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The Art Of
By:  Darlene Register
There's no accounting for what people collect.  When my husband
and I purchased that first antique clock 35 years ago, we had no idea
where it would lead us.  Now over 30,000 clocks later, we're
obsessed!  There are well over 130 clocks in our personal collection.
Collectibles, by definition, are items that people collect.  Some
collectibles are antiques (items over 100 years old), while others are of
a more recent vintage.  What you collect should be determined by
your own personal taste.  Surround yourself with things that you love
and don't just follow the latest trend.  Collectibles tend to go in and
out of fashion quite readily, especially if they lack intrinsic value.  So if
you are collecting as an investment, choose wisely.  Develop an eye
for quality pieces that will give you a great deal of pleasure and
should continue to hold their value.
Condition is absolutely vital when assessing the value of any item.  
Avoid poor, damaged pieces, they are usually cheap for a good
reason and will not appreciate at the same rate that a perfect
specimen would.  However, a rare desirable piece may command a
high price even when less than perfect.
Learn to tell the difference between a flaw that adds "character" to a
piece, and damage.  Don't always expect perfection when buying an
antique.  After all, it's hard to find a 200- year-old piece of period
furniture that has managed to escape having a few imperfections.  It is
common for hardware to be replaced on antiques and is acceptable
as long as it was replaced with hardware that is appropriate for the
period as well as the piece.
Whatever you collect, always buy the best piece that you can afford.
Ordinary pieces will always be ordinary and may be difficult to sell.  
Try to collect items that have broad appeal and try not to get too
specialized.  If your focus is too narrow, it may be much harder to find
a buyer.
Boxes are an example of an item that has
always been in demand,  From writing desks,
tea caddies, vanity boxes, game boxes, jewelry
boxes, sewing boxes, to humidors, there's a
box for every purpose.
Always try to buy the most complete example
that you can find.  Most of us have
experienced the excitement of being drawn to
an exceptional box, only to feel that excitement
plummet when you discover that the inside
has been gutted.  It's a rare find today to
discover a box that still has all of its
Never, ever buy something that you are not in love with, but on the
other hand, when you find something that really speaks to you, don't it!  I've seen too many instances where someone
assumes that "if it was meant to be, it will still be there later."
Many times, that attitude has led to bitter disappointment.  Rarely do
you ever find anything that measures up to your first choice and
invariably, it will cost you more.