Several times over the past 30 years of writing for the Farm and Dairy, folks who have read this fine publication and my article have quizzed me on what to collect that might be of interest in the future or for investment purposes.
There are those of us pack rats who have followed, and still do today, an old Scotsman’s suggestion – “Save everything, at least for seven years, somebody or some occasion may arise, when it is needed or sought.”
Often my answer has been collect what your interest is mostly. Space is often limited, so collect with that in mind, choose carefully what to discard and what to preserve. Often emotion and personal feelings may influence your decisions, monetary values may also prevail. You have to fill your shelves with things you think you may be able to sell.
Heirlooms are not included in these kinds of considerations, unless forced by harsh financial realities.
World of enjoyment. Between the pack rat and forced decisions on what to discard is a vast world of pure enjoyment. To the product folks I suggest it is possible to enjoy your collection if caution is practiced in expense.
Todays things do have to be considered carefully, with a practiced eye on what may be sought out tomorrow. Value is often a personal decision – what you may value may not be so valued by others.
There is, however, no sure formula for tomorrow’s taste. What collectors and dealers thought was hot at one time may be cold as ice a few years down the road. The memories of collectors are full of examples.
Avon glass, high priced a decade or so ago, is now a space filler. Folks once stood in line to acquire Jim Beam Bottles. Now there are only a few on display. Insulators were once sought after, dug for, traded, and priced as treasures. Where are they now? And who can forget Cabbage Patch dolls.
Buyer interest. And when the shelves need to be cleared, the purchasing public also can be a fluctuating market. What once could be sold almost anywhere now gets picked up and put back by a dozen or so people before someone finally decides to buy.
A collector may spend thousands of dollars on a mechanical devise or vehicle, and the next day be haggling over a dollar or less at a flea market or yard sale.
Some items of interest today that experts seem to agree may be good prospects for tomorrow are of jewelry and decorative objects of precious metals, precious and semi-precious gems; native American collectables; old advertisements (signs, magazine ads, prints), but here dates are important.
Old manufactured and hand made furniture always has a market.
Accessories such as kitchen utensils and wall hung racks look like a good bet, as do a few crocks, bottles (milk bottles the best), pots, kettles, wooden handled utensils, even toasters, waffle irons, and coffee and tea pots, especially the Art Nouveau era items.
Always a chance. However if you are collecting as an investment, expect a cash return on what you buy, you can never be certain of the outcome. Collecting, like life is always a chance, not a certainty. And when you have the good luck to pick right, you have to feel fortunate that it happened.
Collecting is just as uncertain, just as much of a chance as the stock market, but a lot more enjoyable.