written by Patrick Morgan
Whether it is a work of art, a vintage toy or an old chair, the collectibles market has never been stronger. Record breaking prices for common things found in most households have become a regular occurrence since the COVID lockdowns, and the resulting boom in online auction sales since the start of the pandemic does not look to be slowing down. Antiques, vintage objects, modern design and even old toys could be worth a lot these days and it’s worth looking around your garage or attic to see what you’ve got. Read on to see some of today's top collectibles and the prices being achieved.
Whether you’ve ever cleaned out Grandmother’s attic, or vowed to clean up the mess that’s accumulated in your own garage for the last 30 years, chances are, you will stumble across a collectible of one sort or another. From antique model airplanes to Zombie Zulu figures, you will, in all likelihood, find something of value. And determining that value may be more complicated than you might think…but thankfully Value My Stuff has an army of experienced experts that will help you find out what your treasures are worth!
Let’s take antique model airplanes as an example. Depending on the make, model and country of manufacture, values can range from about 30 bucks, to over 800 bucks for a vintage toy plane. A Zero Fighter Type 52 diecast model, made by the Takatoku, company in Tokyo, Japan, can sell for over $800, whereas a similar vintage model plane, made in the UK, will bring around 30 bucks.
"Collectibles have a way of soothing the soul and getting us in touch with our inner child, invoking the comfort of happy memories."
It typically boils down to rarity, understanding the nuances of various marketplaces, and ultimately, supply and demand, and, if by any chance, you find a Zombie Zulu figure, produced by Universal Monster Plastic Figure Company, in 1960, as a Frito Lay Pop Top Promotional Toy, you can get around 80 bucks for it on the collectors market.
Collectibles can describe just about anything a person can think of. My wife collects stones found on beaches from around the world, (and we have a lot of them…). She can tell you from which country, as well as the exact beachside location she has collected each and every stone in our home, unfortunately this type of collectible will never have any value, aside from a sentimental one. Collectibles have a way of soothing the soul and getting us in touch with our inner child, invoking the comfort of happy memories.
Sometimes the value of a common household item can bring a surprisingly high price. Take for example a piece of vintage furniture from IKEA that was recently sold at auction. When I think of IKEA, I am reminded of the countless pieces of particleboard with that smooth white finish I have struggled to assemble over the years.
Each one taking hours, with an infinite number of screws, bolts and odd looking rivets. And, after a few years of faithful service, the piece ends up in a crumpled broken pile, lying by a dumpster, (not very collectible or good for the environment). However, back when IKEA was just getting started in the 1940’s, things were a bit different.
The company was founded by an industrious young man by the name of Ingvar Kamprad who thought the company should reflect his environment, and with a combination of his initials IK, his family's farm, “Elmtaryd” and the town he grew up in, “Agunnaryd” in Sweden, he created the acronym “IKEA”, a name brand know around the globe.
As a young boy, Ingvar was always looking for ways to supplement his families income, while growing up during the great depression years of the 1930’s. One of his more notable endeavors was to buy matches in bulk from Stockholm and sell them in smaller batches to surrounding families and farmhands in his local neighborhoods, far from the countries biggest city.
Related: Ikea's Most Expensive Designs
He sold pens, paper and anything else he could get his hands on if he could turn a profit. Ultimately this led to him to create the world's most famous and iconic furniture company back in 1948. Beginning with armchairs, lamps and side tables at affordable prices, Ingvar wanted to provide people with good value for their money. He commissioned furniture that was designed for its comfort and economy by young local artists who happened to be on the cutting edge of Modern Design. Bengt Ruda was one of these designers. He created the Cavelli Arm Chair in 1957. It had a beautiful bent wood teak frame and a fabric hourglass back, and for some reason, only six prototypes were ever made. They were never mass produced despite its superb design. Recently one of these rare IKEA Cavelli Chairs sold at auction for the handsome sum of 151,000 Swedish Kroner ($16,000 USD).
Now when you think of IKEA, remember, that a vintage table or chair could be worth a small fortune. Here’s a quick list of a few IKEA pieces to look out for:
Swedish Table Lamps by Karin Mobring fr IKEA, 1970’s, a pair, sells for 2500 euros.
Agnoli Chaise Lounge Chair for IKEA, Sweden by Tito Agnoli, 1960’s, sells for 1100 euros.
Skopa Easy Chairs, in plastic, by Ole Gjerløv-Knudsen & Torben Lind for Orth Plast and IKEA, 1970’s, a pair sells for about 1200 euros.
In addition to Vintage IKEA furniture, here are some of the most popular collectible categories one should be on the lookout for;
- Vintage LEGO sets and toys
-Trading cards, think Pokémon and Baseball cards, for the most popular.
-Comic books, Action Comics #1 recently sold for over $3,000,000 USD
-Coins and stamps
These are just a few of the most popular collectibles.
Along with vintage collectibles, there is another new trend sweeping society at the moment; Eco friendly everything. We are well aware of the dangers of Global Warming and the consequences for our planet. Clothing manufacturers are one example of an industry working with recycled fabrics and low carbon footprint techniques to correct some of the wasteful practices of the past.
And when it comes to recycling, what’s better than finding an old sweater in your Attic that fits today’s “anything goes” retro fashion style? And is a valuable collectors item too. Or recycling an old English Victorian Lamp as a focal piece for home decor (they are bringing top dollar these days).
Recycling is an up and coming trend we should all be taking notice of. In general, collecting trends tend to be cyclical, moving forward in 10 year increments. Today's hot collectibles from the 70’s and 80’s, will soon compete with collectibles from the 90’s and 00’s in the near future. This, combined with the post pandemic rise in popularity of online auctions and internet purchases means the categories of collectibles will be an ever expanding field.
Patrick Morgan is a Dealer and Expert in Tribal Arts and Art and Collectible Generalist who has been living in Paris since 2002. He began his career field collecting textiles and tribal artefacts in the Golden Triangle of Thailand, Laos and Burma in the late 1980’s and by 1992 was making several trips a year, exclusively to Mali, sourcing textiles and the ritual arts of the Dogon, Senufo and Bambara cultures. He began exhibiting these finds in addition to pieces from important American collections in 1998 showing at the major US Tribal Art Fairs in San Francisco, Santa Fe, New York as well as the European fairs in both Paris and Berlin. He has worked for several European auction houses as both consultant and expert.