Manufacturers and retailers have used collectables in a number of ways to increase sales. One use is in the form of licensed collectables based on intellectual properties, such as images, characters and logos from literature, music, movies, radio, television, and video games. A large subsection of licensing includes advertising, brandname, and character collectibles. Another use of collectables in retail is in the form of prizes (items of nominal value packaged with or included in the price of a retail product at no additional cost) and premiums (items that can be “purchased” by redeeming coupons, boxtops, or proofs of purchase from the product along with a small fee to cover shipping and handling). Also, collectables have played an important role in tourism, in the form of souvenirs.Another important field of collecting that is also big business is memorabilia, which includes collectables related to a person, organization, event or media, including T-shirts, posters, and numerous other collectables marketed to fans; but also includes ephemera from historical, media, or entertainment events, items that were meant to be thrown away but were saved by fans and accumulated by collectors..
1892 Candlestick Telephone
Classified as vintage electronics, this phone was produced by the American Bell Telephone Co. less than 20 years after Alexander Graham Bell patented his first telephone. It was the dominant phone style in the United States through the 1930s and still makes a cameo in It’s A Wonderful Life on NBC each holiday season, but it has quirks that make it little more than a steampunk oddity today.
1875 Remington typewriter
The typewriter that comes to mind when most Americans picture one and they’re doing so less and less was invented in 1868 by Christopher Latham Sholes, Carlos Glidden and Samuel W. Soule in Milwaukee, Wis. That crew sold the patent for $12,000 less than the cost of this one typewriter to investors who then struck a deal with E. Remington & Sons to produce them for the buying public.
Tommy Johnson’s Alcohol and Jake Blues
Vinyl records are hitting a nice little revival and, according to Nielsen Soundscan, have jumped from little more than 4 million sales in 2012 to more than 6 million last year. That’s only about 2% of the overall album market, but it’s growing and has grabbed music lovers’ attention.
The world’s most rare and most expensive comic collectible is no other than Peter Parker’s alter ego, Spiderman. Debuted in November of 1962, the Marvel Comic is noted as “one of the most important comics in history.” Created by writer-editor Stan Lee and writer-artist Steve Ditko, the original sale price of the comic book was 12 cents per copy. That same copy is now worth over $40,000. An original copy of the comic book was located by BBC presenter, Jonathan Ross, who put it up for auction for ‘comic relief’. Admittedly having a huge comic collection, Ross confesses to spending years trying to track down the Spider-man collectible, considering it one of his “most prized possessions.” The ‘comic-obsessed’ presenter reportedly said he was happy to put the comic book up for auction for a good cause, and hoped the buyer would be another infatuated fan.
Double Fantasy John Lennon
A collaboration with his beloved Yoko Ono, Double Fantasy was the last album released by John Lennon, three weeks before his tragic death. Released in 1980, the album didn’t initially receive rave reviews, but later became a global phenomenon as well as a commercial success. Double fantasy was awarded the 1981 Album of the Year during the 24th Annual Grammy Awards. This was also the last album to be signed by the artist, making it the most valuable record ever.
The “Treskilling Yellow” is the world’s most valuable stamp. The particular Swedish postage stamp was first issued in 1855, and featured a set of five values depicting the Swedish coat of arms and Swedish Skilling in various dominations. While the Treskilling or Three-Skilling stamp was normally printed in a blue-green color, and the eight-skilling stamp in yellowish orange, an error mistakenly replaced the color of three-skilling stamp, causing several to be printed in the wrong color. However, due to the fact that only one copy of the Treskilling yellow stamp was ever discovered, it is extremely rare, and was sold in 1996 for $2.3 million.
The Atari 2600 game Gamma Attack only sold about 20 copies upon release. Only one is known to exist today, and collector Anthony DeNardo owns it. In 2008 he tried to sell it on eBay for an astonishing $500,000, but no one bought it. Experts thought that DeNardo’s price was too high, and estimated the value to be between $5,000-$10,000 at the time. In today’s market, they think it could be worth anywhere from $20,000-$50,000. Check your closets!
The Bay Psalms
The Bay Psalms book was the first book printed in English in North America. The book is the Puritan’s interpretation of Psalms from the original Hebrew script. Starting in 1640 they printed about 1,700 copies, of which 11 are thought to exist today.
Two of them belonged to the Old South Church in Boston, and they decided to sell one to pay for ministries and repairs. It sold at auction for $14,165,000 on November 26, 2013 to David M. Rubenstein of the Carlyle Group. He plans on lending the book to libraries across the United States before finding it a long term home.
While a lot of posters of Universal monster movies are considered valuable, the movie with the most expensive poster ever is for the 1927 German silent science fiction movie Metropolis, one of the most influential films ever made. Heinz Schulz-Neudamm painted the poster, and it’s believed there are only four remaining copies. A collector purchased one for $690,000 in 2005, but in 2012 the collector had to file for bankruptcy and the poster was auctioned off. A collector and dealer named Ralph DeLuca bought the poster for $1.2 million on December 13, 2012. If you’re a fan but don’t have that kind of cash on hand, replicas are readily available.
Australian photographer Peter Lik sold his photograph “Phantom” for $6.5 million through a private sale to an anonymous buyer. The photo, which was taken in Arizona’s Antelope Canyon, is monochromatic and shows light entering in through a crack in a cave.
The sale was a bit of a shock to the art community, because many critics don’t consider Lik’s work to be all that artistic. In fact, they find his work shallow. They conceded that the picture looks nice, but does that make it worth millions of dollars? With that being said, four of the 20 most valuable photographs in the world were taken by Lik, so maybe he’s onto something.