Perhaps one of the most impressive collections in the entire world belongs to the Smithsonian Institution. Their museums hold space capsules, atomic bombs, Archie Bunker’s chair, and other items that could be described as priceless. While a dollar value is very difficult to attach to some items because of their rarity, there are other items that were once thought to be collectible and valuable that have turned out to be quite common and relatively valueless. Gold value, on the other hand, has been very consistent throughout the recorded history of mankind.
Some things, like Carol O’Connors “Archie” character, are a one off priceless piece of work. Here, in contrast, are a few items that became all too common and replicated, and they lost their value.
Gold Value Or Collectible Value: Thomas Kinkade Paintings.
Thomas Kinkade was known as “The Painter of Light”. His paintings were quite discernible, even to the untrained eye. Actually, they were especially discernible by the untrained eye. Everyone loved Kinkade. His paintings always seemed to reflect a happy and warm time in quaint America, even if there was snow on the ground and horses pulling carriages.
I remember watching a 60 Minutes piece on Kinkade quite a while ago. Kinkade was huge in the 80’s and 90’s. Unlike most artists’ whose paintings don’t appreciate until their deaths, Kinkade found a way to make his money before he died. Kinkade made prints and copies of his paintings and then hired “artists” to paint in the “light” that made Kinkade famous. Eventually, an IPO was held, and Kinkade was now worth some $100 million. 350 Thomas Kinkade galleries were opened across the United States.
Eventually, people tired of the Kinkade trend, as happens with a lot of art trends, remember Nagel? Nagel was big in the 80’s, too. When interest in Kinkade’s paintings waned, so did the sales at the Thomas Kinkade galleries. Bankruptcy came in 2010. Thomas Kinkade died two years later, at the age of 54.
Sometimes when an artist dies there is a renewed interest in their work, and prices climb. In the case of Mr. Kinkade, however, the internet did not do him this favor. By 2010, the internet was commonplace, and so were old Kinkade paintings and prints.
What used to be a commodity available only in pricey Kinkade galleries was now an Ebay category. Prices plunged. Even though Kinkade had golden visions and marketing talent to go along with his artistic talent, the long-term value of Kinkade’s paintings proved to be no match against long-term gold value.
Gold Value Or Collectible Value: Hummel Figurines.
When I was a child I had a friend whose mother collected Hummel pieces. I remember looking at the little figures in the big wood case. The woman that collected them was a nurse. Her husband, who built the showcase, was a carpenter. The children were not allowed to play anywhere around the fragile little statues, much less play with them.
I know they had a small fortune invested in those figurines, because they would talk about how expensive some of them were. As a child, I did not understand attaching large values to little plaster dolls that did nothing, but at the time, Hummels equaled dollars. Today, I bet that the solid wood showcase hutch that her carpenter husband handbuilt to hold the figures is worth much more than the Hummels.
If you are not familiar with Hummel, Hummel was a German company that started casting little figures modeled after drawings of a German nun, Maria Innocentia Hummel, in 1935. The figures became popular in America once American GI’s began bringing them back from Germany as gifts for the women in their lives. I am leaning towards believing that in this case receiving the gift from a returning GI was more important than the gift itself, but women seemed to fall in love with these little dolls.
Because the original Hummel figures came only from Germany, they were scarce. You could not just go down to the corner and buy one, and you could not just log on to the computer and order one. At least for a while. At some point during the 1900’s, Goebel, the parent company of Hummel, decided to make millions of these little figures, and they did. They were sold in limited numbers and in limited run batches, but now there were enough Hummels for everyone to have plenty. Eventually, prices declined. Now an internet search for hummels will prove that while some people still try to get a few hundred dollars for a Hummel, several can be had quite inexpensively.
Gold Value Or Collectible Value: Time To Buy Gold.
If you have not started to buy gold coins and gold bars as a way to protect your investment and retirement portfolio, then perhaps you should take a few minutes to seriously consider doing so. Chances are pretty thin that you can count on your Dad’s baseball card collection or your Mom’s Hummel figures to provide retirement income for yourself. Many things that we once saw as a store of value turned out to be paperweights or trash.
Gold, on the other hand, has held value for hundreds and thousands of years. Gold has steadily increased against the dollar as the dollar has declined. In 1970, you could have picked up an old American gold coin for under $50, less than the price of a Hummel. Today that same coin could be worth anywhere from $1300 to $13,000 on up, depending on the rarity and condition of the gold coin.
Don’t leave your financial future in the hands of speculators and con artists, own gold and own tangible wealth, you will be better of than if you had a whole closet full of Kinkade prints. Back when our dollars were made of gold and silver, and backed by gold value, those were the days.