DEFINITION of 'Collectible'

An item that is worth far more than it appears because of its rarity and/or demand. Common categories of collectibles include antiques, toys, coins, comic books and stamps. Items that have been mass-produced, and thus are not rare, are often marketed as collectibles to drive consumer demand.

BREAKING DOWN 'Collectible'

A good example of a mass-produced being marketed as a collectible can be found in the Beanie Baby collecting fad of the late 1990s. Ty, the product's manufacturer, produced hundreds of varieties of small plush toys with a floppy, bean-bag like feel. Consumers purchased them like mad, believing that they would one day become valuable. Limited editions that were hard to find became valuable the instant they were released. However, most of the plush toys were so widely owned that they never became valuable, instead becoming garage-sale castoffs.

By contrast, the T206 Honus Wagner baseball card issued by the American Tobacco Company in 1909, is a rare and very valuable collectible. In 2007, a well-preserved Wagner card was purchased for over $2 million.

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