Romi Carrell Wittman COLUMN
Romi Carrell Wittman
Yez, rare Pez may be valuable, she sez
It seems everyone is always looking for the get-rich-quick scheme that’s going to make him or her a millionaire. Be it lottery tickets, real estate or some new invention, people are always looking to invest and make money. And so it’s no surprise that collecting as a means of investment is the Hot New Thing.
Collecting, like investing, is a tricky business. Markets can be capricious. Any collectible item is only valuable if there is someone out there that wants to buy it.
So, while your collection of Precious Moments figurines is priceless to you, it might not have any value in the collectibles market.
Given the rather arbitrary nature of the art, collectibles and antique markets, collecting as an investment practice is risky at best. So it pays to do your homework.
There is a collectibles market for nearly everything you can imagine. There are the old standbys: fine art, stamps, antiques, baseball cards, and so on. And there are the more obscure: Pez dispensers, Hollywood memorabilia and old-fashioned metal lunchboxes.
Some Web sites will help you discern the trash from the treasure:
GoAntiques.com is a comprehensive portal site linking you to antique dealers across the country. Here you’ll find listings for virtually every type of antique and collectible item.
While the site is geared more toward shopping, information is available on selling your own items. At the very least, you should be able to ascertain ballpark values for items you may have in your own home.
If you have a high-end item, check out Sothebys.com and Christies.com. Like GoAntiques, each of these sites is geared toward purchasing items; however, after perusing the listings you should be able to get a good sense of what certain items are selling for in today’s market.
Don’t know where to start when it comes to antiquing? Don’t know a Monet from a Manet? Go to AntiquesandFineArt.com. This elegant site, which is affiliated with the Catalogue of Antiques and Fine Art, offers scholarly articles on connoisseurship.
Stamp collectors should check out Stampfinder.com. Though a bit low-tech, the site lets you buy and sell via its classifieds section.
If rare books are your thing, visit Alibris.com. Browse by subject including history, mystery and travel; each section has well-written bios of famous writers. Powells.com, is another good rare book site.
Ready to turn your trinkets into cold, hard cash? Several of the above Web sites let you sell your item through their dealer pages. But don’t forget the old standby: eBay.com.
Romi Carrell Wittman is a Tucson-based freelance writer. She has more than 10 years of experience in marketing, Web site strategy and corporate communications. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.