Early Investing

The Fun and Profitable World of Collectibles

The Fun and Profitable World of Collectibles
By Vin Narayanan
Date April 29, 2022

Before crypto, before startups, before I even knew what the stock market was, I was into collectibles.

Baseball cards. Garbage Pail Kids cards. Cabbage Patch Kids. Action figures (especially “Star Wars”). I loved them all. And I collected them all.

I didn’t know the first thing about “collecting” as a kid. But I understood the basic principles. You trade doubles or duplicates for stuff you really want. Complete sets are important. And you try to keep the collectibles in good shape (or at least as good as a kid can manage).

My approach to buying collectibles as a kid was scattershot. If the ice cream truck rolled by during the summer, I ran to my piggy bank for coins to buy the pack of cards that came with bubble gum. If it was a particularly hot day, this was a tough choice. I love ice cream. Ice cream frequently won the battle and put a dent in my collection aspirations.

My other opportunities to buy collectibles came when I tagged (read: was dragged) along on errands with my parents. If we somehow ended up at a store that sold something I wanted — particularly Garbage Pail Kids, which my parents abhorred — I would politely ask my parents to buy a pack. I always made sure I knew how much was in my piggy bank and how much extra work I was willing to throw into the mix to make my case for buying the cards more convincing. Sometimes it worked. Sometimes it didn’t. I never did quite figure out the perfect pitch. But I collected a fair amount of cards this way.

I have a feeling my collections would be worth a decent amount today. I say “feeling” because I have no idea where my beloved collectibles are anymore. My parents say they never threw them out. But I never retrieved them once I moved out. And they’re gone now. It’s one of those things we don’t talk about at Thanksgiving anymore.

Although I stopped “officially” collecting many years ago, my interest in the space continued to grow. I became fascinated with provenance, authentication, scarcity, condition and all of the other things that make the collectibles space interesting.

Whenever I see a memorabilia store, I stop in to see what’s available and fish for intelligence on the current market conditions. I can’t help it. I love the collectibles space. And that’s why I’m so happy that Early Investing is starting to cover this area.

Collectibles is a rapidly growing investment space. The estimated size of the collectibles market is $370 billion according to TechCrunch. And that number will likely grow quickly as NFTs catch on (NFTs had $17.6 billion in trading volume last year).

Investment platforms like StartEngine offer people a chance to invest in collectibles in new ways. Masterworks gives people a chance to invest in and own fractional shares of fine art. And NFT platforms like OpenSea and Rarible have taken off.

The way people buy, sell and trade collectibles is changing. So is the way people think about them. Everyone — including kids today — is far more sophisticated in their approach to collectibles than I was as a child. They know about custody, scarcity and what drives value in the different collectibles markets.

That’s why once a month, I’m going to be writing about the collectibles space. I’ll cover the basics of investing, trends and any big news that happens. Later on this year, I might even recommend some collectibles to buy.

I’m excited to write about this new and growing space. I hope you’ll enjoy reading about it. It’s something different. There’s upside. And it’s fun. That’s a great combination.

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