Hobby - Collectables
By: - at March 21, 2014

Top 15 Worthless “Valuables”

Top 15 Worthless Valuables.

Even people who aren’t hardcore collectors still want to believe that they could make a bit of extra cash from the few collectible items they’ve accumulated over the years. Most people have bought a few things that they had little or no genuine interest in because they liked the idea that they could keep it aside, watch it appreciate in value then sell it for a small fortune in the future. It seems like a good idea and for the most part it is, assuming you pick the right kind of item. There're many items out there that people feel are guaranteed to raise in value but the fact is they'll depreciate instead, this list of top 15 worthless valuables should help sift out the trash among their treasures.


15)  Vintage Movie Posters
Original vintage movie posters can be a sound investment if they’re of true classic films from the early to mid 1900s, such as: ‘Ben Hur’ (1959); ‘2001: A Space Odyssey’ (1968) and ‘Lawrence of Arabia’ (1962). Classic movie posters are certainly valuable and will only increase in value.

However, many other film posters don’t hold inherent value due to mass production and the increasing popularity of collecting them. While it’s worth collecting movie posters and hoping that the film it represents becomes a classic, there’s little chance of chance of making a significant return on the investment.

A worthless vintage Santa Clause Conquers the Martians poster
Original vintage movie posters can be a sound investment if they’re of true classic films from the early to mid 1900s.


14)  Hummel Figurines
Hummel figurines, otherwise known as Hummels or M.I. Hummel figurines, are a collection of porcelain figures based on the largely pastoral sketches by Sister Maria Innocentia. These initially gained popularity in Switzerland and Germany around the 1930s. The original images were popularized through postcards before porcelain maker, Franz Goebel, obtained the rights to produce figurines from the images.

The first series of the figurines were developed in 1935 and porcelain figures were popular at that time, Hummel figures were an instant success then soon made their way into the U.S. market. They were popularized largely by German immigrants, seeking refuge in America from Germany’s Nazi regime.

The figures gained higher demand after World War II, wanted by American soldiers serving in Germany who sent them back to the U.S. as souvenirs. In later years, the figurines became highly sought after collectables with the popularity hitting its peak in the 1970s. The Hummel figurines were considered to be an excellent investment, which only served to increase the popularity.

A secondary market for the statuettes never developed, leaving only the hardcore collectors interested in the product after a period of extreme desire to own a figurine but. The figurines are still produced today with an adequate market because they are still seen by some as a sound investment and popular in a number of countries. The figurines aren’t as popular or financially beneficial as some think. Even original pieces and limited editions are selling for around $50 a piece. Furthermore, it’s not uncommon for them to sell around or below purchase price.

Hummel Figurine
Hummel figurines, otherwise known as Hummels or M.I. Hummel figurines, are a collection of porcelain figures based on the largely pastoral sketches by Sister Maria Innocentia.
By Störfix, via Wikimedia Commons


13)  Cabbage Patch Kids
Cabbage Patch Kids were one of the most popular toys of the 1980s and still remain one of the most popular lines of dolls ever made. Created in the 1970s, Xavier Roberts developed the dolls based on designs by Martha Nelson Thomas.

The dolls were initially sold at small, local markets under the original name “Little People” before gaining phenomenal success. They were eventually mass produced throughout the 1980's and ultimately became one of the longest running doll franchises in the United States.

1983 was the year that the dolls hit the public consciousness and instantly created one of the biggest fads of all time. The product was one of the first toys to be exploited by shady entrepreneurs, who bought up the insufficient supplies and then sold them with extreme mark ups in price to desperate parents around the holidays.

The toys along with their accessories were originally produced by Coleco, followed by Hasbro, Mattel, Toys "R" Us and currently is sold by Play Along. The key to the toy’s success was marketing with a variety of dolls each with individualized facial features that came with “adoption” papers to encourage a sense of maternal bond.

The inherent value of the original product was under minded as a result of mass production and longevity of the product, despite now there's a novelty market as opposed to a mainstream audience. The only exception is the very first line of dolls that were first known as Little People.

Cabbage Patch Kid
Cabbage Patch Kid in package


12)  Beanie Babies
Produced by the company Ty Warner Inc., Beanie Babies are a variety of stuffed animals that were first released in 1993. There were originally nine of the characters to collect :  Spot the Dog, Patti the Platypus, Legs the Frog, Splash the Whale, Squealer the Pig, Flash the Dolphin, Chocolate the Moose, Pinchers the Lobster and Brownie the Bear, later known as "Cubbie".

With their cute appearance and names, Beanie Babies were an instant success amongst kids and adults. While production of the product ceased in 1999, consumer demand led to a re-launch of the product. In 2000, Beanie Babies were re-released with numerous new varieties that included Teenie Beanies and a line produced specifically for McDonald’s Happy Meals.

The renewed interest in the plush toys is what led to the misconception that Beanie Babies are valuable collectables. The new products proved popular amongst hardcore collectors that were desperate to have the whole set. They became a good and sound collectable, as the manufacturer released limited productions of the doll. This initially resulted in the scarcity of the items and created a secondary market where the most sought after dolls sold much higher than the original price. Ultimately, the manufactures ended up producing large quantities of each character that significantly reduced the inherent value of products.

Beanie Babies


11)  McDonald's Happy Meal Toys
If there’s one company in the world that is brilliant when it comes to advertising, it is McDonald’s. The company always promotes figures in their Happy Meals as collectible items and many children as well as adults believe the claims, thinking that if they hold onto them long enough then their value will skyrocket in the future.

In reality, the items are so mass produced on a global scale that it would take not just years but generations for the toys to appreciate in value, if they ever do at all. There are some specific Happy Meal figures that may go up in value, like the toys that were developed to promote movies and cartoons but most of the McDonald’s items have no real inherent value.

Pirates of the Caribbean Happy Meal Toy


10)  Recent "Star Wars" Figures
One of the soundest investments you could possibly make is collecting the original "Star Wars" figurines from the first movie trilogy series, released in the late 1970s. When the prequel movie trilogies were released in the 1990s, many people bought up pretty much anything related to "Star Wars".

People figured that it was simply the name of the franchise that meant instant value however, it was the original movie that started all the rage. "Star Wars" was never expected to be as successful as it became and ultimately it is one of the biggest shocks in the history of cinema.

Nevertheless, people bought up as much "Star Wars" merchandise as they could upon the release of the new trilogy. The figurines and pretty much all merchandise associated with the new films are practically worthless. They might appreciate in value decades from now but that is unlikely, given the global mass-production of the products.

Recent Star Wars Figures


9)  Collectible Coins
There is usually a difference between unique and rare when it comes to collecting valuables of any type but people are most likely to forget this fact when it comes to special collectable coins. On paper, unique coins with specific one of a kind designs could be a sound investment. However, various commemorative coins released during the years may be unique but they are not considered rare. They are usually worth a given price range that is paid after the coin is melted down; leaving only the metal they are made of. The issue is that there just isn’t interest in buying the coins in the secondary market.

Invaluable Chickasaw Oklahoma Coin
However, various commemorative coins released during the years may be unique but they are not considered rare, just like this Chickasaw Oklahoma coin.


8)  Homies
When it comes to collectible toys with inherent value, there’s a general rule that items coming from vending machines are worth very little but the “Homies” toy line seemed to be one of the rare exceptions. Released in the 1990s, the toys became a popular fad quickly. The figurines were plastic characters representing urban street kids in funky outfits. Homies were high in demand and they were snatched up by collectors at a phenomenal rate.

Despite their initial popularity that saw them expand the range, interest in the novelty faded and they are now selling for very little amongst their few hardcore collectors.

Homies


7)  Magic Cards
Traditionally, board games have been a fun item for collectors to buy. In this case, the game consists of role playing cards. “Magic: The Gathering” cards were an instant success when they were released in the 1990s. Although the game is currently still very popular, at one time people could sell specific cards with game playing value for much higher prices. The cards aren’t in demand as much as they used to be and for those who still love to play the Magic card games, they are still worth collecting at lower prices. If a certain card has a strategic game playing move that you may need, they will be a good investment in personal value. As far as the inherent value as a collector’s item, the idea of profit is not as likely as using the cards primarily for game investment. There’s little chance of making it big financially now or in the future.

Magic the Gathering cards
Magic the Gathering cards aren’t in demand as much as they used to be and for those who still love to play the Magic card games, they are still worth collecting at lower prices


6)  Comics and Comic Trading Cards from the 90s
While there are a few comic books from the 1990s that are genuinely valuable, most are not. This decade saw the return of the comic book craze become big again. There was a massive variety of new superheroes introduced that appealed to hardcore comic book fans and a whole new mainstream audience. While there were numerous varieties of books bought, few are now worth much at all. This is due to both mass production and the lack of maintaining the popularity of characters that were only briefly appealing.

In a similar pop culture fad, comic book trading cards from the same era are an equally risky investment as the comic books. Sports based trading cards were the popular collection items until comic book manufacturers got in on the trend and released their own cards.

Most of the major comic book producers released a variety of lines with the average comic book collector eager to have everything to do with their favorite superhero. The cards and books were a runaway success, at first.

Despite the elaborate range of comic related items available for purchase, they're practically worthless nowadays. Once again, this was caused by mass production and the loss of widespread interest.

Pile of Spiderman Comics


5)  POGs
“POGs” were another fad that became a quick obsession for collectors and became a surprisingly huge success. POGs are small, circular pieces of cardboard with a variety of images on them. While they were extremely popular amongst kids when first released in the early 1990's, they didn’t last long. Boxes carrying thousands of POGs can now be purchased on eBay for next to nothing.

POGs
POGs are small, circular pieces of cardboard with a variety of images on them. While they were extremely popular amongst kids when first released in the early 1990's, they didn’t last long. Boxes carrying thousands of POGs can now be purchased on eBay for next to nothing.


4)  Hess Trucks
Hess Trucks are plastic representations of the trucking company’s vehicles. They were first released in 1964, though it wasn’t until the 1980s that the toys became popular. As a result, production of the items increased.The range of items for purchase was also extended to include mini-trucks. While the original figures from the 60s and 70s are still valuable, the resale value dropped for those from the 1980s. The early Hess versions have sold in the price ranges of $100 to $1,000, depending on the original packaging. With the exception of a few rare versions of the models, anything produced after 1980 is far from a sound investment.

Hess Truck
hey were first released in 1964, though it wasn’t until the 1980s that the toys became popular. As a result, production of the items increased and now they are not valuable.
By AvidInsight, via Wikimedia Commons


3)  Precious Moments Figurines
The Precious Moments creations are innocent looking, large eyed, porcelain figures. While they originally sold for more than $40, many of them now go for an average of $1 to $5 on eBay. This is despite the fact that the company that produce the figures, Precious Moments Incorporated (PMI), still value the figurines at around $30. Even though PMI ntique dealers value the items as close to worthless. The lack of appreciation in the statues arose in 2004 when PMI's business partner at the time, Enesco, was forced to end their working relationship because of declining sales and poorly estimated values of the items.

Precious Moments Baby Figurine
The Precious Moments creations are innocent looking, large eyed, porcelain figures. While they originally sold for more than $40, many of them now go for an average of $1 to $5 on eBay.


2)  Reproduced Artist Prints (Primarily Thomas Kinkade Works)
Thomas Kinkade (1958 –2012) began his career as a painter by selling his works of art in random supermarket parking lots. He would go on to eventually create clientele requesting his work. Kinkade’s paintings were specifically focused on optimistic, heart-warming images, such as: garden settings, stone cottages, streams and lighthouses. Devoutly religious, Kinkade’s work often had Christian overtones.

The Thomas Kinkade Company was established after he became known for his artwork and eventually printed reproductions were mass produced along with a number of licensed items. Popular prints were placed in picture frames, Disney-licensed images, jigsaw puzzles, vases, Hallmark greeting cards, dishes and book covers. Kinkade’s work proved popular and appealing but too in demand to be a sound investment, despite what many believe.

Prior to internet access and sales on eBay, many people believed that a Kinkade painting or print was valuable but endless copies were made available for purchase. It’s estimated that there is one Kinkade print in one out of 20 homes throughout America. The art community eventually began to ridicule his work with many dismissing it as “mall art with no inherent artistic merit”.

One big misconception that the collectors of Kinkade, and other artists with mass-printed works, is that an artist’s work instantly becomes more valuable after their death. While that usually is the case, Kinkade’s business practices were questionable and different from other well-known artists. Kinkade produced most of his work through a semi-industrial process that involved a number of people working under him to produce his work. The process would generally involve Kinkade’s designs painted and then having his employees manufacture it by the hundreds. It is rumored that Kinkade may not have even had a hand in some of his work, which was stated shortly after his death. The official Kinkade website posted that The Thomas Kinkade Studio Artists continue to produce his work, leaving it invaluable.

Furthermore, Kinkade’s work has been heavily counterfeited with high-resolution digital photography coupled with new printing technology. Those who have bought his work for the underlying religious connotations have reason to feel ripped off. Art gallery dealers who were involved with Kinkade accused him of using religion as a gimmick to hook his audience and persuade them to buy, profits were supposedly used to support Christian missions.

Ultimately, the multi-facetted approach to the mass-production and marketing of Kinkade’s work leaves much of it with little to no inherent value. Reproduced prints by artists like Norman Rockwell also hold no true value, despite what many people think. Rockwell plates were produced by numerous manufacturers in huge quantities. This resulted in the product saturating the market through mass-distribution and making the quality of the prints questionable. Diminished interest in classic images of Americana and easy availability collude to make this seemingly sound investment far from profitable.

Thomas Kinkade's Family at Deer Creek painting
The Thomas Kinkade Company was established after he became known for his artwork and eventually printed reproductions were mass produced along with a number of licensed item


1)  Baseball and Basketball Cards
There aren’t many athletic kids that don’t love to purchase basketball or baseball cards. Many people were collectors whether they liked the sports or not, this is where the problem began. Sports trading cards are one of the most misunderstood “collectables”. where some cards are valuable but not all of them. In fact, there are only a select few that have any value at all. Trading cards produced before the 1970s, prior to the products phenomenal success in later years, were produced in the millions and that made the cards less valuable.

Sports cards were never thought to have a market beyond children, which is why they were packaged with pieces of cheap bubblegum that potentially damaged the cards. Sports cards embody the core misconception people have when it comes to what is worth a fortune, what isn’t valuable at all and why more so than any other collectable.

Basketball Cards
 Sports cards embody the core misconception people have when it comes to what is worth a fortune, what isn’t valuable at all and why more so than any other collectable
By Hgrobe, via Wikimedia Commons


Conclusion
If you’re accumulating a particular item because it has an inherent value to you personally then that’s perhaps the best approach to the hobby of collecting. If your objective is to make money then the process requires a lot of research, thought and even a bit of luck. These are all reasons why you should consider the outcomes before spending your money on something that could ultimately lose you money in the end.

The very thing that makes something collectible is the fact that no one ever anticipated that it would become valuable in the first place, hence why only a small number were initially produced. why the items are more costly and very hard to find.


 

 

 

 

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Top 15 Worthless "Valuables"

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