One of the questions we're asked frequently is: What will be the next hot collectible? Our answer usually is: Look around you.
Items that are generated by special or extraordinary events usually will find their way into collectors' hands and take on new value in just a few years.
Halley's Comet, for example, was greeted by a number of items celebrating this once-every-77-years event. Coins, bumper stickers, calendars, T-shirts, posters--they will all have a collectible value.
Another classic example was the Olympic Games in Los Angeles. Aside from the highly collectible pins, there were dozens of other products spawned by the event--from programs to tickets to collector plates--that will take on increasing value over the years.
Surely, items related to the Statue of Liberty centennial celebration, including posters and miniatures, have found their way into many collectors' hands. Statue of Liberty-related items have been popular with collectors over the years anyway, so items produced in connection with this year's centennial should be at least as collectible.
Don't forget all of the political collectibles that are generated by current campaigns--such as California's gubernatorial race--that disappear from view once the votes are counted.
And speaking of current events, collectors will carefully evaluate newspapers for their daily coverage, keeping track of stories pegged to events of great magnitude that will be sought after for their collectible value in a few years.
Also, any major newspaper errors or blunders, such as headlining the wrong winner in a political race, are of great value to collectors.
(When collecting newspapers, be sure to store them properly, preferably flat, and away from bright sunlight, which quickly ages newsprint.)
Among items that have enjoyed a strong surge in popularity have been those that come under the category "ephemera"--which means just about anything that is made of paper.
Included in this category would be autographs, posters, post cards, books, calendars and advertising items.
On a related note, the great interest among collectors in all aspects of Americana, items that depict some part of American history, has had a lot to do with the ephemera boom among collectors.
Items in the ephemera category commonly found around the home shouldn't be taken for granted. Take the popular almanac, for example, which usually has a place on home bookshelves or can be found resting on a coffee table near the fireplace.
Dealers tell us that interest in ephemera, and in Americana generally, is remaining strong. This is reflected in relatively firm prices for things like advertising and household collectibles.
So keep your eyes open. Items that you commonly use around the house, or take for granted, can easily become the sought-after Americana collectible items of the future.
Kicking off its fifth year, the Antique and Collectible Outdoor Market is set for Sunday from 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. at Long Beach Veterans Stadium (Lakewood Boulevard and Conant Street). General admission $2; children 12 and under free. Parking is free. More than 600 dealers are expected. For information, call (213) 655-5703. Dates of the next two market events are Oct. 19 and Nov. 16.