Whether your choose to spend your free time searching for rare coins or collect modern sports memorabilia, collecting objects is a common hobby among millions. Warren Sapp, a former Tampa Bay Buccaneers star, recently decided to auction off his unique-sneaker collection to earn some extra cash. His 240-pair collection of size 15 Air Jordans has an estimated worth of $6,500. While not everyone has sneakers worn by an NFL star sitting in their bedroom closet, many people are passionate about their personal collectibles.
Coins – Coins were first used by ancient communities nearly 2,000 years ago and have been valued items for many collectors. Most coin collectors simply enjoy getting new coins from around the world or purchasing limited edition coins from sources like US Money Reserve. Other coin collectors have carefully curated collections worth tens of millions of dollars. For example, the 1794 Flowing Hair Dollar, the first dollar coin issued by the U.S. federal government, sold for a record $7.85 million in 2005.
Stamps – More than 20 million people in the U.S. alone collect postage stamps, making it one of the most common hobbies. Stamp collecting gained popularity during the 1860s and has continued into the modern era. The rare-stamps market has been booming worldwide, leading the hobby to become more of an investment, according to a recent Business Insider story.
Zippo Lighters – The first Zippo lighters were manufactured in the 1930s and soon became popular among American servicemen in World War II. These iconic lighters are prized collectibles, with one near-mint condition 1933 model selling for nearly $37,000 in 2007.
Comic Books – “Famous Funnies,” printed in 1933, is considered the first use of the comic-book format. The popularity of comics exploded during the ’40s and ‘50s, with fans eagerly devouring copies that featured Superman, Batman, Wonder Woman, Aquaman and Captain America. Today, a copy of Action Comics No. 1, which introduced Superman to the world, would fetch more than $1.5 million.
Bobbleheads – Major League Baseball popularized bobbleheads when it produced a series of paper-mache bobbleheads for each baseball team in 1960. Paper-mache and ceramic bobbleheads dominated in the ‘60s and ‘70s, with the popularity of this collectible resurging in the late ’90s as plastic bobbleheads were introduced. Today, avid collectors enjoy searching for bobbleheads of sports players and pop culture figures.
Movie Memorabilia – Although movie-related memorabilia has been prized since the beginning of talkies, collectors continue to acquire objects from their favorite films. Perhaps the most popular and valuable movie collectibles come from the ever-popular “Star Wars.” Action figures, movie posters, light sabers and costumes are prized among collectors. As younger collectors join the scene, “Lord of the Rings,” “Batman,” and “Harry Potter” collectibles are poised to become even more valuable in coming years.
Video Games – For kids who grew up playing Nintendo and Sega Genesis, video games are becoming major collectible items. Enthusiasts tirelessly search for old gaming consoles, special edition games and rare memorabilia related to their favorite characters.
Sports Memorabilia – People have been collecting baseball cards for many years, and the trend continues with the proliferation of sports memorabilia. From vintage hockey jerseys to NHL pint glasses, sports enthusiasts pay big money to get their hands on anything related to their favorite team. Air Jordans are just one example of limited edition merchandise that has significantly appreciated in value.
Anime – Although the first iconic Japanese animations originated in the early 20th century, the anime style did not catch on in the U.S. until the ’80s and ‘90s. Since that time, anime and Japanese-related products have become enormously popular collectibles. Enthusiasts purchase dolls, toys, DVDs and anime-style Japanese erasers to add to their extensive collections.
It is difficult to predict trends in collectibles. Something that seems destined to become huge (think Beanie Babies or Silly Bandz) may disappear as quickly as they arrived on the scene. In general, collectibles with historic value or pop culture appeal tend to have the most staying power. But as with Warren Sapp’s worn Air Jordan sneakers, sometimes you just can’t predict what others will value.
A finance journalist, Dan used to cover Wall Street for financial publications, and now he prefers freelance writing instead of being a beat reporter, chasing the news.