There are updates to this page that haven't been applied because you've entered text. Refresh this page to see updates.
Hide this message.

Do collector's items ever lose value?

Has any category of collectibles or valuable artworks ever seen decreased prices because there is lack of interest from collectors? Do collectibles ever go out of fashion? Or are they recession-free?
Robert FrostRobert Frost, Over 15000 comics in my collection
30 upvotes by Quora User, Marc Bodnick, Arik Beremzon, (more)
Yes.  A collectible item has increased value because demand is greater than supply.  Demand often goes up when a broader audience becomes interested in the item and then goes back down when that audience moves on to something else.

This can be seen frequently with comic books.  For example, next summer Iron Man 3 comes out.  That movie will feature a villain called The Mandarin.  Shortly before that movie comes out there will be an increase in people that want to obtain Tales of Suspense #50 - the first appearance of the Mandarin.  That comic will be featured on the display wall of every comic book dealer at every convention, and will be priced according to the demand.  A year after the movie comes out, the interest will have died down, some collectors will have put their copies back into the supply chain and that comic will be back in the longboxes at a price supported by the lessened demand.

I've seen many comics go for incredible prices on eBay and six months later be available for a 1/10th the price.

It all comes down to the fact that it doesn't matter if there is only 1 copy of something or a 100,000 copies of an item.  What matters is how many people want it right now and how much they are willing to compete with each other to buy it.  The value of a collectible item is exactly equal to what someone is willing to pay for it.
Joel PostmanJoel Postman, dabbler in military decoration... (more)
1 upvote by Quora User.
As many of the respondents suggest, collectors items freqently fluctuate in value. An interesting byproduct of eBay is that it has reduced the value of many classes of collectibles like baseball cards and comic books by flushing out thousands of items for sale and thereby flooding the market. (The exception to this are rare items at the high end of the scale.)
 
One of my many collections is a couple dozen Panasonic transistor radios from the 1970s, like this Panapet.
 
Prior to the launch of eBay, I found these at antique stores, flea markets and occasionally garage sales. Values ranged from $75 to $200. Today, these radios are found on eBay in the $35 to $100 range.
Ben DukeBen Duke, Librarian, Film Critic, Web De... (more)
1 upvote by Joel Postman.
The volatility of collectibles is clearly spelled out in the televised prospectus for the Bradford Exchange.
Kate PowellKate Powell, Professionals in antique conse... (more)
1 upvote by Jonathan Scheier.
Yes, collector's items can lose value and they can be rather faddish, depending upon what you are talking about.  For a time, anything Martha Stewart wrote about in "Living" went up in price as people clammored to buy it; still, period or items which become trendy can make a collector's item worth more for a time then they will settle back into a niche. 

And, in a recession such as the one we are in now, it is a buyers market for some items, as it is hard to sell anything, so that, too can effect the value or current price of an item.  But then, the stock market can go up and down too, even good solid companies..

Then there is scarcity which affects the item's worth. 

That said, there are items which keep their relative value; but it is like any other investment, sometimes you have to wait for the right time to sell.
Write an answer