Last week on WalletPop, I looked at how Currier & Ives prints and Kodak cameras have provided vastly different economic returns to collectors over the past 40 years.
This week, as promised, I asked a few of the smartest antiques and collectibles experts I know one question: Which antiques and collectibles -- that normal people have the resources to collect -- are likely to increase in value in the future?
Tammy Fennell, Host of CollectiblesCornerTV and owner of VintageRareStuff.com, suggests vintage "10-cent" comic books, especially those featuring super heroes and the rarer Archie issues. "These just seem to keep going up," she said. "Just not as many people are finding their old collections anymore. They've been lost or thrown out as the Baby Boomers are getting old!"
She also suggests Civil War-related magazines, but warns to be careful of reprints which generally are of no value. "Harper's Weeklies from the Civil War years are not that hard to find," she added, but she believes their prospects for appreciation are good.
Matthew C. Quinn of Quinn's Auction Galleries in Virginia, said that the key thing to remember with buying vintage stuff is that, financially, you'll be better off than buying retail.
"We tell clients all the time: the key thing from an investment perspective is the fact that the items they purchase don't depreciate," he said. "Even if you go into an antiques store on Madison Avenue and overpay for a piece of furniture, the return will still be greater than if you go and buy it new from Macy's."
Quinn suggests that misprints and errors -- "things that weren't supposed to get out there but did" -- are likely to do well in the internet age because they're actually rare. For instance, most original Nintendo games can be had at yard sales for a pittance. But a lot of five NES games with a system recently sold on eBay for $13,000 because one of the games, "Family & Fitness Stadium Events," is incredibly rare: only 2,000 copies were every produced.
According to Quinn, what matters is not so much what you collect but how you collect it. "Whether it's old video games, magazines, newspapers," the most rare items purchased in excellent condition will provide the best returns.
"Look for things we used for purposes of utility. Nostalgia and rarity are the two biggest factors that will determine what people are paying for in 20 or 40 years," he said.
Collectibles of tomorrow: What's likely to go up in value?