Lessons from a busted Beanie Baby collector
Forget 'investing' in collectibles. That's the takeaway from the story of how one family blew $100,000 on the little plush toys.
You remember Beanie Babies, those cute little stuffed animals that everybody had to have in the 1990s. Prices went up to insane levels spurred by the growth of eBay (EBAY). And then, they came crashing down, a fate that anyone who has taken Economics 101 could have predicted. Well, this is a lesson that the Robinsons, namely patriarch Chris Robinson Sr. (pictured), seems never to have learned.
Robinson, an actor best known to soap opera fans as Dr. Rick Weber from "General Hospital," matter-of-factly tells his story in a short film produced by one of his sons called "Bankrupted by Beanies."
The one flaw in Robinson's financial plan -- and it's a big one -- is that he never sold any Beanie Babies while they were hot commodities. He still has thousands of them. Once that market crashed, odds are that he would have sold them at a loss had he tried to do so. With hindsight, Robinson seems to understand the error of his ways.
Since the Beanie Baby bust, a new crop of collectors has emerged, thanks to the popularity of "Antiques Roadshow," "American Pickers," "Storage Wars" and many others that have people thinking they can turn their trash into treasures. More likely their trash is trash. Many people may not realize that the average appraisal on "The Roadshow" is about $50.
Even if someone has something of value, finding a buyer willing to pay the asking price may not be easy. While some collectibles and antiques increase in value over time, they also can fall because fashions and tastes change. The stuff that holds its value tend to be iconic and extremely expensive.
Anyone who still thinks they want to "invest" in collectibles should lie down until the feeling goes away.
Jonathan Berr does not own shares of the listed stocks. Follow him on Twitter @jdberr.
I'd rather waste a 100k on hookers and blow if I had a choice.He should donate them to childrens hospitals so they can get used for enjoyment instead of sitting on a shelf.
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