare dolls only for their monetary value, most collectors want a certain type of doll because they just love them. Nostalgia, the costumes, the history, family tradition… It’s all part of the appeal.

Antique dolls in good condition can sell for hundreds or even thousands of dollars at auction or on the secondary market. Keep them in as original condition as possible to get the best price.

Antiques and Collectibles: They’re What You Make of Them

The antiques and collectibles market can be lucrative for those who find a popular niche, such as military collectibles. But of course, anything that comes in a series or fits under a certain category is collectible. You just need to be passionate enough about seeking it out, organizing, cataloging, and displaying it.

For more tips on expanding your collections, be it comics or clothes, browse other articles on our website.