Psychologist and author of The Rough Guide to Psychology, Christian Jarrett believes that around one-third of the British population collects something. So why do many of us get so obsessed with collectables and how does that desire to collect inanimate objects develop in the first place?
Whether it’s your father’s vinyl collection, your limited edition Pokemon cards or your girlfriend’s vast array of perfume, we don’t just own collections, sometimes they own us…
Our desire to collect stems from our childhood
Psychologist, Dr Rebecca Spelman believes that our fascination with collecting things goes way back to when we were young children. Spelman says that when we’re given a comfort ‘blanky’ or a bunny to sleep with at night time it teaches us that it’s possible to have an emotional attachment to something material and inert.
As we grow and develop into adults this desire to have an attachment to something material progresses into something that doesn’t just offer comfort and security, it offers pleasure in its own right! For the vast majority of people that enjoy collectables, it’s not the financial gain that drives them, it’s the emotional driven action – with the ability to connect positive feelings and memories at particular points in our lives.
Of course, as we grow older and look to the future, a collection is viewed as something that can be part of a legacy that we leave behind for children. It becomes an extension of us and helps our children to understand our lives, who we are and what we have done. It’s the perfect opportunity to pass on that much-loved vinyl collection and remind your kids that weren’t always a grumpy old man, you were once a super-cool rocker!
Collecting for the big bucks
What about the collectors’ items that could potentially be worth life-changing sums of money, I hear you ask. Valid question. The fact they are so valuable means that you should place significant importance on storing your collectables in a safe place rather than hoarding them on show, risking costly damage in the process.
Valuable collectables can come in the most bizarre packages. Back in December 2015, research by The Telegraph found that investors would have got better returns acquiring Lego sets in the last 15 years than they would have from the stock market, gold or bank account interest. Lego sets kept in first-class condition have increased in value by more than 12% year-on-year since the Millennium, with certain sets rising in value from the moment they’re taken out of production!
Back in 2015 also, the latest Star Wars movie, The Force Awakens was unleashed onto our cinema screens. In light of this, SaveMyBacon.co.nz spent some time calculating just how much collectable Star Ways toys from the 1970s and 80s are worth and displayed it in their infographic here.
It’s staggering to think that a Luke Skywalker figure that cost just $1.99 USD in 1978 could now be worth a four-figure sum – providing it’s in mint condition and boxed – there’s the case for fit and proper storage again!
So, what are the most collectable items today?
We sought guidance from some of the leading auctioneers and collectors online to discover what the most popular collectable items are right now and the trends they predict for the coming year.
British auctioneers, Mallams, believe some of the most popular collectors’ items today are:
- Vintage Kitsch homeware e.g. 1960s lava lamps
- Vintage china sets – most notably sets made by Lenox and Welmar or sets dating back to the mid-19th century
- Antique wooden chairs – pre-20th century wooden furniture is predicted to be a hit again, with the highest prices available for full sets of wooden chairs with a matching table
- Vintage toys and games – anything from original GameBoy’s and Cabbage Patch dolls through to obscure 19th century games such as squails and bagatelle
Across the pond in the United States, we’ve also sourced some interesting trends and predictions for artistic collectables in 2017:
- “I predict we’ll see continued growth and strong sales for the Chinese fine and decorative arts markets, with much of the property returning to Chinese nationals and the expatriate Chinese.” – Sam Berkovitz, Concept Art Gallery.
- “2017 is a great time to invest in 20th century Indian, Iranian and African-American artists. Just this October, Clars boasted the $10,890 sale of an oil painting by Iranian artist Abolghassem Saidi, far exceeding the $3-5,000 estimate.” – Lauren Pressler, Clars Auction Gallery.
- “The next big thing in 2017 should be a larger international embrace of African and Latin-American currents as American art continues to be redefined.” – Nigel Freeman, Swann Auction Galleries.
When does a collector become a hoarder?
There is a fine line between collecting and hoarding. Whilst we all want to collect memories and keep items of sentimental value, if we have too many taking up valuable space in our homes – cluttering up our everyday lives – then we are technically hoarding!
Do you really need those 200 CDs taking up space in your living room? Are you still actually using them and getting joy from them or do you tend to stream your music online? Platforms such as Spotify give users access to a library of tunes far greater than we could ever collect ourselves. You never know, CDs may have their own resurgence in the same way that vinyl has today. The future generations may end up looking at CDs as a hugely fascinating object, wondering just why it can only fit 10 songs on and why the order of the songs cannot be adjusted! But we’re not quite there yet. Sadly your hard copy of Steps’ greatest hits still falls under the “old fashioned but not quite cool vintage” category.
You’ve also got to take into consideration the psychological impact of cluttering up your home with collectables just because your kids might want them someday. Although some trends may be cyclical, there’s no doubt that you’ll go stir crazy looking at boxes of pogs or yo-yos waiting for them to come back into fashion. There comes a time when you simply have to deal with that inner turmoil of what to do with the collectables you care about but don’t need every day.
You know that wardrobe of clothes purchased at the gigs of your favourite bands? Yes, the ones that are a size ‘small’ and now you’re struggling to fit into them. Let’s be realistic, you aren’t getting back into these any time soon. They don’t need to be taking up space in your wardrobe.
Don’t forget the ‘collectables’ that you’ve hoarded away in the hope they would become valuable. Back in the 1990s, Ty Beanie Babies were one of the decade’s biggest crazes, but unfortunately, it’s 2017 now… they don’t look cool having them all laid on your bed! Put them away securely into storage until your children or grandchildren can get pleasure from them like you once did.
For all those collectables you can’t bear to get rid of but really don’t need at home, there is a simple solution. With LOVESPACE you don’t have to say goodbye to your beloved collectables forever, but free up more space so you can start living a bigger life.
When you do want to revisit your old comic book collection, or try on your old merchandise and relive those gigs of your favourite bands then we can deliver them back to you as soon as the next day.
Let LOVESPACE control your inner hoarder and protect your precious collectables in professional storage, and you can have them delivered back to you whenever you need them.