Things that always increase in value?

n2cookinMarch 31, 2008

I want to start collecting things that will eventually increase in value. Guess you might say I want to invest in some assets. So what kinds of things would that be? Like antique furniture, dishes, maybe? Will that sort of thing always increase in value? Or maybe not so much in my own lifetime? Seems I always buy cheap stuff I like, but nothing that would ever increase in value one day. Any suggestions? What gets a good return nowadays? I love any kind of home/kitchen items.

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Would that we were all smart enough to know what the hot items will be!
Things that people most often throw away will have increased value in a few years because they are scarce.
Things that have intrinsic value will will appreciate....but the question is what will appreciate the most?
I wish I knew!
Linda C

    Bookmark   April 1, 2008 at 12:54AM
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Boy--Don't we all wish we knew the answer to that one. How many things have we all thrown away over the years because they were out of date junk only to find that 40 or 50 years later they are highly collectible? Red Wing crocks are a big deal in this area, but you know that thousands of them were thrown away because they really weren't practical to use any more. Who knew that a sauerkraut or pickle crock was going to be worth thousands of dollars someday?

I collect what appeals to me, always buy the best quality I can afford, avoid damaged goods and I don't second guess myself. I never pay more than I can afford to lose, and I figure that these things will always be worth SOMETHING. I don't go to the casino, so this is my form of gambling, I guess!


    Bookmark   April 1, 2008 at 10:52AM
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I also might say avoid the "gimmicks". I have seen people spend big bucks at auction for Avon bottles, only to see them decline in price (I won't say value because they really have no value). Bradford mint "collector plates" are another artificial collectable.
When a friend was downsizing a few years back she called me to find out what her full set in the series, boxed, never exposed to the light of day Bradford Exchange plates. She had been collecting them for about 20 years and paid between $14 and $20 each. I had to tell her she would be lucky to get $100 out of the whole set.....and backed up my allegation with examples of asking prices for the same.
So....lots of things will, perhaps, be worth nothing.
I am also old enough to remember when a box stacked full of depression glass could not get a bid of $.25 at an auction. Time and again I saw depression glass hauled to the dump. That was between 1965 and about 1972...if I had known, $3.00 investment would have netted me a nice profit today.
Linda C

    Bookmark   April 1, 2008 at 11:10AM
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One answer might be "things they don't make more of". Like old coins, stamps, Old Masters. You could take a look at various auction house sites, both grand and local, to see what prices things can reach.

Buying only the best, unmarred, and as complete as possible (toys with boxes, books with dust jackets, etc.) is one key.

    Bookmark   April 1, 2008 at 12:37PM
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I have a friend who told me once..."Save everything" Wheaties boxes with athletes on the front, save spice containers,coffee cans. When your kid gets a toy, carefully remove the box and save it andw hen they outgrow the toy, put it in the box and save it, save soap in the wrapper, save laundry soap boxes, old postcards, hand tools, t-shirts with a timely saying. Save the stuff other's throw away.
The problem with Avon bottles is that they were marketed as something to collect, so no one threw them away and there were so many they lost any value they might have had.
Linda C

    Bookmark   April 1, 2008 at 1:11PM
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There are antique appraisal classes where I live at both a college and an Adult night school, so I hope to take one soon. Might as well try to make my guesses as educated as possible. There are also lots of directory-style books that tell you what you found at that garage sale. Look at Amazon for new or used copies of them.

My best guess is Disney items. My worst guess is toys and games from the 1950's because after the Baby boomers are gone, nobody will remember them. Hop-a-Long WHO?

    Bookmark   April 1, 2008 at 7:40PM
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My guess would be things that Gen Xr's remember from their childhood. It seems that nostalgia drives the trends and everyone wants to recreate the memories from their childhood, either what they had or what they weren't able to have. Nintendo game systems, games, etc., maybe electronics like the original "brick" cell phones or Sony Walkmans. But the trick is to buy ahead of the trend and sell at high demand time before it's over.

For me, I can't buy something unless I like it, so guess I won't be getting rich any time soon. :')


    Bookmark   April 1, 2008 at 9:28PM
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I took the antiques classes....and it really doesn't matter who's that things are in limited supply.
Toys from the 50's are a wonderful bet, doesn't matter if anyone is looking for what they remember, just stuff that is no longer made.
BUT be aware those things are "collectables" not really antiques.
And for real value, you should be looking at fine art, sterling flatware and hollow ware, American brilliant period cut glass, art pottery and the like.
LOL you saying "hop-a-long who?" beacuse Hop-a-long Cassedy originally was a cowboy hero when my mother was young in the mid 1930's. The Hoppy you are remembering and assuming most people will forget is the second incarnation!
Linda C

Here is a link that might be useful: Hoppy.

    Bookmark   April 1, 2008 at 9:37PM
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There is certainly nothing wrong with wanting to direct your purchases toward things "worth" having around awhile. But, you can drive yourself nutty obsessing over whether things will appreciate in value or not.

Collecting a world of precious articles around you won't happen overnight. It's evolves over a lifetime and you won't learn by osmosis what you should save and what you should pass on. I think the most enjoyable and valuable course to set is to begin by keeping things you find pleasing in your personal world.

All of us who enjoy antiquing have certain areas in which we are more adept, and those are the areas with articles we find the most beautiful or fun to have around. Mine is stoneware, farming implements, furniture and kitchen tools. That doesn't stop me from picking up other items if I can't resist or know they are a good buy for the money and will appreciate.

You may want to take up attending auctions. For decades, it was 'what I did' on weekends for entertainment. Doesn't cost a cent to observe and get a feel for prices and desireability.

    Bookmark   April 2, 2008 at 12:35PM
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1.) No matter what type of the very best you can afford. Quality will pay off stronger than quantity.

2.) IMO, one Newport inlay cardtable will appreciate steadily over the years much more reliably than 3,000 Beanie Babies.

3.) Don't try to guess what collectible item 'might' be hot in 5-10 years. That's for fun...not investment. Instead, focus on items with a proven track record for appreciation. Examples: early American furniture (pre-1830); pre-1850 dishes such as soft-paste or transferware; pre-1850 glass; hand-colored maps; itinerant artwork such as portraits; folkart; and/or textiles. Obviously, that's just a few that I know have appreciated over the past twenty years. There are many, many others.

4.) Start reading everything you can get your hands on about not only the type of antiques you want to collect but also start studying American history. All antiques should be viewed in context to their times. The more you know about history the better you'll get at spotting a 'treasure'.

5.) Preferably, collect something you'll use...not just dust collectors.

6.) If you don't love it...don't buy it.

    Bookmark   April 3, 2008 at 9:35AM
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And no matter what you decide to invest in, learn to take care of it properly! How many times do we have to watch "the Road Show" before we learn to stop stripping the original finish off of furniture? Textiles are especially tricky. My thing is quilts and it's really easy to ruin a quilt by improper cleaning and storing. Don't ask me how I know--I DON'T want to relive the experience, even in print!


    Bookmark   April 3, 2008 at 12:39PM
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I agree with everything Triciae said.

    Bookmark   April 3, 2008 at 1:40PM
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Another note on appreciation...or...not.

Lindac mentioned American Brilliant Cut Glass are being an example of an antique with "real value". Her comment is an excellent opportunity for a lesson in antiques.

When DH & I lived in CO & our love of antiques was born, we amassed quite an assortment of American Brilliant Cut Glass, mostly signed pieces in excellent condition. By all outwards appearances it appeared to be a 'valuable' collection.

Then, we moved to NH.

Well, seems in New England our collection was worth squat. Why? Because it's common place in New England. Supply & demand equals price...everywhere, the world around. Even the lowliest, junkiest antique store will have a piece (or two or three) of excellent quality brilliant cut glass. In NH, I learned a set of six, signed Hawkes Brilliant cut tumblers would cost me about $65. Yes, that's correct...all six for $65. Those same glasses in CO, in 1988, cost several hundreds of dollars. The handwriting was on the wall for our collection. We shipped it back to CO to family who sold it off for us via a local antique shop. That was one of many lessons we've learned while collecting antiques.

My example above is why it's such a good idea to study history. DH & I 'should' have known that quantities of such precious things as cut glass would have considerable more surivors on the east coast as comparared to the wild west of CO at the turn of the century. We didn't take the time to research the availability of American brilliant cut glass outside our limited geographic region before beginning our purchases. Mistake. I have since learned that east coast antique dealers were hauling cut glass to CO & marketing it at humongeous prices to uneducated westerners like us as "rare". Humph. Today, ebay has taken away the profits from those antique dealers who made annual runs from New England to the west. Most are out of business. Even with ebay though...I can still buy cut glass cheaper locally. Heirloom sterling silver flatware sells here for right around the spot price of silver (meltdown price) unless it's something special, like made by Paul Revere. Sterling holloware fares better...if it's 18th century with established provinance.

There are still vasts quantities of brilliant cut glass available here in New England. It will appreciate...but not in my lifetime nor, probably, that of my grandkids. There's just too much of it. I use it as everyday glassware & don't worry about the grandkids using it for juice. Lesson learned.


    Bookmark   April 3, 2008 at 1:45PM
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AAH yes....and golden oak...prices were going out of sight in the midwest in the 1970's and 1980's, and the same thing on the east coast was thrift shop stuff.
And advertising collectables...Watts ware with the name of a firm on it can be bought much much more cheaply from a distant shop that from a shop in the area where the advertised firm is located!
As they say...Location Location Location!
EBay has softened the edges though, as now all things are available to all people. Some of the wonderful primitive stuff coming out of Quebec is so much cheaper than similar stuff from the US. I am thinking in particular of feather trees.
Linda C

    Bookmark   April 3, 2008 at 2:16PM
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Beanie Babies!!!!!

    Bookmark   April 3, 2008 at 4:21PM
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Real, good California pottery always gets better prices out here in CA, and isn't collected very much away from the West Coast. But American furniture isn't very hot here, but Mid Century Modern is very collected.

    Bookmark   April 3, 2008 at 4:46PM
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There's a huge difference between investment grade antiques & those that are "hot" decorating trends. True American colonial antiques transcend decorating fancies & place of origin.

Definition of "Collecting": The hobby of collecting consists of acquiring specific items based on a particular interest of the collector. These collections of things are often highly organized, carefully cataloged, and attractively displayed.

Definition of "Investing": The practice of employing a principal sum of money usually to purchase assets or place a sum on deposit to generate earnings so that the principal sum will increase in value.

Really understanding the difference between the two goals can't be stressed too much. The OP is asking about investing in assets. Assets can be a multitude of things. And, mid-Century modern furniture can be an 'asset'. However, this is an antique forum...and mid-Century furniture is decidedly not antique.

The OP mentioned liking "home/kitchen" items. Those are examples of decorating tastes and/or collectibles not investments. Here's a link to a multi-dealer antique shop. There are many investment grade pieces listed in their on-line catalogue. I've linked to a Sheraton table that I've personally seen. This is an example of an investment grade American antique. It's fine craftsmanship screams out at you. It was quality in 1815 & it's still quality. It will increase in value over time. How much & how quickly is anybody's guess.

Just like putting cash in a bank, one starts off slow & builds to the level of this table. But purchasing "collectibles" usually doesn't ever get you to the level where you can trade-up to investment quality. So, start with smalls but buy QUALITY smalls. For instance, you can today purchase an air-twist English mid-18th Century wine glass in the $400-$600 price range. These glasses have steadily increased in value over the past twenty years. There's no reason to believe they won't continue to appreciate. But don't buy one with chips or restorations. Work towards purchasing ten of these glasses. Then, you've got something you can trade-up with yet each purchase was over time like an installment plan towards something like the table. When you have enough glasses...sell them. Buy the table. The table will appreciate faster & higher. When you have ten more glasses...look for another table.

That's just an example used to demonstrate how to build an investment in antiques that you can reasonable rely on over the years. It won't matter what's happening in the Pottery Barn catalogue...the wine glasses & work table just keep on appreciating.

Here is a link that might be useful: Sheraton Work Table

    Bookmark   April 3, 2008 at 5:58PM
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Beanie Babies! LOL! I have a huge box hiding in the closet!!
At one time all my grand children were equally enamored with Beanies. I gathered bunches of them and whenever all 7 kids were at my house at one time, they would draw numbers, I would spread all the beanies I had out on a bed ( and I always made sure I had 15 for the draw)and we would start with the highest number that kid got to choose first. We did that for a number of years, gradually they stopped asking and I forgot to remind....and I am stuck with about 30 Beanies!
I suppose they aren't even worht $3 each now are they? LOL!
Linda C

    Bookmark   April 3, 2008 at 6:18PM
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Pedantic often?

"And, mid-Century modern furniture can be an 'asset'. However, this is an antique forum...and mid-Century furniture is decidedly not antique."

Antique and Collectibles. Please tell me you didn't mean this the way it sounded, er, read.

    Bookmark   April 4, 2008 at 8:34PM
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I have made some money along the way on less than "investment" grade antiques. I was quite poor for awhile, but still had enough money to buy up a good find here and there when I found one. These weren't decorating trends, but like Linda said things old enough that their scarcity would continue on and they'd be increasingly valuable as the years go by. I cashed in some of them once when I wanted to be able to buy presents for Christmas.

One was an exquisite mahogany hall seat with brass umbrella stands and a large mirror. Some century old crockery. Those sorts of items. I got about twenty times what I had in them.......not a bad investment and I got to enjoy them for a decade.

What I am getting at, is it's not as fun to look entirely at your collection in a monetary paradigm. One doesn't have to be rich to make sound investments in antiques. Just have a feel for what has traditionally been a sought after item and what is likely to continue to be so.

I don't think I'd have had half the fun of collecting antiques if I didn't love them in and of themselves along the way.

    Bookmark   April 5, 2008 at 9:50PM
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You really need to know what you're doing to invest in antiques. Besides most dealers mark their items up double so if you want to sell them back to a dealer it would take a long time just to get your money back. Now, for the regular guy there's Ebay which offers a easy way to sell small items. Sets of dishes and furniture do not sell well on Ebay. Rare, hard to find things do well. My momma allways told me not to play another man's game.

P.S. I just sold a slot car toy from the 60's on Ebay for $1000.00. Ironically I had the same toy when I was a kid. I didn't keep mine but I bought one from someone that never even took their's out of the box. I've been dealing antiques since I was fourteen but I don't collect anything but rent.

    Bookmark   April 6, 2008 at 2:39AM
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My son had many Heavy Metal tee shirts from the late 80's; some were concert tour shirts and some were not. I thought they were potential cleaning rags and mentioned I was going to start repurposing them. He let me know they were worth big bucks and proved it by selling them on eBay.

Some of those shirts sold for $600.00 each!!!

    Bookmark   April 6, 2008 at 6:42PM
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I would say don't collect at all for investment purposes, money in the bank is a much better idea. I collected dolls for over 20 years and was asked that question by doll collectors. I told them to buy only what you like, if you can't sell them later at least you are stuck with things you like. I was very lucky with my collection, I started at the right time, bought only good buys, never top dollar and when I saw the market falling I sold. Towards the end of my collecting, I bought extra Barbie's because they were hard to find and got stuck with them. The $250. Barbie's went for $60 the last time I checked. I only had 5 so I lucked out there.

    Bookmark   April 7, 2008 at 6:16PM
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As far as collecting as an investment goes, "Let the buyer beware". As a antique dealer I can't tell you how many times I've gone out to look at someoneƂs estate to find thousands of dollars spent on nearly worthless collectors plates and such. Obsessive compulsive and gullible grandma's and grandpa's alike maxing out credit cards to buy collectors items off of cable channels and Ebay. I don't know what they pay for those collectors plates but my offer is always the same $1.00 apiece.

    Bookmark   April 16, 2008 at 10:40PM
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And what does appreciate in value mean, relatively? Does it mean that a $1000 antique table will sell for $1100 10-15 yrs from now, or $5000? Are the purchases random investments with hope that this will provide actual useful income, or needed items that one can choose whether to spend the $1000 on a trendy item that will lose value, or a solid antique that will hold or gain some value, and that you will enjoy all the time you have it. Or are the investment antiques beautiful but too fragile and valuable to actually use--such as, one scratch or water mark and you've lost all the value that you were waiting to appreciate. The difference would be that investing is real work, requiring getting a low or very fair price on a piece and keeping tabs on when to sell it. But, it can be work that you enjoy more than investing in the stock market or mutual funds. And one decision is whether these will be items just boxed in a closet somewhere "gaining value" or are part of your home decor and life.

So, a lot would depend on how you feel you would approach things--eyes open and not expecting one or 2 purchases to turn out to be the sweepstakes.

I think turning over collectibles can also be profitable for some people but is also a lot of work, because on the same principle, you have to be able to buy low--such as a wooden bowl for $1 at someone's yard sale or church sale that you can sell for $20 in town.

    Bookmark   May 1, 2008 at 2:18PM
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My brother got stopped for driving under the influence of alcohol and while checking out his car the cops found 3 unpaid speeding tickets in his console.

The cop asked, "Whats up with these?"

Brother replied, "Traffic tickets are like savings bonds, the longer you keep them, the more their worth".

    Bookmark   May 2, 2008 at 3:46PM
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