As we grow older, we see many things coming back from our early years. Fashion is probably number one; I’m expecting that one of these days soon you will be pulling your leisure suit and Nehru jacket out of the bag in the attic so you can tool around in style.
The economic conditions currently we face do have correlations with other economic troubles, including the Great Depression. Wise people understood that high-end antiques would always have value and gain value. Henry F. du Pont (1880-1969) was an avid collector and wealthy beyond imagination. He could have purchased the newest and best of anything he wanted, but he furnished Winterthur—his elegant country home in Delaware—with antiques. Now, Winterthur is where everyone goes to see prime American items from the 18th and 19th century. Few know that with all his wealth he still bought on time, paying an amount over a period of time until it was his.
Some people do have the foresight to invest in antiques and collectibles, but the items they buy don’t have lasting value. The people that stocked up on Beanie Babies and Billy Beer understand what I mean: Good thinking, wrong choice.
We are fast approaching another period of time when proper buying will be able to put your great grandchildren through college or buy that new house or vacation home.
Yes, it is true that we baby boomers are getting older (at least some of us). We need to understand that we were—and are—the collecting generation. Our offspring do not have the same desires or time that we did. Remember when summer lasted forever and you and the boy or girl you met that summer would be together forever? What happened? Time moved on and now seems to pass at supersonic speed, as there are so many activities available to consume all of our time. Our children raise their kids and prepare them for this super-charged future where there is not enough time for our children to have an interest in anything but surviving and keeping up with work.
OK, so I ramble on and you wonder what the heck does this have to do with anything? Well, we know that two things are certain—death and taxes. Our generation is starting to fade away; our children do not or did not have the same interest we had. Therefore, they know far less about collecting, and some of our more valuable items will fall through the cracks when we (or our kids) put these items into the secondary market (auctions, estate sales, etc).
It is time to start looking at all of our stuff again. That Nehru jacket you threw away might just be worth more than your car.
If you question the value of an item, use the Worthopedia for a competitive market analysis or use the Ask a Worthologist to establish an estimated value.
Thom Pattie is WorthPoint’s Chief Worthologist.
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