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Collectibles: Trash or Treasure?
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Categories: Instruction and information; Humor and sarcasm

Word count/read time: 569 words; 2 minutes

The collectible fad has repeated itself countless times over the centuries. The tulip bust in Holland several hundred years ago plays out every year with oodles of new items. Recent ones include Cabbage Patch Kids, Tickle-Me-Elmo, Beanie Babies...and those are just silly dolls! It plays out much faster in the internet age as some of these fads may only last a few mouse clicks.

Franklin Mint arguably began the most recent iteration of subscription-style collector sets and trinkets. Simply, they were marketing geniuses though their later years were marked by mismanagement, lawsuits, bad publicity, and the market tanking. In their heyday they were untouchable, employing or contracting the best sculptors, engravers, and other artists.

One comedian had a snippet about rednecks and their fascination with collector plates. He joked that you know you're a redneck when you've spent your entire retirement on (worthless) collector plates. Have you seen some of these travesties? It constantly amazes me what percolates from the depths of cyberspace.

I can picture it now. Anxiously awaiting their new arrival, the family gathers around the door as the mailman arrives. Junior is jumping up and down, mom is putting her apron away, sis is getting antsy, and baby just dropped a mean number two in his diaper. Barking dog by his side, dad is ready to open the package, saying, "Calm down everyone. We will all get to enjoy the new porcelain plate (that we paid over $500 equivalent 2015 dollars) in a minute!"

Who thought of making a series of plates as ridiculous as some of these? It's one thing to find a quirky collector who goes bananas over the new (insert type here) plate but to have the audacity to make tens of thousands of these and convince people to buy them at exorbitant prices?

One comedian had a snippet about rednecks and their fascination with collector plates.
This isn't an attack on the accomplished artists who contributed their designs. I mean...who gets excited because the new McDonald's or CocaCola or Pepsi plate arrives? Gold Medal Flour anniversary plate? Or the cartoon cat, teddy bear, unicorn, whale, fish, doll, bird, moose, grizzly bear, wolf, cow, woodchuck or dog plates? Seasonal, landscape, and fantasy plates are always a good waste of fine porcelain and 24kt gold trimming. As are motorcycles, planes, trains, and automobiles.

But John Wayne (racist bigot), Sinatra, Princess Diana, baseball greats, and Elvis?? Looney Tunes, Little Rascals, Simpsons, Gunsmoke, Flintstones, Three Stooges, Campbell's Soup, Peanuts - is nothing sacred? Freddie Mercury from Queen got his own set of twelve plates! It would seem improbable that any Harley owner who would purchase a cheap cartoonish square porcelain plate depicting a bunch of hogs in front of the drive-in! Well, maybe to use as skeet.

Even the silver, gold, sterling silver, and other precious metal plates NEVER sell for their original asking price except when precious metal prices go through the roof. And they only sold for that much due to their raw precious metal content. Few exceptions exist.

Change the word "plates" in this entry to any other item marketed by these companies and it would still hold true: porcelain or pewter figurines, glass and other sculptures, fobs, etc. The only items that appear to have any value are those with precious metals. Even with all the paperwork, cases, letters, documentation, and original mailing packages, you'd be lucky to get spot price.

So the answer is mostly trash. And those who thought otherwise? Mostly trash, too.

Posted by M: October 29, 2015

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