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Sunday, 7 October 2007

To display or not to display - The Collector's Curse

Recently I purchased a set of 50, 1938 John Player & Sons cigarette cards from ebay for AUD$40. The estimated value for this set is around AUD$150, so I was congratulating myself on an astute purchase. However, I overlooked one very important point. The set I purchased had been lovingly opened and each card glued into the accompanying album. Some collectors would say this heavily reduces it's value and that I had grossly overpaid. I guess they would be right!!

With almost any collectable, to retain it's value, we are taught not to remove them from their packaging. Always keep them in pristine condition. The problem with this is, how do you then enjoy your collectable? Can you really appreciate the item you have obtained when you can't even hold it in your hands and have a bit of a play?

I myself, try and do both. If I'm able to obtain two signed autobiographies, I will carefully read one and leave the other one with the spine unbroken. If there is a collectable item with an accompanying album, I will try and obtain two, one to display and the other to keep sealed.

Wouldn't it be great if the new standard in collecting was to become the item which has been most enjoyed and tinkered with is considered the most valuable. Think of the amount of pleasure this would bring to all us collectors.

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