According to most economists, the way to get rich is to sell things for more than you paid for them, and if you can get something for free, so much the better. Enter collectibles, those prized possessions once taken for granted, lost, forgotten. Think how smug you’d be feeling right now if you had hung on to your 1949 Captain Midnight decoder badge, now worth $30 to an antique dealer. Or the first Amazing Spiderman comic book, published in March 1963 with a cover price of ten cents, now $405 in mint condition. If only we had known. But that’s the whole trick to the collecting game: recognizing the future value of today’s junk.
What will the collectibles of the next generation be? Forget about your Franklin Mint first ladies demitasse spoons; nobody throws away “limited editions,’ so they never become rare. Tomorrow’s treasures are lurking in dark closets, at the backs of desk drawers, in the kitchen cabinet behind the Skippy. And rather than try to corner the market ourselves, we’ll let you in on a few of the hottest investments around. They’ll be paying off sometime around 2010.
A) Disguised portable radios. This one is bound to be a classic. An interesting collection must have variety. (There’s nothing duller than a complete set of Roosevelt dimes.) Can’t you just imagine a collection with a Coors beer can, an Oreo with a bite missing, and a ladybug, all sitting side by side? These gems say a lot about our era’s youth. Demand for freedom (no cord). Love of the ridiculous. And if they can actually entice some poor gullible soul into asking what they are – utter perfection. Car courtesy of Radio Shack #8183 .
B) Extincl Dallas sports teams. If you have a program from , the NFL Dallas Texans of the early Fifties, you have the cornerstone of a grand collection. Add memorabilia from the local minor league baseball teams (Steers, Rebels, Eagles, Spurs). Throw in a couple of Chapparal items, especially those from the days when Cliff Hagen was player-coach. Add all you can find from the AFL Texan days, with particular emphasis on Abner Haynes. And just to be sure, lay aside a couple of Dallas Diamond programs. Do not, repeat do not, bother to save Cowboy items. But since you will anyway, keep those from the lean years, when names like Frankhauser, Livingston, and Marsh struck fear in the hearts of Cowboy fans.
C) Tupperware. Upholding the proud tradition of carnival and Depression glass, this is the most likely candidate for king kitchen collectible. It’s made of plastic, and most plastic is made from a petroleum derivative, and that spells trouble. Besides that, it’s marketed by housewives, and if the present trend continues there won’t be any housewives in 25 years.
D) Lunch boxes. Collectors seem to be naturally fascinated by tin-like items. Old tobacco tins are red hot, and flea market dealers visiting from the North will pay 10 cents apiece for your empty Pearl and Lone Star cans. In 20 years, the lunch box art featuring Miss Piggy, Woodstock, and the Incredible Hulk will be irresistible.
E) Hot Wheels. Toys are always a good bet, since today’s children will be tomorrow’s collectors. For a while it looked like the Star Wars spinoffs would be the blue chips of the future, but then things got out of hand; Ken-ner sold 68 million Star Wars toys in 1978 alone. Which brings us to Hot Wheels and their British cousins. Matchbox toys. These . are the thumb-sized vehicles that roll through our country’s playroom race tracks. In 25 years, there’ll be a Hot Wheels collector’s price guide. Cataloguing will be a snap, because they have patent dates stamped on the bottom. Best bet to place: boys’ dolls, which of course aren’t called that, like G.I. Joe.
F) Fountain pens. Man has used strange instruments to make his mark: reeds aged in Egyptian dung heaps, goose feathers dried in hot sand. But perhaps the most mysterious of all were the Water-mans, Schaeffers, and Parkers, which sucked ink into a reservoir at the pull of a lever, held it for days, then expelled it in toto on special occasions, such as white shirt pockets or English themes. Don’t bother with mechanical pencils. A pencil that you can’t chew on will never be held in high regard.
G) Malchbooks fromdefunct Dallas bars and restaurants. Strong contenders here will be theme establishments and those once fronted by sports figures. Watch for clues on which ones to save, like half priced dinners Mondays and Tuesdays, slurpee marga-ritas, or chicken wings on the child’s plate. If your waiter introduces himself, pick up a couple of extras.
H) Slide rules. Keuffel and Esser, once the world’s most prolific maker of slide rules, says that production has dropped to zilch. In fact, its slide rule engraving machine has been donated to (he Smithsonian. The really neat specimens were made of mahogany, followed in later years by aluminum and plastic. If you have a mahogany rule in its original leather clip-on case, the kind once worn like scabbards by physics students, put it in your safety deposit box.
memorabilia. This will be a great year for accumulating buttons with promises to be broken later by the winners. The lucky losers can speak of things that might have been, like Gerald Ford and his WIN button. A whole new sub-class of political collecting is gaining momentum – Nixoniana. Some of these collectibles have a little dirferent meaning today from what was originally intended, like those proclaiming “Nixon’s the one!” We don’t anticipate much interest in local politicians, except for the colorful characters like W. Lee O’Daniel.
J) Hyperactive books. It’s too late to collect comic books. Even those published in the Sixties and early Seventies are already selling at a premium. But collectibles that do tricks have always been popular, like the old mechanical banks. So we nominate for the literary collectible of the era the gimmick books: pop-up, scratch and sniff, look and feel – read and eat is bound to be just around the corner.
Books courtesy of Toy World, NorlhPark
K) Musical T-shirts.
Recordings have, for the most part, been dismal failures from an appreciation standpoint. If you don’t believe us, ask Half Price Books and Records what they’ll give you for your Fats Domino 45’s. But today’s freaky rock T-shirts are sure to be hot collectibles, and the choice is obvious. With Kiss, Cheap Trick, the Grateful Dead, and Alice Cooper, how can you miss?
L.) Junk food restaurant junk. Who can forget the piercing call for Capluuuuun MIDnight? Kids don’t have to suffer through a month’s supply of Ovalline to get the goodies today. For 69￠ you can drink (he Coke and keep the glass at your participating neighborhood junk food outlet. Avoid Superman; opt for the offbeat characters, like Aquaman and Catgirl. And latch onto anything you can find from ” Bat t lest ar Ga-lactica.” This one’s bound to be a winner due to its extreme (but fleeting) popularity.