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The antiques and collectibles category is among the most popular on online auction sites. However, the field of antiques and collectibles by evades rigid definitions and classifications. It is even difficult to answer the basic question: what exactly is an antique, and what is a collectible? Antiques are generally rare and are worth more - at least in the long run. Although never quite definite, their approximate prices are well-established. Most experts say that an antique is any crafted or manufactured item that is at least one hundred years old. Some are in favour of giving fifty years old items the status of antiques, though "purists" consider this to be lowering of standards and a ploy to sell collectibles under the name of antiques. Collectibles can be quite contemporary. Not having withstood the test of time, their value is more subjective and speculative It can change at a moment's notice - upwards, as well as downwards. For example, some expect that Michael Jackson memorabilia, which broke price records at the time of the singer's death, will decline in value in future. The above example also confirms that it is not the label "antique" or "collectible" that determines the pricing, but the demand. A very rare antique may sell for less than a newer collectible. Antiques are more likely to stand the test of time, but "investment value" may not be of much concern to a collector, because collecting is an activity more often fuelled by emotions than by pecuniary concerns. Some people are only too ready to equate "value" with a monetary amount. However, for a collector "value" is about more than money. Actually, if you are primarily concerned with the monetary equivalent of your collection, you are probably a dealer, not a collector. To a true collector, monetary value is purely incidental. You may have a train collection passed on to you by your father. Or a collection of record albums you started putting together in primary school. In terms of money, some of those trains or records may be worth hundred times more than you originally paid for them. Others would perhaps fetch a few cents. But to you, the value of your train or records is probably in something else. Your collection may not be doing very well in terms of investment, but in terms of personal enrichment and enjoyment it is invaluable. Even so, whenever selling a duplicate or buying a piece necessary to complete your collection, you do not want to be duped. Be sure to do your homework: search the internet and compare prices of similar items. With all the wealth of information available to us today from the comfort of our homes, a seller who undersells or a buyer who overpays for an antique or a collectible item indeed have only himself or herself to blame.
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