With the holidays behind us, and the promise of another three months of Hoosier winter ahead, collectors have turned their attention to indoor markets, auctions and mall shopping to satisfy their need to acquire. The lack of 80 degree days may slow some, but for the serious collector the cold and snow are no deterrent to adding to their stash. What are they watching for? Here are five of the most sought after collectibles for 2018.
Bakelite jewelry — Pins, brackets and necklaces made of this “wonder” plastic from the 1930s and ‘40s are in high demand for 2018. Cheap to manufacture, durable and available in a rainbow of colors, these pieces are an easy find as literally thousands of them were produced and many of them survived. Of special interest are figural pins in the form of cats, dogs, and birds which bring prices in the $100-$400 range at top auctions and online shops. Not ready to lay down that kind of cash for a plastic poodle? With time and patience it is still possible to find great pieces of Bakelite at flea markets and charity resale shops.
Early 1900s pocket knives — Case knives are one of the most widely collected and one of the easiest to find. These abound at antique malls, but if you are willing to do a little digging, the best deals are to be had at area flea markets. The bulk of the knives offered in these settings will be of the Chinese import variety, but check closely as there are sometimes a few older knives in with the mix and often at a fraction of their value. Do your research before you go and always watch for the words “Case XX” or “Case XX Tested” as these will be the older knives from 1889-1905. Other names to watch for include Schrade, Keen Kutter, Imperial and Remington.
Small appliances — Colorful, fun to display and in many cases still usable, small kitchen appliances are growing in popularity. One of the easiest to find is the Sunbeam “Mixmaster” which is a common find at estate sales and thrift shops. Colors will run you from $30-$40 and basic white about half that. Also watch for toasters, blenders and electric skillets. If you plan to use your vintage appliances, first have them checked by a professional to make certain the wiring is safe. Then, be prepared to allow more time to make dinner, as they will usually take more time to warm up and cook slower than their 2018 counterparts.
WWI Memorabilia — As we approach the 100th Anniversary of the end of WWI, military memorabilia dating from 1914-1918 is in high demand. For the novice, helmets and army trunks may bring satisfaction, but to the more advanced collector the more unusual the item, the better. Be on the lookout for daggers and swords in good condition, trench art, and brochures and pamphlets. Authentic WWI posters are seeing record prices at specialized auctions. Examples from The American Red Cross and government posters encouraging enlistment in the military and bond drives are prize finds. A word of caution to the novice: reproduction abounds in this area of collecting. To avoid a costly error always work with an established, knowledgeable dealer.
Travel posters — The allure of the wanderlust is alive and well in 2018. Last year globes and maps topped the “must-have” list and this year travel posters have joined them. Hot topics include famous cities like Paris and Monte Carlo, vacation spots like the Catskills and the Poconos and historic sites. Included in this category are advertising posters from cruise lines and railways. Condition is a main determinate in value, so only invest in those with no stains, creases or folds. Bright color graphics and Art Deco and Art Nouveau designs have been know to bring $3,000-$5,000, so be on the lookout. Until next time . . . . .Linda
Linda Kennett is a professional liquidation consultant specializing in down-sizing for seniors and the liquidation of estates and may be reached at 317-258-7835 or firstname.lastname@example.org