Science Fair Project Encyclopedia
A collectible (or collectable) is a manufactured item designed for people to collect. Collectibles are specifically created for the purpose of collecting. In this respect, they are distinguishable from other subjects of collections, which may also include natural objects (e.g., butterflies) and objects manufactured for purposes other than collecting (e.g., stamps). However, sometimes objects designed for other purposes, such as toys, become so popular among collectors that they are later marketed specifically to that audience. Star Wars action figures are a good example of this phenomenon.
The earliest collectibles were included as incentives with other products, such as cigarette cards in packs of cigarettes. Popular items developed a secondary market and sometimes became the subject of "collectible crazes". Eventually many collectible items came to be sold separately, instead of being used as marketing tools to increase the appeal of other products.
To encourage collecting, manufacturers often create an entire series of a given collectible, with each item differentiated in some fashion. Examples include sports cards depicting individual players, or different designs of beanie baby. Enthusiasts will often try to assemble a complete set of the available variations.
The early versions of a product, manufactured in smaller quantities before its popularity as a collectible developed, sometimes command exorbitant premiums on the secondary market. In a mature market, collectibles rarely prove to be a spectacular investment.
Popular Types of Collectibles
- Music boxes
(Although "collectable" is the spelling listed first by the OED, the dictionary observes that the "-ible" form is also valid, and has come to be a common usage in the US.)
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