Today is usually the day I reserve for posting some old project of mine. But, for now at least, I'm a bit short on material, so I may have to find some other topic to which I can dedicate my Tuesday evenings. Today I will say something about collectibles.
At one time or another, I've collected just about everything imaginable. I still have all my old comicbooks and baseball cards. My boxes of wheaties haven't fared so well over the years, since most of the contents ended up being converted into mouse pellets. I also have old Milk of Magnesia bottles, milk bottles, milk caps, pyrex mixing bowls, old coins, and Darth Maul memorabilia.
The trick to collecting is to have the foresight to hoard the right stuff before most people see it as collectible. This is easier said than done. When my father was little, he had the first issue of Captain Marvel. Too bad he threw it away after he read it. And who would have guessed that Billy Beer would go on to be such a sought after item. Here is a list of criteria that may be useful in determining if an item may one day become valuable:
- It currently has no value. People throw it away, and no one would think of keeping, let alone collecting, it.
- It is incredibly commonplace. Everyone is familiar with it and has seen thousands.
- It is one of those things which, although commonly overlooked, is unique enough so that, if it were to disappear completely from the world overnight, even twenty years from now everyone would remember it.
- It comes in many different variations, some very rare.
- It has a certain aesthetic attractiveness to it.
- It is a product of the times and will eventually no longer be produced.
I'm fairly certain I've spotted an item that may very well turn into a hot collectible in the next ten or twenty years. It meets every one of the criteria listed above, and I've just learned that some collectors have already appeared. The item is . . . (drumroll please) . . . the free AOL CDs and, to a lesser extent, the free CDs offered by other service providers. I've been collecting them for years (and by "collecting", what I really mean is not throwing them out), and I have a couple that go back as far as version 3.0.
You may not think they're anything special, but apparently AOL has produced literally thousands over the years. Some of them are nearly impossible to come by. Just spend a few minutes browsing the categories on this site, and you'll see what I mean. Look at all that artwork! Imagine the value of such a collection in twenty years. And people are already selling their AOL CDs on eBay. I know what I'll do; I'll buy $100 worth of AOL CDs today and sell the collection for a million dollars twenty years from now. (Check back here in December 2023 to see how I made out.)