Friday, March 28, 2008

#2 What's a Collectible?

#2 What's a collectible?

Something not old enough to be an antique. But wait there's more.

It also is something to collect. Wait there's more.

Things that were often made as promotions (free Captain Midnight secret decoder badge with five purchases of Ovaltine) or made in limited
quantities, either by intent (limited time offer!) or by changes in taste or technology (nobody's buyin' these eight tracks anymore.)

Or not.

Sometimes things became collectible for their sheer nostalgic value -- I always wanted one of these when I was a kid things. And because they weren't produced just to be collected, many ended being tossed after their novelty wore off or they were destroyed through use and abuse because kids played with them.

That reduced the numbers available to collectors. And that made them desirable.

And manufacturers woke up. Collectibles became things that were made for the sole purpose of collecting. And they were produced in "limited editions." At midnight of March 31st we will stop accepting orders and the molds will be broken! Hurry! Get yours now. Before it's too late!
In other words, they're only going to make as many as people will buy. Duh. That's a pretty good business model.

In the publishing and art worlds, limited editions have a pretty specific meaning: only a set number were produced and each piece is numbered out of that total quantity: #42/350 for example. You know that there are only 350 of these things in the world and that you own number forty-two. With Disney or Franklin Mint or any of the multitude of others in the collectibles business, there's no clue as to how many were produced. Could be millions. Probably are.

So again, if you want it, buy it. Just go into it with your eyes open.

No comments: