I have to admit. Flying home on Chautauqua Airlines, I slipped the Safety Card out of the "seat pocket in front of me" and studied it closely.
All apologies to those who collect them, I still can't see the excitement. But maybe it wasn't a very exciting card. They do seem to be getting more generic these days.
It got me thinking about everyone who asks me about the stuff in the house. And my own surprise when I happen to get curious about something, plug it into the computer and find out that it is worth very little or something more. Sometimes the dollar value doesn't quite sync up with the worth that I would place upon it.
But that really doesn't matter in the world of collectibles.
Often, the price of a "collectible" will depend upon its rarity and the desire of people to collect it. I never really thought about "rarity" before in the whole value equation. To me, something is valuable if it evokes a memory, if I think it is attractive or useful AND attractive (double bonus)!
But rarity can depend upon so many things: When was it made? How many were made? How hard was it to keep in one piece? Did many people get them? Did they pass them down? Sometimes, things that I think are UNattractive ARE rare and, well, that does make sense. If everyone LOVED them and thought they were gorgeous and had them, they are probably not rare. Even though they might be very attractive.
And "attractive". That designation is completely subjective. "Beauty is in the eye of the beholder" and all that.
So, how do you learn what is valuable and what is not? If you want my opinion, you focus on something that you feel interested in and you get to know it INTIMATELY. Because I can tell you from experience, when faced with a mountain of thousands of different types of items, there is NO WAY to know what is valuable and what isn't all of the time. Unless you have a lot of storage, a lot of time and a whole lot of patience. Otherwise, if you are like me, you approach the whole thing as a curiousity, pick up certain things and write about them. The rest of it, you just let go of.
There are some things that we are asked about over and over again...children's books, toys and furniture. Things that people tend to overlook? Technical books, glassware, small kitchen appliances and cookbooks. The fastest moving discussion groups I've ever seen are the ones on Pottery and Glass. These things are fragile, therefore they are rare. Whole sets don't often survive. This makes others LOVE them.
Other things that get overlooked? Things that are destined for a creative second life. Things that can be framed (brochures, magazine covers, ads, sheet music, aprons, doilies...anything flat). Things that can hold other things...coalbuckets holding firewood, pails holding flowers, Depression Glass bowls holding guest soaps. It's the Martha Stewart syndrome. Before the trading scandal. Things that can be used as furniture...stacked suitcases, fruit crates, wooden sleds and wooden boxes.
Let's take this case in point. A DripCut, red bakelite handled syrup pourer.
Which could still be used for syrup. OR for granulated sugar. Or for dishsoap at the sink. (This specific one has been adopted by a couple of friends of ours. And will be living its second life soon.)
The fun of this stuff is what other people make of it. And the stories they tell us. And the surprises. Otherwise, this would be very overwhelming.