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Should You Invest in Collectibles?

Sometimes memorabilia is hit and miss in value

  • Sports Memorabilia

    En español | Don't bother with cards from the 1980s on, but buyers covet balls signed by stars (Ty Cobb, Babe Ruth) and artifacts associated with big games.

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  • Comic Books

    The comics market has seen "phenomenal growth" recently, says Greg Rohan of Heritage Auctions in Dallas. A 1940 copy of "Batman" No. 3 (featuring Catwoman) sold in May for $40,332.

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  • Schwinn Sting-Ray Bicycles

    These banana-seat bikes once ruled the suburbs; if you kept yours (or your kid's), it might fetch $1,000 today.

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  • Lego Ultimate Collector's Millennium Falcon Set

    Lego investors struck gold with this 5,000-piece set, which sold in 2007 for $500 and now trades for about $3,000 in mint condition.

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  • Vintage Hollywood Memorabilia

    Items owned by iconic figures such as Liz Taylor or Marilyn Monroe are good bets, says Elizabeth von Habsburg, managing director of Winston Art Group.

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  • Commemorative Stamps

    Those Elvis stamps from 1993? They're still not worth much more than 29 cents each.

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  • Beanie Babies

    A 1998 handbook predicted that Stripes the dark tiger, which sold for $5 in 1995, would be worth $1,000 by 2008. Current value: about $25.

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  • Collectible Plates

    In fact, just about anything recently produced that's touted as rare or limited edition is unlikely to appreciate in value.

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  • Most Newer Coins

    Until 1964, U.S. dimes and higher denominations contained 90 percent silver; they're now worth about 14 times face value, according to Rohan.

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  • 1978 Chevy Corvette Indy Pace Car Edition

    Many buyers of this low-volume commemorative model stored their $14,000 'Vettes and waited for values to rise. Today, cars sell for an underwhelming $20,000.

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