10 Collectibles That Aren't a Waste of Money

NEW YORK (MainStreet) -- People are always looking for ways to invest their money, and less often, looking for ways to invest their money that also happen to be fun or satisfy a nostalgic craving.

The consumer can’t seem to help but collect everything from tea cups to porcelain figures, commemorative coins and baseball cards, making it all the more important to distinguish between collectibles that retain their value and those collectible items that are worthless at anything other than collecting dust.

Individual investment in collectibles entails knowing an original from a reproduction, what is most collectible in a series or with a type of item, and not overpaying for the investment. It also requires making the distinction between collectibles for the 1% of Wall Street titans -- think that Andy Warhol painting sold for $100 million or one of the original Gutenberg bibles that can go for $25,000 a page -- and collectibles that are within a Main Street budget.

With those caveats, here are 10 collectibles that have a decent track record of retaining value, in addition to providing owners with that unquantifiable “quality of life” satisfaction that can come from making a purchase that is about more than just utility.

Hot Wheels

If you played with these cars anytime since 1968, when they first appeared on the toy scene, and you still have early models, you might have a good car trade-in. Hot Wheels are favorites of many antique collectors as they are still plentiful in the marketplace and typically retain or increase in value. “Collectors always are attracted to the toys of their childhood,” says Terry Kovel, an expert on antiques and collectibles. “Hot Wheel collectors look for the limited issues and they will go up in value as they get older and scarcer.”