If a person is nostalgic about an item, then it is collectible. Collectibles are treasures. Hence, YOUR treasures are what you collect. What do you collect?
For example, I love jewelry and décor from the 1940s and I think it is because the colors, styles and textures remind me of my grandparents and their warm home.
-Post World War I and II costume jewelry is very collectible. After the war the middle class was thriving, so most people could not afford expensive jewelry. As a result, there was an explosion in the costume jewelry market. Most people’s parents and grandparents have a drawer of costume jewelry in their home. This is not junk, in fact some of it is quite valuable. Look at the back of pieces and on the pins of brooches to see signatures and hallmarks. Look for names like Trifari or Monet. There are websites to help you research value. A new and successful vintage jewelry site is http://www.rubylane.com/
Toys and Dolls
-To qualify as vintage an item must be at least 20 years old. SO, our toys are collectible. Star Wars action figures and Smurfs are collectible. The astronaut Smurf in good condition has been valued at $50.00. Look on the backs of toys and dolls for dates and brand names to authenticate them. BEWARE because there are many faked look-alikes out there. A doll will have the designer name on the top of her back. A Smurf will usually have a date on the bottom of it’s foot. The older the more valuable. Condition affects value too. To find the value of dolls and toys you can log onto http://www.ebay.com/ and look under the completed listings section. You will need to be registered with EBay to use the site in this capacity and it is free.
- The value of fine art follows the stock market….art follows wealth. French Impressionist Art, historically, has been the art that sells best, (Van Gogh and Renoir). Yet, recently, modern art is what is at the selling high, (Picasso to Warhol). This is subject to change over time. Determining art value is tricky and ever changing. Similar to the toys, there are many fakes. If the piece has been inherited from your grandparents and you know it was in their home then you are probably safe. Otherwise, look for a signature in a bottom corner of the piece and then get an appraiser to verify that it is authentic. Peruse http://www.artfact.com/ to research more about art and art value; (this is not a free site). Before going to artfact.com you may want to google the artist first.
Silver and Precious Metals (From Flatware to Jewelry)
EPNS- electroplate on nickel silver (silver plate)
925- American sterling silver
800- European sterling silver
PLAT or PT -Platinum
10K, 12K, 14K, 22K - gold (whetehr it is silver colored or gold colored)
-Most recent sterling silver pieces are stamped “STERLING”
-Some sterling is not stamped at all, such as mid 20th century Native American turquoise and silver jewelry.
-Like Gold and Platinum, Silver is fluctuating in value. You can determine current value at the following site: http://www.dendritics.com/scales/metal-calc.asp You will need a special scale to use this site. A jeweler or appraiser can help you with this. I advise avoiding Gold Parties because there is a middle man getting a cut in the value. It is best to go directly to the middle man’s buyer, which is either a jeweler or a collector. There are many jewelers that will give you a current market value because they are using the raw material to create with and not brokering it to someone else.
-China is signed on the bottom: turn over the plate or cup. Anything signed “JAPAN” is now very collectible. If it is signed “OCUPPIED JAPAN” then it is even more collectible. These items are from the 1940’s and 50’s. We do not commission Japan for assistance in production as much as we do China, so these items have gone up in value. To see some of the “kitschy” things that are signed JAPAN and selling quite well, peruse http://www.etsy.com/ You will see anything from bisque puppy dog planters to lusterware salt and pepper shakers being collected and the collectors are mainly our generation
Books and Ephemera
-Books are often very popular because of their illustrations. If a book does not have a copyright date then it is, most likely, a first edition publication of the book. This makes it valuable. Also, many first edition books will print, “First Edition” in the copyright section.
-Old cards and postcards are very collectible. Again, the illustrations are the big draw. Among the most collectible types of books are vintage and antique children’s books. Older versions of Alice In Wonderland, Raggedy Ann or The Oz series from the 1940s and 1930s are popular.
-Older magazines are very collectible too. A 1940 issue of Vogue can sell for up to $30.00.
-Depression Glass has a similar story as the costume jewelry. During the depression people could not afford crystal and expensive décor, so colorful and interesting glassware was created and sold at reasonable prices. There are many collectors of depression glass today.
-Cut Glass Crystal verses Pressed Glass (crystal vs. glass) – Cut Crystal is sharp and heavier. Also, crystal has a longer ring to it if you tap it lightly with a spoon.
-Waterford is a popular glass designer. Older Waterford is more valuable because the company was based in America and the quality of the manufacturing has been determined as better. Waterford has since sold their company to a buyer in China, therefor the Waterford glass vase you buy at Macy’s today is not the same quality as what you see in your mom or grandmother’s dining room.
It is my hope that this post has been a helpful resource for collectors, sellers and wonderers in general. I invite you to comment on this post and add to the knowledge. Thank you for viewing.