I just discovered that a book I purchased through Kickstarter in 2013 for $40 is now selling for $980 (+2,450%), whereas two years ago it was going for $320 (+800%). I bought it because I fell in love with the artist’s work in 2008 and, as a broke college student, couldn’t afford the actual prints. Today, I’m wondering whether to sell it or hold on to it. Looking back, there were very few Kickstarter backers (~40), so it may remain a scare item as his clientele (including HBO, Netflix, NY Times, Sky Harbor airport) grows. Yet, it’s been sitting on a bookshelf for eight years. Is it, then, a beloved and sentimental treasure or a valuable collectible? I have fond memories of visiting Daniel Martin Diaz‘s tiny galley in Tucson and chatting about symbolism, but I don’t think those memories will fade with the sale of a token.
My boyfriend has ten large boxes of collectibles. He has an editor’s copy of Sandman signed by Neil Gaiman, along with a dozen other Sandman collectibles. He has met the members of the bands Radiohead and NIN on several occasional due to fandom, connections, and good luck. Thus, he has countless signed albums, posters, and special merchandise signed by Trent Reznor, Thom Yorke and more. A child of the 80s, he still has his old gaming consoles, Rob the Robot, and over three hundred classic Nintendo and PlayStation games, several of which are selling of over $100 each. All of these items have been stored under the guest bed for longer than I have known him. Are the appreciating in value? Maybe. Are they worth holding on to? Maybe not.
My parents have may antiques passed down from my great grandparents, including a highboy, baby grand piano, music box, silver kitchenware, and gold jewelry. My mother is very attached to this items because they hearken back to her childhood and make her feel connected to her parents and her past. For sentimental reasons, she will never part with this items. As late-1800 to early-1900 antiques, they likely hold monetary value that could be realized, if she so chose. But would that be a statement that money is more valuable than personal history? Or would the sale of a family heirloom be as simple a transaction as any other?
It’s easy to clear out the closet, dispose of duplicate items, and upgrade appliances that no long work. When it comes to collectibles, the right choice becomes murky and more nebulous. It includes the consideration of resale value, sentimental value, future appreciation, and missed opportunity costs, the physical space it occupies, and the possibility of future regret over selling… or not.
Five years ago, I sold about 75% of my 1,000+ books. I was moving in with my boyfriend and he suggested we probably don’t have room for all of them and perhaps it’s not fair to keep them boxes up when other people could be enjoying them. Of 750 books, there are three that I think about often and wish I hadn’t donated, two of which were signed by the author with a personal inscription to me, which I likely cannot retrieve.
Remembering this instance, however, gives me some confidence that most collectible that don’t hold sentimental value are best sent off into the wild to find a new home, especially when they have spent years on a shelf or decades in a box awaiting their final destiny.
How do you feel about collectible items? Do you hold on to them indefinitely, sell them when they increase in value, or get rid of them when they take up too much space?