I think of Hummel figurines from Germany as a transitional collection. After World War II, during the creation of the Baby Boomer generation, young families were charmed by figurines inspired by Sister Maria Innocentia Hummel’s drawings of the children in her village. By the time I’m asked to appraise the collection, it has typically grown to over 80 pieces and sometimes as many as three hundred. They are often kept in a bow front china cabinet.

By the 1970’s, collectibles made overseas in large quantities began trickling into the US. By the 80’s, that trickle had become a tsunami. Entire stores were opened to offer the latest editions of various collectible items. Today, I delight in your collections of Snow Babies, collector plates, Lladro, Swarovski, Beanie Babies, clowns, Christmas ornaments, lunch boxes, Harley Davidson, Elvis, collector tins, and Barbie’s. Large lighted showcases, added shelving, and platforms are often constructed to display quaint villages and fantasy universes. We went CRAZY – but now we’re over it.

Many of these collections are currently sold at auction, often after the first and finer examples are culled by the owners. The sold prices tend to be low unless the collection is quite rare and carefully curated. Attribution to a famous, or better yet, infamous person helps the value and can be used for marketing purposes. It is a buyer’s market.

The new national pastime is down-sizing, and our collections need to be distilled to a few favorites. Most every category has a few high dollar pieces that were made in smaller quantities making them limited or rare. Here’s how to find the money makers of your collection, and also see examples of groupings and collections recently sold.