Collecting, for some, might be just a fad that goes away as you grow out of your childhood.
Remember the buzz you felt getting those football stickers, POGS, trolls, beanie bears or Top Trump cards from the 80s and early 90s. Each time we’d beg our parents or stumble through household chores for some extra pocket money to buy more – and then trade them with friends or keep them as something to treasure. Until the next collectable fad came out, anyway.
For some, collecting is more than just a phase of life. It becomes a lifetime’s passion, and while to outsiders it may look like an obsession, there can be serious money involved. So much so, that looking after your collectables is important, and dry, secure storage is a must.
Here are some of the top collectables that are worth investing time and money into. You’ll want to guard them carefully so they hold their value for the future.
Records and vinyl collectables
When CDs came out it looked like records and albums would die quicker than dinosaurs. A few years ago a resurgence in the record industry may have taken a few by surprise, but others, with their unwavering love of the vinyl, had little doubt their collection would be worth every penny in the future.
The problem with records is that while individually they seem easily stored, the all-important and stunning artwork on the covers carefully preserved, as your collection increases there is some serious weight and bulk to consider. Your storage space needs to be secure, dry and undisturbed to keep them free from damage.
Interest in vintage or antique signs has increased in recent years, partly fuelled by makeover shows and the trend for shabby chic design, and partly from nostalgia. In fact, the more popular form of sign is advertising, with recognisable brands bringing back childhood memories.
The key to collecting is to buy things you like, rather than trying to choose an investment. Trends change and so does popularity for certain brands – particularly those no longer trading. And don’t focus solely on advertising – there is still plenty of room for the humble road sign or train station brand, and even some original neon or electric signs.
Vintage steel toys
From toy cars to train sets, vintage steel toys can be worth a lot of money if they are kept carefully, and are in full working order. Many can be picked up at jumble sales, car boot and even garage sales.
The better the condition, the more unique your prize – collectors are very particular about keeping toys safe and, if possible, in the original packaging with no missing parts. If it’s part of a range, you’ll find collector competing to locate rare pieces to complete a set. Some of the most expensive date from the 1920s through to the 1940s, especially if they are in mint condition.
First edition books
Possibly some of the harder to find items are a first edition book. If you are thinking of starting a collection, this is a good chance to get ahead of the game. Consider books that might seem quite modern, but are from a popular franchise, such as Harry Potter or the Game of Thrones series.
If you have one of these – or can anticipate the next trend and buy one now, you’ll have a potential nest egg for the future. In the meantime, the key is to keep your first edition dry, safe and stored correctly so it can keep its value for the future.
Toys and figurine collectables
Although not made from steel, toys and figurines from popular or iconic programmes also hold value well.
No child from the 1970s or 1980s would have gone through school without at some stage either owning, or being incredibly envious of a friend having a Star Wars, He Man or Action Man figure. If you still own them, or come across a bargain at a house clearance sale, you may just have a real treasure, particularly if they are still boxed.
If you’re thinking of starting a collection, don’t just consider the potential investment value. You need to be interested in your subject to be able to spot new additions to your collection while you’re out and about. Whatever you choose to focus on, just remember that keeping them in good condition is key.