|Bargains Boost Economic Outlook for Collectors|
The economy's still slow, focusing on the stock market can be a real downer and most everyone knows a friend, co-worker or acquaintance that has been laid off during the past year. People didn't even spend as much as expected during the holiday rush at local shopping malls just a few months ago.
With all this down-in-the-mouth news about money, it seems like a good time to tighten the purse strings. But when you're a collector, that's not always easy. After all, shopping is the lifeblood of our obsession. The truth is, you don't have to stop collecting just because money's tighter than ever. You just have to switch gears, get creative, and take a different path than you might have followed in the past.
Take vintage buttons as an example. You can use the dime a dozen varieties to decorate most anything. But you can also find really pretty painted porcelain, figural Bakelite and carved shell buttons for $3-10 each. These look striking when grouped in a shadow box display.
Old paper items can be reasonable, too. I'm partial to postcards from the early 1900s that usually sell from $1-5 each, unless they're really rare examples. But vintage sheet music, advertising pages from magazines and calendars can all make great collections with lots of display appeal that are also affordably priced.
And what about Avon bottles? While you don't have to buy every one you see, and you probably wouldn't want to, some of the more kitschy designs can be really cute and colorful for just a few dollars apiece. Look for bottles shaped like coffee pots, parakeets, pitcher and bowl sets and lovely ladies, among others.
The Spring 2003 edition of Country Collectibles magazine suggests looking at old radios as bargain possibilities as well. Sure, some of these can be pricey, depending on age and condition, but those found in thrift stores and flea markets can be downright cheap and make a very visually appealing display.
The magazine also lists kiddie watering cans as collectible options for the budget conscious shopper favoring garden collectibles. Less expensive and often more decorative than those staid gray, adult-sized models, you can find plastic or metal cans for under $10 at yard sales and flea markets, suggested Country Collectibles.
With spring just around the corner, garage and tag sales will be popping up everywhere before we know it. Warm weather flea markets will also be ripe for the picking.
My advice, as the cruise commercial suggests, is to get out there! Even if you don't like any of my ideas, take a look around. I bet you'll discover something in your own price range to peak your interest before long.
After all, bargain shopping can be (almost) as much fun as cruising away your blues, and far more affordable.
Avon photos by Pamela Wiggins. Taken at Austin Antique Mall in Austin, Texas.