Most collectors tend to focus on one thing like dolls or miniatures, but many also branch out and become aware of cross collectible items that fit other categories as well. Some have more than one “magnificent obsession” and collect other things, too. Below are some types of collectibles worth investigating in 2017. After all, isn’t collecting at least part way made up of the thrill of the hunt?
Primitives: This is a wide-open category that includes one of a kind folk art, home made furniture, all kinds of knickknacks and gadgets, roughly made, even grungy rag dolls, toys, some tramp art, outsider art, pottery, and much more. Original condition and patina are everything in this category, and restoration should be minimal. Don’t polish that old copper kettle, and don’t redress that primitive rag doll. Many hand-carved items and kitchenware fit this category, and some interesting examples pop up. Quilts and old samplers could also cross over. Handmade paper dolls and paper toys are lovely primitive collectibles. Many primitive items are imaginative; a favorite is a hand carved set of pliers, skillfully done to look like the real thing, but made of light balsa wood. Things that share the patina of primitive make a house homey and homespun, inviting all of us to come in and set a spell.
Auto and motorcycle memorabilia: Even if one doesn’t ride, there is something about a Harley, or, a Triton, or a Moto Gucci. View a couple of episodes of American Pickers, and you soon realize how popular motor vehicle-related collectibles are. Hot Wheels and Matchbox toys enjoy a healthy following, but there are those who love posters, motor oil ads, metal advertising signs, hood ornaments, classic cars, pedal cars, vintage bicycles, and motorcycles. NASCAR collectibles are a category all their own, with some experts zeroing in on specific drivers like Dale Earnhardt.
Books: To take judicial notice of a fact means we can agree on a fact about something that no one can argue with, e.g., December 25, 2016, was a Sunday. Along those lines, we can take judicial notice of the fact that first editions of rare books can bring thousands of dollars. A few years ago, one of the notebooks of the most divine Signor Leonardo da Vinci, brought over $30 million! Take that, all tablet users! Even if collectors don’t have the treasury of a small country to spend on a book, books continue to be popular collectibles. With a little care, they are also collectibles that can be used.
First editions are still among the most collectible books, but very old books, especially those over 200 years old, are also desirable. Old editions of popular classics are collectible, too. Some enjoy vintage and antique copies of Alice in Wonderland, while others collect editions of Shakespeare and Dickens. Paperback editions of pulp fiction classics are popular with some, and comic books and graphic novels are in their own categories. Children’s books especially those by illustrators like Tasha Tudor, Dare Wright, Garth Williams, Maurice Sendak, and others, have many devoted fans and can be had in many price ranges.
Condition is everything, and there are even artists out there who repair dust jackets for books. Try to collect with the original dust jacket if you can, but don’t overlook a book you really love if it is a good price; someone can rebind it for you if necessary. Try looking for books at estate sales and library sales, but also online. Antique shops, in general, are not bad places to find them, and so are yard sales.
Linens: This category is wide open and can embrace textiles, doll house items, doll clothes, needlework and much more. Again, the condition is everything, and older items are much sought after. The Medieval Bayeux Tapestry is a world treasure. You might be surprised to know that the early 19th-century Spanish painter Francisco Goya, also worked for the Fábrica Real de Tapices [The Royal Tapestry Factory of Spain]. Mary Queen of Scots was famous for her expert needlework, as were many Tudor and Elizabethan ladies or the aristocracy.
Samplers from the 18th and early 19th centuries can fetch thousands of dollars. Berlin work, a kind of needlepoint, was very popular in the Victorian era, so much so that Mark Twain even made fun of it. Fancy needlework was an important part of any girl’s education, but good plain sewing was, too. Quilts have become wildly popular with quilt shows popping up all over the country. Chenille has its fans, and embroidery from around the world can teach us all about different cultures. Handkerchiefs and aprons are fun and versatile, and many can start collections by looking through their own linen closets and hope chests.
Those doilies that covered every surface of our grandmothers’ homes are popular with crafters and those who love shabby chic. Old lace curtains have countless uses, as do old velvet drapes.
Costume jewelry: There are so many subcategories to this collectible that whole libraries are devoted to it. Rhinestones, enamel, paste, shell jewelry, designer pins, Bakelite and so many others each have a fan club. Others like designer pins and items from Kenneth J. Lane, Schiaparelli, Cartier, Chanel, Weiss, Eisenberg, Trifari, Monet, 1928 Jewelry Company and more.
Victorian lockets on chains look great even with contemporary outfits, and cameos never go out of style. Cameos alone could fill a gallery. Anne Rice gave them new life in one of the novels of The Vampire Chronicles, Blackwood Farm. Not all cameos are costume; some are set in gold or silver settings in rings and necklaces, but others are made of lava, gutta percha, plastic, Lucite, and Bakelite. I’ve seen some made of wood that are very interesting.
1950’s Fashion: Rolled up jeans and saddle shoes, oversized “letter sweaters”, mid-length plaid skirts and crisp white blouses are among the fashion revivals that you will see in 2017. Add cool bowling shirts to this list, too.
Military fashion: Military inspired fashion is trending in all of the modern clothing stores. Khaki jackets, military green, military clothing styles have inspired and influenced the creations of designers worldwide. You can have the real thing by shopping military fashion on Ruby Lane.
We could go on, but these are fun categories to start with. Have fun on your treasure hunts, and be safe and happy in 2017.
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