November 17, 2010

Collections v. Collectibles

I received an e-mail this morning suggesting that I buy some company’s Christmas Entertaining Collectibles, starting at just $39.95!  That got me thinking about things that one collects versus collectibles and what the difference is, exactly.

To me, a collection is something that you amass over the years, searching for it piece by piece. You might poke around the dusty corners of an old book shop or barn, or even the remote corners of Ebay to find that certain piece to complete your collection.



Most collectors that I know, myself included, can tell you the circumstances surrounding each piece in their collection – and are willing to talk to you about it at length!trinket boxes In my mind, collectibles are things like Beanie Babies, Franklin Mint Plates and Pokeman cards. They are something that you just go into a store and buy, or you order them via a payment plan scheme.

A few years ago, people were collecting Beanie Babies as an investment, but it’s hard to think that something that is mass produced is going to increase in value substantially enough to be an investment for the future.BeanieBabies Although there are supposed to be limited editions, that was always doubtful.  stooges

Do you delineate between the collections and collectibles? Is there a difference in your mind between the two of these things, or is the line blurred. Let me know your thoughts!

P.S.  I am sorry if anyone was confused by my mini-rant yesterday. I am being bothered by a commenter who’s pushing their commercial interests and leaves a dozen comments at a time. I’ve asked them to stop, but they persist and I do not want to give them free advertising. Hence, the call-out.


  1. So funny...that last photo. I am waiting for a Reality Design show where the competitors have to use things like this in their designs. Ha!

    I agree with you...collections are gathered over time. The word "collectibles" does make one thing of little figurines of children or newly minted gold plated coins with the image of all the presidents.

    But then there are people who collect barbie dolls...and I guess the old ones are worth something....but not until they are rare....I guess that is the difference. Rarity.

  2. For better or worse, people in this country like to be told what to do. The "collectibles" market is for people who are not really sure what they like or want, or, how to go about finding it. Manufacturers therefore tell them what they want and how valuable it is and how to display it and many people are all too happy to follow along. It makes them feel good about themselves. They feel like they belong to a club. (Not unlike much of politics these days.) I suppose if it makes someone happy then it is fine, although, like you, I prefer to create my own collections from ridiculous or beautiful things I decide all on my own to amass, (cookie jars, tablecloths, mixing bowls, old banged up tin toys, vintage paper...the list is endless!) and, to display them however I like. My husband thinks I'm a hoarder, but, hey, I do not even have that Three Stooges Plate!

  3. being a collector of almost everything (my house has a path thru each room -saves on vacuuming), i have always advised all my friends to eschew IRAs and 401Ks and collect Happy Meal Toys. Beanie babies and Avon are pretty much worthless but HMTs in the bag from the early days are quite valuable e.g. all 8 pieces of Inspector Gadget are selling for about $150 now. i paid $16 at the take out window. thats about a 900 per cent increase in just ten years. inflation proof, recession proof, no stock market crashes affect them, cheaper than T Bonds - the perfect investment and with so many auction sites - easy to dispose of. i'm keeping them for my retirement.
    as far as collecting antiques, now is the time to buy as places like ebay have practically put building based auctions out of business. prices on everything from furniture to china is cheap, cheap, cheap. last month, i saw a solid maple Ethan Allen Hutch about 6 feet long which probably went for 2 or 3 grand new sell for 50 bucks. so go buy and invest.

  4. had to add one more comment to Carmen and Ginger. a hoarder collects with no thought of ever doing anything with what they haul in. a collector either has a bunch of one thing or plans to sell what they buy. my ex neighbor was/is a hoarder. i know. i helped her move twice and even tho most of what we moved had no value whatsoever, you couldn't convince to get rid of any. i, on the other hand, sell regularly on ebay and this past summer held two Freecycle yardsales in which i gave everything away which makes me a collector.

  5. I used to collect small things that brought me pleasure, like bottles made of blue glass and bits of china with violets on them. These days my collections seem to find me. Family items that have grouped themselves into little collections of pocket watches and pocket knives and photos and china and and and....Some folks collect things because they love them, others because they hope to have amassed wealth.. My collections are pure memories. Collectibles are just something you have to dust.

  6. Yes, there's a very distinct line.

    * Collection: Things that I get for myself which I actually like

    * Collectibles: Things relatives buy you for presents that you keep in the attic for at least seven years before taking them to Salvation Army.

  7. Yup, collectible says "contrived value" to me,when it is used a noun. The verb "to be collectible" could connote something actually worthwhile to me.

  8. Totally agree with you and everyone else who has commented. Collectibles are what all of us interested in a high aesthetic level dread and collections exactly what we adore. And speaking of adore, LOVE the tortoise boxes!

  9. I am simply going to ditto Quintessence (and the boxes, also).

  10. Love the tortoise boxes AND the mini-rant yesterday. (Did it work?)

  11. I totally would agree with you 100%. Most collectibles, in turn, sort of make me shudder: franklin mint *groan*. However -i do have a few collectible 'plates' i hold on to that were my grandmother's of rodgers & hammerstein musicals. She had them in her tv room and someday if I have a bigger house I'll probably display them in a private nook. I would never buy them myself but I treasure the memories behind them.

  12. My mother gets pulled in by those "collectable" ads. She insists they will increase in value. It's taken me ages to convince her otherwise. Now that she is 84, the lightbulb has finally *lit*


  13. No worries about the "rant", it made sense to me. But I do have to say seeing your post signed by "the Management" made me laugh.

    Thanks for that.

  14. 100% agree with you. I simply call so call collectibles a junk.

  15. When my mother-in-law died none of her three daughters wanted her vast (and I mean a lot!) collection of Bing & Grondahl Christmas plates - knowing I collected flow blue, they were given to me - after a couple of years (conscience starts to ease up)and checking ebay and finding they were not worth much and having no desire to store or display them, I donated them to a great charity before I moved - these and the Royal Copenhagen Christmas plates do sort of straddle the line - don't you think so?

    Suzanne on St. Simons


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