From stamp collections and postcards to vintage radios and first edition books, there are plenty of items you can pick up at auction houses that could be considered collectibles or antiques, but what is it that makes a collectible collectible?
From age and rarity to kitsch appeal and demand, there are many factors that come into play when assessing the value of items. In today’s post, we’re delving into this fascinating world, looking at the characteristics that make the most popular collectible items so desirable.
Antique or collectible?
While antiques and collectibles are often lumped into the same category, they aren’t necessarily the same thing. In simple terms, collectibles are items collected over time that typically date from the 1920s onward; this could be anything from rare maps and memorabilia to toys, coins or chinaware – whereas ‘collectibles’ older than 100 years would generally be considered antiques.
The value of age
When it comes to placing value on collectibles, it can be tricky, with so many different factors contributing to how valuable a collection of items is. One natural assumption is that older items will be worth more, but this isn’t a clear-cut rule.
Age is inevitably an important consideration, particularly with many of the most popular collectibles, but market demand and scarcity are also important. The more sought-after an item is, the more collectible it’s likely to be – especially if they’re hard to come by as well.
The effect of popular trends
As the nation’s love affair with vintage shows no signs of waning, it’s no surprise that this popular trend has had an influence on the collectors’ sphere, too. Whether UK antique auctions are offering bidders costume jewellery, 1950s toys or unique Art Deco glassware, the increasing popularity of collecting vintage pieces definitely makes certain collections more valuable.
Similarly, with memorabilia, recent events and trends can increase a collection’s worth or desirability – like the death of a music legend, political influences or a monarchy milestone.
The importance of condition
When it comes to collectibles, it can be difficult to find items in pristine condition – as most have inevitably seen some wear and tear over the years. However, antique valuers generally place more worth on well-preserved and well-cared-for pieces.
A great example of this is the toy collectors’ market, where toys with original, unopened packaging will fetch significantly more. That isn’t to say dog-eared toys won’t still have their place as collectibles, but you would expect them to fetch a lower price on the market.
Rare and quirky items could be hidden gems
Sometimes what makes an item collectible is simply its rarity or quirky appeal in the eyes of collectors. For instance, at collectors’ auctions, auctioneers will sell items that look like everyday trinkets on the surface – like kitchenware or 20th-century furniture – but take a closer look and you might just find a diamond in the rough. Sometimes scarcity and high demand can make what appear to be ordinary items highly collectible – so make sure you scratch below the surface when hunting for collectibles.
With so many amazing items to be found at auction houses, visiting one can be a brilliant way to learn more about our heritage and gain some interesting artefacts in the process.
Whether you’re a novice collector or you’re looking to expand upon your existing collection, it can be a fascinating and rewarding hobby – so why not get started today? Find out more about our antique valuations online.