Collecting for Fun and Profit
Before your child decides to spend time and money pursuing a collecting passion, it's a good idea to know more than just a little about what she's collecting. This will help her define what she's looking for and avoid getting taken (for example, spending too much to buy something that, with a little research, would have been revealed as overpriced or a fake).
Also read a book on your child's area of interest. There's probably a book out there (or at least a chapter in one) for just about anything your child could conceive of collecting. As the old saying goes in collecting circles, “Buy the book”—and read it before starting. It's the only way to protect against getting ripped off by sellers who try to deceive or who don't know what they've got. Also check out general price guides, such as Kovels Antiques and Collectibles Price List 1999 (it's revised every year), Schroeder's Antique Guide, or Price Guide to Flea Market Treasures by Harry L. Rinker. Page through specific books as well; for instance, A Guidebook of U.S. Coins by R. S. Yeoman is called “the redbook” and serves as a guide for coins collectors.
More Ways to Learn About Collecting
Learning about collecting coins or old lunch boxes isn't limited to books. You can get information in other ways about the items your child is interested in.
Piggybank on It
Collecting isn't just for grown-ups. As proof, just watch the Antiques Roadshow, Jr., a spin-off from the Antiques Roadshow. Here children bring in their valuables to get an idea of what they're worth. The show aired in November 1998 to a packed crowd in Richmond Centre in Richmond, Virginia.
- Join a club. There are clubs for collectors of all kinds, and they're not hard to find. Ask a dealer, look in a book on the area of interest, or search the Web. Clubs are important to collectors of all ages for several reasons. Not only are they a social avenue to connect with people of similar interests, but they also offer valuable information about the collectibles. Most clubs have newsletters that detail what's happening, and schools may have stamp or coin clubs. Most schools also let kids start new clubs if they can show there's enough interest schoolwide.
- Watch TV shows about collecting. The premium show on collectibles is the Antiques Roadshow on PBS. People bring in old family heirlooms and other “treasures” for appraisals by the experts in their fields. Watching the show can demonstrate to your child how easily even a grown-up can fall for a fake.
- Go to antique stores, antique shows, and flea markets. Your child doesn't have to be a buyer to enjoy the viewing at these places. He'll get to see what's out there and will be able to talk with dealers and other collectors about his area of interest. There are usually shows and flea markets going on somewhere in the country every week.
- Search the Web. Today, the Internet is being used by collectors in a number of ways. Some collectibles clubs have Web sites that inform members of what's happening and help you connect with others of the same interest. For example, there's the Original Beanie Babies Club, with more than 6,900 members, at members.aol.com/BongoAmy/. Ralph and Terry Kovel, perhaps the best-known experts in the field of antiques and collectibles, offer online advice, information, and even a price check option at their Web site (www.kovels.com). Collectibles are now also being sold on the Internet through auctions and classified ads (explained in Build a Collection Without Going Broke).
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Excerpted from The Complete Idiot's Guide to Money-Smart Kids © 1999 by Barbara Weltman. All rights reserved including the right of reproduction in whole or in part in any form. Used by arrangement with Alpha Books, a member of Penguin Group (USA) Inc.
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