Perhaps you’ve decided to clean out your grandparents’ attic? The probability that you will unearth a real treasure is relatively high. “But those who collect items that interest them can build a valuable collection. In the long run, it can also be an excellent investment,” says Van der Vorst. A good collection is only built on your personal preferences, whether you collect it for pleasure or investment. Only collect what you like, and don’t let fashions guide you.
Tintin-related items are not the only ones that are successful at auction. Other comic book characters attract collectors, especially “comics,” American-style comic books. The main difference with European comics is that they are primarily published in serial form, for example, once a month. “Comics are visual media that stimulate a taste for reading, especially among young people. This craze links to the film adaptations and encourages many people to collect comic books,” explains Van der Vorst. These include Superman, Batman, Spiderman, and X-Men.
Before you spend a lot of money on a comic book, ask an experienced collector or a specialized broker for advice. There are several pricing systems available. The Overstreet Price Guide for Comics for American comics is a good reference. The annual edition gives scores up to 25, considering the book’s condition, binding, printing, the ink used, corner cutting, spine, staples, paper, etc. Another rating system is Comic Guaranty LLC.
The first issue of Action Comics holds the record; a copy in the perfect condition sold for $2.16 million in November 2011. It was the first appearance of Superman. In June 2013, another copy sold for $175,000. An American man found by chance during renovation work, behind a wall of his house insulated with newspapers, a copy of Action Comics No. 1 from 1938 (the year when the house was built).
“More and more collectors are looking at movie posters as an alternative investment,” Van der Vorst notes. Metropolis is a German science fiction film from 1927. The poster offered for sale was part of a lot that also included a poster for King Kong (1933), The Invisible Man (1933), and an effigy of Elvis Presley. The Metropolis poster reached an all-time high in its category: $690,000. In 2012, the international version of the Metropolis poster sold for $1.2 million.
As a result of these dizzying increases, some collectors think that all vintage posters are potentially precious,” continues the expert. Entertainment memorabilia has increased in value over the past decade, with prices often exceeding $100,000. But the main reasons behind these amounts are more subtle than they appear at first glance.” Today, films are promoted with three-minute trailers. In the past, the film industry used real artists. Movie posters didn’t just have a marketing function: the artist created an iconic mood around the film.
Vintage ski posters
Vintage travel posters, sports posters, and art reproductions represent one of the most critical sectors of the collecting world. “Their style, historical interest, and aesthetic appeal are just a few reasons they continue to attract interest. But few people collect posters exclusively as an investment. The quality of the work counts,” explains Patrick Van der Vorst.
The demand for these posters fueled nostalgia for the days when travel was still synonymous with adventure and glamour. “Ski posters have become very important in the last ten years because they combine the themes of travel and sport,” continues the Value My Stuf specialist. Those relating to worldly ski areas in France and Switzerland are in high demand. “Style and rarity of the poster, as well as the name of the artist, are only of secondary importance,” the expert emphasizes.
Although, when it combines a glamorous location and a well-known artist – such as St. Moritz in Switzerland and Emil Cardinaux – its price can quickly climb. However, collectors must remain vigilant, as the market does not always follow this logic, and prices can be volatile. A 1952 poster with a skier going down a slope, used as an advertisement for Russian ski resorts, much sought after by Russians, sold in 2008 for 30,000 pounds, whereas it had been evaluated between 600 and 800 pounds by Christie’s South Kensington. An absolute record. But an identical copy did not exceed 1,300 pounds at a sale in 2011.
9.5 million dollars. It is the astronomical price reached in June at an auction in New York by the “One-Cent Magenta,” a postage stamp dating from 1856. This stamp from British Guiana became the most expensive in the world, breaking the previous record. In 1996, a Swedish stamp from 1855, the “Tre Skilling,” had found a buyer for 2.2 million dollars.
Is it profitable to collect stamps when you are an amateur philatelist? “It is possible, provided you buy the right stamps. This market is complex. The rare items increase in value,” says Van der Vorst. What makes a stamp rare? It can be limited editions, stamps that have declined significantly over time because their attractiveness causes high demand from investors or a combination of all three factors.
Printing errors are also sought after because they are rare. These stamps have not been issued in large quantities or have not been put on the market at all. They are, therefore, highly sought after by curious collectors. The most famous printing error is the “Inverted Jenny,” an American stamp on which a plane is printed upside down. The Washington D.C. post office sold only one sheet of 100 stamps. Although the face value is only 24 cents, Robert A. Siegel Auction Galleries sold one for $977,500 in 2007.
The sports memorabilia market is one of the largest areas of antiques. It is due to the wide range of sports, from boxing to bowling, and the wide variety of items on offer, ranging from fishing rods to soccer trophies. Almost all hobbies are present in the souvenir market, and many sectors of the antique industry have their own sports sub-sector: silver, ceramics, paintings, artworks, and books.
“The items that sell best have something to do with the origins of the sport, a legendary athlete, a particular game or competition. The collecting market has expanded thanks to the Internet, and young people have become interested in sports memorabilia. Collectors who want to ensure their purchase will retain or increase value need to buy quality items. The economic crisis has made this criterion even more important,” advises the expert.
The record price in this market segment was reached in December 2010. At Sotheby’s NY, an original copy of the basketball rulebook sold for $4.3 million. And while the World Cup is still on everyone’s mind: the medal of Nobby Stiles, the former Manchester United midfielder from the 1966 World Cup, sold for £160,000, although its value was estimated at between £100,000 and £150,000.