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The Collectibles Market Is on Fire

The collectibles market is experiencing some serious growth, but that doesn’t mean you should treat collectibles as high-quality investments.

Rolls Royce (RYCEY) with famous winged emblem mascot, cars, company, stock

The following article has been partially excerpted from the latest edition of Cabot Money Club Magazine. To learn more about the collectibles market, why even the pros “buy what they love” and whether or not you can consider collectibles “alternative investments,” subscribe today.

According to, the global collectibles market size was valued at $458.2 billion in 2022 and is expected to grow to $1 trillion by 2033.

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So, where is all this growth coming from?

The Sports Memorabilia Collectibles Market, now valued at $32.4 billion—thanks to online auctions and e-commerce platforms—is predicted to reach $227.2 billion by 2032.

Preferred products include bobbleheads and statues, hats and caps, jerseys, clothing, and uniforms, flags and banners, bats, balls, prints and posters.

The Sports Trading Cards Market is currently worth $14.3 billion and is expected to grow to $51.3 billion by 2033. The expansion is coming from the emerging nations in the Middle East and the Asia Pacific, especially India and China, and includes character cards, image cards, and autograph cards.

The Toy/Animation Collectibles Market, estimated at $12.5 billion, is forecast to reach $35.3 billion by 2032. This market segment includes collectible dolls, bobbleheads, action figures, Anime collectibles. cartoon collectibles, and movie character collectibles.


Here Are the Collectibles That Are Gaining the Most Value

The collectibles markets are extremely cyclical. What’s hot today may not be hot tomorrow. Consequently, serious, professional collectors keep up on the trends. And this is what they say are the “hot” items today:

Vintage Comic Books tend to appreciate very well, depending on rarity and condition. A Superman No. 1 (Action Comics) comic was the most expensive private sale of a comic book recently, going for $5.3 million in January 2022.

Baseball Cards, fortunately, have a vast marketplace—online, at sports memorabilia conventions, or at local hobby shops. And their value depends on the age, rarity, and condition of the card. The baseball card that has gone for the most money ever is an Honus Wagner card—the 1911 American Tobacco Company T206 card—which sold for $6.6 million at auction in 2021.

Vintage Bakeware. When my mom died, my sisters and I had no idea the value of some of her collections, and we sold a lot of stuff, including vintage bakeware, for pennies on the dollar. We found out later that we were pretty stupid, but none of us had any experience in the collectibles markets. Mom had reams of vintage Corningware and Pyrex dishes, which may—or may not—have been valuable. All I know is that the most expensive Pyrex bowl from the Lucky in Love line, featuring the hearts and shamrocks design, sold for $22,100 in 2022. Looks like we left a few dollars on the table! Rare Coins, especially old coins in great condition can be very valuable. For example, the Saint-Gaudens Double Eagle, minted in 1933, is estimated to be worth up to $20 million. My dad loved to collect coins, but as far as I know, he never had anything very valuable.

Vintage Toys, depending on rarity, uniqueness, condition, and age can sell for hundreds of thousands of dollars, a 1963 G.I. Joe prototype with hand-sewn clothing and a hand-painted face went for $200,000 in 2003. But with toys, not only must they be in pristine condition, but for most of them to retain the highest value, must also be unopened, in the original packaging. Most of us actually played with our toys, so this segment of the collectibles market is inhabited by mostly professionals.

Stamps that are in perfect condition and rare are in great demand. Interestingly, many are rare because of misprintings, like the Inverted Jenny, issued in 1918. It was a picture of an upside-down Curtiss JN-4 biplane, and a set of four sold at auction for $1.74 million in 2019.

Vintage Magazines can range from several hundred to a few thousand dollars, but the reality is that most will probably go for $5 to $20 per copy, depending on rarity, type and condition. One of the most valuable vintage magazines, a rare first edition of The Shadow No. 1 sold in 2021 for $156,000, the most expensive pulp magazine ever sold.

My brother-in-law, recently deceased, had a huge collection of National Geographic magazines, which have been taking up loads of space for decades. Most of them are likely valued between $3-$10, but my sister is afraid to sell them without figuring out if she has any valuable issues. Some of the issues of Nat Geo have sold for $4,000 to $100,000 each! The whole family is trying to help—wish us luck!

Antique Furniture is valued based on age and its craftsmanship, including construction, materials, hardware, and finish. The Badminton Chest, commissioned in 1726 by the third Duke of Beaufort, sold at a Christie’s auction in 2004 for $36.7 million. But just because it’s old doesn’t mean it has any value. Mom had a 1903 Baldwin piano that my siblings and I thought might be valuable, but we eventually discovered it was virtually worthless, so we donated it.

But I inherited a 1940s Imperial Georgian style carved mahogany octagonal center table that mom and dad had picked up in an estate sale when I was a kid for a few bucks. Today, it’s worth close to $1,000, which is not going to make me wealthy, but it wouldn’t matter since I wouldn’t sell it anyway.

Jewelry’s value is based on materials, the maker or designer, age, and the stones used. There have been some notable jewels that have sold for more than $100 million each, including the Hope Diamond, the Cullinan Diamond, and the Koh-i-Noor Diamond.

Antique, Classic, and Vintage Cars are valued according to the vehicle’s age, condition, and mileage, including the number of original parts in the car. In 2022, the most expensive car was sold, a 1955 Mercedes-Benz 300 SLR Uhlenhaut Coupe, which brought in $143 million.

Additionally, vintage golf clubs, vintage children’s books, vinyl records, retro gaming sets, artworks, fine wines and liquors, shoes, handbags, clothing, perfumes, old photographs, vintage electronics, antique firearms, antique or vintage kitchen appliances, vintage tools, and musical instruments are highly collectible in today’s market.

Can the Average Person Make Money in the Collectibles Market?

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Collectibles Don’t Meet the Definition of “Investing”

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Nancy Zambell has spent 30 years educating and helping individual investors navigate the minefields of the financial industry. She has created and/or written numerous investment publications, including UnDiscovered Stocks, UnTapped Opportunities, and Nancy Zambell’s Buried Treasures under $10. Nancy has worked with for many years as an editor and interviewer for their on-site video studios.