While investments can comprise of a wide variety of valuables such as property, cryptocurrency, and stocks, there is also a niche market of collectibles and toys that accrue value over time.
Some of these items include rare antiques, knick-knacks that capture the culture of the time, and a range of toys, silverware, and other ubiquitous utensils that seem to be at every Goodwill.
At some point, while visiting with a friend or family member, they’ve taken you past a shelf and showed you a valuable item that fits within one of these categories. We show them off and disclose their prices, relishing in the shock that spreads across their faces when we declare an astonishing sum for what seems like toys.
Sometimes their estimates are right, even conservative, with some antiques venturing into the million dollar territory. But other times, our estimates are wrong. Sometimes the items will decrease in value over time as cultural interests shift away from nostalgia and towards practicality or a new trend. This list includes the latter.
These objects have had their value drop well below their estimated and original prices. In these examples, the collectibles have become synonymous with their surfaces, just old, dusty objects, taking up space.
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Here is a list of the Top 10 collectibles that are now considered worthless.
10 Barbie Dolls
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Barbie Dolls became a financially feasible collectible in 2010 when a classic Barbie sporting a diamond choker sold for over $300,000. This was a rare instance for the collectible. A wide variety of old, vintage Barbies are listed on eBay for somewhere between $10 and $20, barely retaining their original market value.
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Stamps are a common collectible as they often depict popular and controversial moments in history. However, the value of these objects beyond historical sentimentality is rarely above the double-figures range.
Stamps are traditionally massed produced, making their value significantly lower than other limited edition collectibles. While some have fetched astonish prices like The British Guiana 1c Magenta stamp that sold for over $10 million, most others don’t bring in that same kind of money.
8 Vintage Shirts
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While the fashion trend of sporting old band shirts has reached celebrity status, many vintage shirts found at the back of closets hold little more than their sentimental value.
A wide variety of vintage shirts are continually listed on eBay, fetching little more than $20.
However, there is always an exception, like when a promotional Beatles shirt sold for over $19,000.
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Figurines are often considered to be one of the most popular collectible items. Figurines come in a variety of styles and brands ranging from Precious Moments to Funko Pop!, but many of these figures continue to be made today, resulting in an abundance of figures with little to no rise in value.
Even the longly coveted Hummel Figurines, which initially began as limited runs, started to mass produce their products. This resulted in some originals being sold for thousands of dollars, while others are worth a few dollars and some change.
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While certain folklore from the United States has been seen in museums and at auction houses, the style has decreased in popularity over time.
Jim Griffith, antique expert and Dean of Education for eBay commented on the recent change in value for traditional Americana in an interview with TheStreet. Griffith stated, “The frenzy of buying American collectibles and American antiques from the mid- and early-century definitely has taken a downturn”.
5 Commemorative Plates
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The trend of having plates depict cultural landmark moments in history rose in popularity during the mid-century.
Norman Rockwell, painter of American nostalgia, released a series of collectible plates throughout the 1970’s that featured iconic characters from his paintings of American history.
Originally, these plates fetched values at hundreds of dollars. But recently, the plates have gone for far below their original value, in some cases around $5 and $15 apiece.
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4 Lunch Boxes
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Also popular throughout the 1970’s were tin lunch boxes featuring iconic images from film and television.
Some of these metal boxes have reached high values. The Universal Knights in Armor box sold for $1250 and the Yellow Submarine lunchbox from 1968 sold for $1300.
Other lunch boxes from the same era rarely crack the hundred dollar threshold.
3 Coca-Cola Memorabilia
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Coca-Cola memorability reached its peak in the 1940s and 1950s. The company made a wide variety of products for American consumers ranging from clocks to coolers and an array of signs.
Certain items, such as soda fountains have sold for millions, but due to the abundance of signs and other paraphernalia, most Coke collectibles go for somewhere between $5 and $10 dollars.
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2 Baseball Cards
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When it comes to baseball cards, value resides in the age of the card as well as within the face that adorns the front. Certain high profile players like Babe Ruth can set record prices like $500,000 for their cards.
Newer cards have a much lower threshold for value. Even those that have been around for 20 years have had their values continue to decrease over time, resulting in a few upset collectors.
1 Beanie Babies
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Beanie Babies have a cultural significance and value that is commonly brought up in conversations about collectibles, making it the most surprising on this worthless collections list.
The idea of these small, cloth toys having absurd amounts of value became popular when the Princess Diana bear sold for $500,000.
Other Beanie Babies have also sold within the hundred thousands of dollars range.
But despite these rare examples, most Beanie Babies are worth only a few dollars on resale sites like eBay.
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Sources: BBC, TheStreet, Alux, Forbes, Business Insider
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