Collecting Makes a Comeback During Pandemic

The hobby of collecting is well-suited for our current era of isolation and social distancing. We have rounded up information here about some popular collectable items as well as a few unusual ones, along with tips and websites to help you find out more.

Woman WorldThe hobby of collecting is well-suited for our current era of isolation and social distancing. It entails activities you can and often need to do from home, including sorting and organizing your stuff, doing research, and scouring the internet for items you might want to purchase. With the economy in flux, people are also buying collectibles as another method of investing and are snapping up items such as figurines, trading cards, comic books, and coins.

For many people, collecting was a childhood pastime that they have continued to pursue or are rediscovering. Others are using their extra time at home to start collecting or begin a new collection. The best items to collect are ones that you will enjoy learning about and accumulating, experts say. Whatever you are interested in collecting, it's a good idea to carefully study that topic and find out as much as you can about it by following hobby blogs and online forums. There are also numerous collecting groups on Facebook, and many items for sale on eBay and other sites. Whatever items you collect, you need to learn how to take care of your collection so that you properly protect your items and help them retain their value. Some products only well sell if they are in their original packaging. Another general rule of thumb is that the rarer the item, the more it will sell for at a later time.

We have rounded up information here about some popular collectable items as well as a few unusual ones, along with tips and websites to help you find out more.

Sports Cards
Trading cards have long been a way for fans to show appreciation for their favorite players and sports teams. Collectors have been buying more sports cards in recent years, and sales in this category have soared during the pandemic. There is a huge number of cards out there for many kinds of sports; baseball cards are the most popular. If you are just starting out collecting sports cards, it's important to think about whether you want to collect modern-day or vintage cards. Cardboard Connection, an online resource for sports cards, has a set of articles on its site called Sports Collection 101 to help people learn about this hobby.

Collecting coins has been a popular hobby for decades. It also often pursued for investment purposes, since some coins gain value over time, and there is inherent value in coins that are made of gold or silver. There are many types of collecting you can do with coins. You can collect by a design theme, by a year or time period, by country, or by the metal used. You can also collect coin sets. Sets are produced by mints worldwide, and purchasing some of these sets are a great way to start collecting coins, experts say. The website for the American Numismatic Association, an organization that educates people about coin collecting, has many useful articles and videos.

Comic Books
Comic books have long been collectibles since they creatively combine art and storytelling. The popularity of recent Marvel and superhero movies has led to an uptick in comic book collecting. Many comic books appreciate in value and can lead to financial gain for collectors. Sites like Multiverse and have helpful guides to help you better understand how to collect comics and graphic novels, and advice for getting started.

Stamps have long been popular collectible items, due in part to their variety and history. Every country in the world has their own stamps. Stamps are also an appealing hobby because they are easy to store, don't take up too much space, and come in a plethora of interesting designs. There are numerous clubs and organizations for those who want to get involved in this hobby. The American Philatelic Society links to local groups, as well as loads of information about stamps, including how to start a collection, stamp trivia, and more.

Vintage Glassware
Collecting vintage glassware such as vases, bowls, and plates may seem like an expensive hobby, but there are options for every budge and many types of decorative and functional items. For example, Depression glass refers to molded glass that comes in beautiful colors and fancy patterns. Milk glass is a type of white opaque type of glassware that can be pressed into a variety of shapes. If you want to learn more about collecting glassware, check out the website for Invaluable, a marketplace for antiques and collectibles.

Old Electronics
The life span of most electronics is pretty short these days as people seek to constantly upgrade their cell phone and other devices. As the digital age continues to progress, demand has been growing for old-style electronics from the 1970s and 80s such as walkmans, original Macintosh computers, early gaming systems from Atari and Sony, and early calculator watches. Nostalgia for adults who grew up with these items as well as popular shows such as Stranger Things are fueling much of the demand among collectors. Etsy and eBay are good resources for anyone interested in finding retro tech.

Melanie Kletter is an educator and freelance writer and editor.  

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