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Five Great Things to Collect for $25 or Less

Collecting on a Budget


Sure, there are lots of pricey antiques and collectibles around. But we're all about bargin hunting and flea market finds, right? For less than $25, you can find lots of great antique and vintage items to collect or use in your home. Check out five favorites here.

1. Depression Glass

- Pamela Wiggins
Depression glass is one of my all-time favorite collectibles. The colors are glorious, and there are some real bargains to be had if you take the time to shop around. From very usable sherbet dishes to cup and saucer sets and pretty sugar bowls, there's a little something for everyone on a budget in this category. Don't believe me? Take a look at my Depression Glass Price Guide for a number of low-cost, high-style suggestions to use or display in your home.

2. Figural Costume Jewelry

Sterling Monkey Pin
Figural costume jewelry, especially pins, can still be found for under $25 per piece. In some cases it's far less running in the $5-10 range. Figurals refer to anything shaped like a person or object: monkeys, palm trees, cats, fans, birds and so on. Sure, older figurals made by the big names can be very pricey, but lots of fun pins are still on the market for way less and they're just as interesting to wear or display. This is also a great collection for little girls to start so they can enjoy the hunt with mom or grandma.

3. Hammered Aluminum

- Pamela Wiggins
Hammered aluminum makes a wonderful decorative statement when grouped together and it's far less expensive than antique silver. Another side benefit, hammered aluminum pieces don't tarnish nearly as quickly as silver but when polished up they have a beautiful shine to them. Hammered aluminum isn't quite as plentiful as it has been in years past, but you can still find plenty of choices for under $25 whether you're shopping on eBay or at your favorite weekend flea market.

4. Shawnee Pottery

- Pamela Wiggins
Shawnee Pottery made lots of varied items over the years. From cookie jars that sell in the hundreds to planters that can be had for a buck or two all over the place. The planters, vases and other decorative items Shawnee produced can make up a colorful collection just as easy as the pricier pieces. And because they're inexpensive you won't mind using them to hold fresh flowers or plants, which makes them all the more appealing to savvy decorators.

5. Fenton Art Glass

- Pamela Wiggins
Fenton art glass is another collecting category that runs the gamut of price ranges, including rare pieces that sell for thousands. However, many Fenton items that are just as lovely can be purchased for less than $25 apiece. Check out eBay for a plethora of options made from the 1950s onward, including Fenton's milk glass wares. Visit any antique mall in your area and you'll likely net a pretty piece of art glass that fits well within your budget just as easily.
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