Americans collect numerous valued items, ranging from action figures to Christmas villages. Statistics indicate that sales in the collectibles industry in America are up 63 percent from 2010 to 2011, according to a recent report conducted by CVV, the French Auction Market Authority. The U.S. currently represents 27 percent of the global market share of collectibles. And collectibles are the largest single group of items listed for sale on auction site eBay.
The ComicCon International show—which started 42 years ago as a showcase for comic books, science fiction/fantasy and film/television—in 2010 drew 130,000 attendees to the San Diego convention center. The convention has expanded over the years to include a larger range of pop culture, such as horror, animation, anime, toys, collectible card games, video games, webcomics and fantasy novels.
Stamps continue to be one of the most widely appreciated items, due in part to their accessibility, stylistic variations and modest pricing. A recent Chinese stamp dated 1882 sold at eBay auction for a whopping U.S. $11,300.
Many coin collections begin as a passing fancy during childhood and develop into a labor of love. Coins from ancient times to the latest from the U.S. Mint are collected today. Coin values are influenced by five factors: scarcity or rarity, condition or grade, value of the precious metals contained in the coin, demand and quality.
A recent major milestone—New York Yankees shortstop Derek Jeter recorded his 3,000th hit with a home run, and the record-breaking ball was estimated to be valued at upward of $300,000—drove home just how valuable sports collectibles can be. Baseball cards are among the most-searched collectibles on eBay.
Electric model trains date to 1896. By the 1950s, metal toy trains were among the most-owned toys in the U.S., in part because the end of World War II freed up factories and metal for toy manufacturing rather than weapons.
Dolls have been a popular collectible item since the 1850s, when artisans would handcraft wooden figures and painstakingly paint the features. It’s commonplace for hobbyists to add to their collections around the holidays by asking for dolls, clothes, houses and furniture as gifts. The industry routinely prospers in the fall and winter, as well as on key dates throughout the year such as Mother’s Day and Valentine’s Day.