About 9:30 or so we talk about all kinds of stuff. Thanks to Janie, actually, I can’t really say it’s completely Janie’s fault but we had a leak in the house a couple of weeks ago, took care of that so we had emptied a lot of stuff out of the bedroom. One of that was the bookshelf. Janie decided it would be nice if we didn’t have to have quite so many books and magazines and things because all that information is on the computer now, which I said, “I don’t care, I like looking at my books.”
I sat back and started reading a lot of my old magazines and stuff. There’s a magazine antique collector. I don’t know if it’s still around now or not but I found a bunch of my older editions from 1996. It’s just kind of neat to go through those and look at the different auctions and the different prices of a lot of the items and collectibles and things like that that were for sale. One of the fellows that used to contribute to that was a gentleman by the name of Harry L Rinker who was an antique dealer out of New York, a very intelligent, wise gentlemen.
He was a collector of all kinds of different stuff. He used to write in the magazine. It’s interesting looking at some of the stuff that he talked about and some of his philosophies. Now that we’re talking 20 years later, was he right or wrong, or anything like that? He talked about a gentleman who had written him a letter about an ad that he had seen. The ad said that this one company had a Mickey Mouse or a Disney figurine that was coming out in limited edition. It would only be around for one day. It would be offered to the public for sale for one day only at $50.
This gentleman asked Mr. Rinker. He said, “Is this something you think I should really buy because it’s limited?” He gives a bunch of references to some items that were available in limited amounts as far as Disney stuff that came out at $198 and now it’s selling for $1800 and it was a limited Disney thing. Now, this is only going to be around for one day but at a much better price. This one was only going to be $50.
The gentleman who ran the advertisement said, “Look at the potential of this.” He gave it some comparisons of more expensive Disney pieces that came out in a limited amount and how much they’ve appreciated at. Mr. Rinker’s reply to this gentleman was funny, very much like what I’ve talked about over the years as far as collectibles go. It wasn’t from this particular article but it was just from being in the business.
We talk about what is it worth. It’s great to get an advertisement that says you can buy this at a limited amount, at the introductory offer of such-and-such, and comparable items now that came out earlier are selling for ten times that amount. This boils down to what is it worth. How do we establish that they’re selling for ten times more than they came out? If you have records that say we look at 100 items, and the majority of those items sold for ten times more than what they first came out at, then you can say that.
But if a person who is trying to sell you that item says, “These things have appreciated 10 times the value,” that’s their opinion because they’re trying to sell it to you, then we don’t really have any credibility as far as what is that item really worth. If they say to you, “I expect that this item will go up tenfold.” That’s not a guarantee. That’s their feeling on the particular item. Do a little research before you jump in.
Anyway, what the information and what came back from Mr. Rinker to this person who had written him a letter was the fact that number one, this gentleman doesn’t have any weight to substantiate his claims that these things are now selling for $1800 when they first came out at $198. There really was no way to substantiate what this gentleman was saying.
Number two, and I’ve talked about this before with collectibles, it’s the first person in line is the one who is going to take his hard earned money and invest it in what he believes will be a good investment as far as a collectible goes. Later on, you’re going to have to go to the secondary market. This is a people who might want it, they weren’t able to get it when it first came out, and now you find out what it’s really going to be worth because you put a price on it and they say to you, “I’d like to buy it but I’d never pay anywhere near that.”
“What would you pay for it?” “I’d pay $20 for it.” “But I paid $50 when it first came out.” “Well, you bought it because either number one, you wanted it because you were a collector. Number two, you bought it because you’re a collector but you really felt like it would appreciate in value because that’s what the advertisement said. This thing will go up in value.” It’s a limited amount of them.
Now, when you go to the real market, you find nobody really cares. If they can buy it at a reduced rate than what it came out at because it’s really not that scarce, even though it’s a limited amount, they’re still fairly plentiful, then all of a sudden, you find that maybe this wasn’t the greatest investment.
Another phrase that you can remember is money in the hand is worth more than future expectations. To break that down for someone who is going, “What the heck does that mean?” It means that your hard earned money before you spend it on something that you believe is going to appreciate because of what the advertisement tells you, might not always be true. It might be not always be true. It might be better to keep that money in your hand.
This goes with a lot of different things. I constantly had people call me with houses they’ve bought and they want to try to flip them. You see it on TV, all these different shows, how these guys are all making so much money on these houses they’re buying. We get these people who have the money laying around and they don’t know what to do with it, they go, “Okay, I’m going to buy one of these houses, fix it up, and flip it.”
The next thing you know, after they’ve put all their time, labor, and expense into it, they wind up selling it for less than what they have in it. The same thing with collectibles; know what the heck you’re buying because it’s advertised as a limited amount, limited production of these particular items. A great example would be these gold plated coins you see on television.
They tell you right now, they’re only $19.95 but wait, if you buy them right now, you’ll get an extra one free. The other coins that are not layered in 24 karat cold are selling for much, much more. Yeah, one is solid gold and one has gold plating on it. How much gold plating? Stick your finger in a glass of water, pull it out, shake it a bunch of times, and that’s how much gold plating is on it.
If you want to pay $19.95 for that plus shipping and handling, then you’re making a big mistake. Call now and get two but you only pay shipping and handling on the second one. When you look at an advertisement on a limited amount, limited time only type of thing on a collectible, if you enjoy it and you like it, and when you pick it up, you look at it and fondle it, and handle it, and it makes you smile, then by all means, go ahead and jump in on a collectible and buy it for yourself.
If you’re going to buy it because you’ve bought a bill of goods that says, “This thing is going to appreciate in value,” don’t buy it. Now, have some items, some collectibles appreciated in value? A certain percentage of them have. I’m going to tell you, probably a very small percentage have appreciated, especially we look at in the 80s, the collectible plate market. That went crazy, all these different companies jumped on the bandwagon. They all started making collectible plates.
Topics like American Indians, cats, dogs, Rockwell, biblical scenes, the ten commandments; they came out with a plate for everything, butterflies, flowers, and they were a limited amount only, only 5000 of them were made in the entire world. It sounds great. Now, if you get 10 cents on the dollar for what you paid for those plates originally, you’re doing well.
That market completely crashed because it was nothing but a bunch of hype. Now, there’s lot of people who bought them. I go on appointments everyday to different homes and see these things all around the kitchen and on the walls, and things like that. The artwork on them is beautiful. A lot of them were extremely, extremely well done. They had private artists who were commissioned to do these things.
If they specialized in flowers, then they commissioned that artist to do the plates that were all kinds of flowers, really well done, and they made thousands of them. There’s just not a market for them now. What you’re looking at are someone who loved flowers, they loved plates, they loved this decorations. You know what? Every day, they look at them, it makes them smile. That’s the true collector. That’s who that stuff was made for but not really.
It was made for the majority of people who believed they were limited amounts, they could buy them, they would appreciate in value, they would make a lot of money. This was what they were going to do for a livelihood. They were going to buy these things and sell them, buy more and sell them. I’ve been on calls when I first started 38 years ago.
I went to a mobile home that the mother had died. The kids had inherited these plates. I remembered buying 225 collectible plates because at that time, in the 80s, there was still a market for them. I thought, “My gosh, I’m going to do so good with this.” If it wouldn’t have been for the hurricane wiping out my store, I would probably still have 219 of those plates in my inventory.
I sold nine of them. They were flying off the shelves for nine times. After that, nobody else wanted it. I didn’t really do that well. I didn’t get to collect on them. We talk about these collectibles and things like that. Lots of times, it’s a manipulated market. You don’t see behind the scenes.
We talked about gold coins. Isle of Man came out with a gold coin called an angel. It was a beautiful coin, gorgeous. There were a few big dealers, coin dealers who turned around and started buying these from the government. Could that possibly be? Yes, sometimes, believe it or not, governments are somewhat corrupt and – don’t get on your soapbox. I saw you perk right up on that one.
A lot of times, these dealers would go and pay off an official at a mint and say, “Okay, we want to buy the majority of the production. Yeah, you can advertise these things and sell them to the public and the price will start to go up but we want to own the majority of these coins that come out. We want them presold to us.” What would happen, these were in a lot of numismatic magazines and things.
They were put out there and said, “These coins have the potential to go up in value. They’re a limited amount. They’re in proof condition” A lot of people jumped on the bandwagon. What happened then? The dealers who had the majority of the inventory of these coins would put their buy price in magazines.
If they came out at $100 apiece, their buy price was automatically $120 so someone who bought it at $100 said, “Man, I already made $20. I’m going to sell it.” Some people would take their profit. A lot of other people would keep watching these buy prices go up. First, it was $120. The next week, they were paying $130 for it. The next week, they were paying $150 for them but in a different page, it also said, “Selling these coins, we will buy at $160. Our sale price is $175.”
The person said, “Geez, you know what, they’re only making $15 a coin. Look how they had been going up in value.” Then you had another dealer who went in there and said, “We’re buying them at $190.” Someone who bought it at $175 from this one dealer said, “I could turn around and make $15 and sell to this other dealer. I’m going to start doing that.”
Then that meant that they could no longer sell them to get $175. They had to raise their price to $190 so within three months, these things had gone from $100 up to being valued at $190. What people didn’t realize was this was they had created their entire market on these things. They were buying them and selling them, and really, nobody else was doing this.
A bunch of other dealers said, “If these things are moving that fast, I need some for my inventory.” They would contact the two dealers who had the majority of this inventory that came from that country and buy them. They would put them in their showcases. They could show people, “Look how much they’ve appreciated.” It just went on and on.
These things really went crazy as far as the gold market escalated, the numismatic price theoretically has escalated. Then what happened, they sold the majority of their inventory out. They quadrupled their money on them. Now when people went to sell them, they would go to a dealer and that dealer would turn get on – this was before we really had the internet.
They would contact other dealers, “What are you paying for them?” Everybody all of a sudden was befuddled, “There is no market for these things,” and they started trading back for the gold content or a little above the gold content. This was a manipulated market. Yes, there’s a lot of big boys out there that do this with stocks, commodities, and everything else.
You have to be a little bit more knowledgeable before you jump in. Just because you see it in black and white doesn’t always mean that’s the way things are going to be. Like I’ve stressed over the years, if you’re going to buy a collectible, just like this Disney collectible, it’s coming out for $50 and it’s limited for one day only according to this advertisement.
The one that came out at $198 was selling for $1800. Again, we can’t substantiate the fact that it was selling for $1800 but it’s in the ad. That’s his opinion. This is a fellow who is selling this stuff. He could voice his opinion and is it going to stand up in court if you sued him? It’s his opinion. Nobody forced you to buy that. You’re on the line, not him.
In general, a collectible that comes out at $50 is going to sell a lot quicker than the object that’s going to come out at $200. Later on, there’s going to be a lot of those figurines floating around that people paid $50 for because it’s an inexpensive collectible. The one that came out for $200, not as many people are going to buy it. Automatically, because of its price, it’s become more rare than the item that came out for less money.
As years go by, generally and don’t hold me to it, generally if it was more expensive when it first came out, less people were able to afford it and years later, it’s going to be more rare because there’s going to be less of them floating around. It was probably a much better quality. Why is one $50 and one $200? The one for $200 was probably better materials, the quality was much better, the casting, the painting was better.
That probably is going to appreciate at a better rate than the less expensive one, only because quality always sells, whether the market has gone south and it used to sell for $1000. Now it’s only selling for $600. It’s still appreciated because it came out at $200. Maybe it’s not at the peak anymore but the quality antiques generally are going to hold their value where their quality is.
Let’s say rather than antiques, your quality collectibles are going to hold their value. The other thing we have to look at, we’ve talked about it before, collectibles are what we call cyclical. They go in cycles. It’s who wants them. How many collectors are still around that want a particular item? I look in these older magazines and I look at pieces of art glass that sold for $8000 and $10,000. I look and say okay, that was a beautiful piece of art glass. It was worth that kind of money then. What’s it bringing now? It’s probably bringing $4000 to $6000.
Does it mean that it’s not as good a quality? No, that’s not what it means. Does that mean that it’s not as rare as it was 20 years ago? No, that’s not what it means. What it means is 20 years later, there’s probably less people who collect that item who could appreciate the quality of what they have. It’s just I use this example all the time, on antique cars, stuff from the 20s and 30s used to bring ridiculous money at the auctions 20 years ago.
Now, stuff from the 60s and 70s are bringing crazy money. Why? Because the guys who grew up with those things from the 20s and 30s are no longer collectors or they’ve passed away. The baby boomers who grew up in the 50s and remember riding in dad’s Chevy Impala or his GTO want to be able to have a part of that history or they want to be a part of that era and they have the money to pay for it, so now, they’re into collecting the antique cars.
The same thing with the art glass that it was made in the early 1900s. Lots of older people collected it. They remember growing up with it. The newer generation of people can lots of times appreciate the quality and appreciate the rarity but there’s not as much of a market that says, “We’re going to compete for this particular piece anymore.” It’s just not there. It’s not happening.
This is what we run into with collectibles but if you decide you’re going to get involved in collectibles, like I’ve always said, enjoy it. When you pick it up at the end of the night, you’ve picked it up, you fondle it, you touch it, it makes you smile, by all means, collect it. I’m not saying to you don’t do it. If you’re doing it as an investment, remember that you probably want to be able to buy the best quality you can afford.
You want to know that it’s genuine because once collectibles become expensive and they’re worth money, there’s always going to be somebody out there counterfeiting them, copying them, and aging them so they look old and trying to sell them to a collector who’s a novice and hasn’t gained enough knowledge to know the difference. Know who you’re dealing with. Make sure that person who you buy that thing from will stand behind it and guarantee, not their opinion, “I believe it’s this.” Put it in writing that they’ll guarantee it to be that particular item.
If you take it to someone who is more knowledgeable and they say, “This is definitely not genuine,” make sure the person you took it to has the credentials to be able to tell you that it’s not genuine, not that I believe it’s not genuine. There’s a lot of self proclaimed experts out there. Deal with someone who has been doing stuff like this for years. They’ve got the ability to tell you and they will stand behind their opinion in writing.
I’m Steve Duke, the owner of Westchester Gold and Diamonds. We’re just chatting a bit about collectibles, how they’ve changed over the years, the ins and outs, the pitfalls, the possibilities of doing good with them. We buy all kinds of collectibles. We deal in all kinds of collectibles. We stand behind anything we sell. If you like to take a look at stuff, please stand by and see us. If you have items that you’d be interested in disposing of, stop by and see us. We’re in the Bear Plaza behind ABC Liquors. We’re not new to this business. We’ve been doing it for over 38 years. Please stop by and see us. I’m Steve Duke. We’re in the Bear Plaza.
Speaker: Aside from my Beanie Baby collection, I also noticed that gold has been taking it now.
Steve: I tried to warn people about Beanie Babies. I had people.
Speaker: I was going to parlay that into retirement.
Steve: I remember people calling me on Tradio years ago and saying, “Oh, I have Beanie Babies.” I was like there saying, “It’s not real. Don’t do it. Don’t be buying these Beanie Babies for $700 and $800.”
Speaker: I read a story last week where there’s still one Beanie Baby that’s rare enough that I guess it sold between $700 and $1200 back in ’98 and it’s still worth about $699.
Steve: Yeah, some of that stuff is still rare but if they put out 1000 items and one was a winner, and it really wasn’t a winner if you paid $1200 for it, how big of a winner could it be. You asked me about not only your Beanie Baby but gold has dropped all off.
We were kidding when you guys were listening to my commercials. People go, “Man, it’s only worth $1100 an ounce now.” $1100 an ounce? Come on, so you weren’t smart enough to sell it at $2000 an ounce. You rode it down to $1900. $1800 you’re going, “I don’t know if I’m going to sell yet. It will go back up.”
$1300 people were still scratching their head going, “Ah, I don’t think I want to sell mine yet. I’m going to wait until it goes back up.” It’s at $1100.
Speaker: Isn’t that something you just want to hold onto anyway, maybe get rid of some of it but depending on how much you have?
Steve: It depends on what it is. If it’s jewelry and stuff you’ve inherited, it’s nothing you’re ever going to wear and the reason you’re holding onto it is because it’s worth money, you can ride that train all the way back to wherever it goes. I did the same. I’m not going to say I’m the smartest guy in the world by any means.
When it was at $800 in the ’80s, I rode it all the way back down to $250 because I was so smart, I figured it’s going to go back up.
Speaker: It did.
Steve: Eventually, 20 years later, 30 years later it did but you look at tying up the kind of money that I had tied up because it wasn’t anything that I had inherited but I still tell people $1100 an ounce, it’s still when you walk in with a handful of it, it still ads up to a lot of money. Am I telling people not to sell it? I’m not going to tell people not to sell it.
Speaker: Do what you want.
Steve: You can sit there and watch it go down further or you can turn around and cash it in. It’s up to you. Thanks for listening to us today. I appreciate it. I’ll be here hopefully next Friday to talk about stuff again. With that, I’m going to say goodbye to everybody until next week.
Have Questions about your antiques, estate jewelry, collectibles or old treasures?
If you have questions for Steve Duke to answer about your jewelry, antiques or collectibles, just send a photo of the item and your question directly to Steve Duke at WGDiamonds@HotMail.com and Steve will research it for you and you may be contacted to participate in an upcoming Tradio episode. Be sure to include your name, email and phone number along with your question and email it to: WGDiamonds@HotMail.com
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Westchester Gold and Diamonds is one of the largest buyers of gold, silver, diamonds, Rolex watches, antique and estate jewelry in southwest Florida.
As the premier jewelry store in Port Charlotte since 1974. We do custom design and we are able to duplicate many designs that you may have seen in your travels; often at a fraction of the price.
We accept your old diamonds and jewelry in trade, the same as cash.