Many people today might not be aware of the fact that the collectible hobby industry is currently declining in popularity. This might be due to the fact that collectibles have taken a backseat to technology. The younger generation of today has taken more of an interest in computers, cell phones, PlayStation, Nintendo, and iPods. The slower pace of yesteryear made collecting a fun pastime for children and their families who did not have all the advances of today to fill their time. Families used to pass their time collecting coins and stamps. The baby boom generation made the collectible hobby industry a popular hobby for the individual that wanted to collect any sort of memorabilia. The collectible hobby industry was turned into a billion-dollar industry. The collecting of sports cards was a very popular hobby for the baby boom generation. Today, people collect everything from lunch boxes, baseball cards, salt and pepper shakers, stamps, coins, to cars and antique furniture. Any item in the world that has a demand can be considered a collectible and is open to the collectible hobby industry. The toys given out in McDonald’s happy meals are often collected. Beanie Babies also have had their place in the hearts of collectors as well.
Today, collectors can join an actual collecting club specific to their collecting interest. The members of these clubs represent the knowledge base for the collecting area that the group supports. They provide a network to other collectors and friendships that can last a lifetime. However, these collecting clubs are seeing a decline in their membership and are also experiencing aging memberships. Collecting clubs are trying to find new ways to reach the younger generation of collectors. These clubs feel that they have a great service to offer the collector, but are finding that with the technology boom the collectible hobby industry is taking a backseat to other pastimes. There are large trade shows all over the world that cater to the collectible hobby industry. Collectors can attend these trade shows to buy collectibles of their choice, swap collectibles, and/or receive specific information on collecting. Collectors can also attend shows that are specific to their item of choice. For example, a person who collects baseball cards can attend a baseball card show. Someone who collects cookie jars can attend a cookie jar show. A vast majority of these trade shows can be found through the internet or a local collectible club.
There are magazines specific to the collectible hobby industry. Once again, a collector can find magazines specific to their collectibles. A train collector can find magazines on trains; a coin collector can find magazines on coins, and a doll collector can find magazines on dolls. There is no end to the amount of information available to the collector and/or his or her collectibles.
Television has even made its way into the collectible hobby industry with shows like the Antiques Roadshow. Individuals can take any item that is at least twenty-five years old onto the show and have their value assessed. This show has gained real popularity over the last five years. Even for the non-collector, this show is entertaining to watch. It also gives the viewing public a real insight into the collectible world. The show recently featured a gentleman that collected “pickelhaube” helmets. These helmets, which displayed a spike on top, were introduced by King Friedrich Wilhelm IV of Prussia in 1842. Even for someone who is not part of the collectible hobby industry, this information can be very interesting and informative.
The important issue of today should be informing the younger generation of the importance of collecting. Collecting items can turn into family treasures that are passed on from generation to generation. The collectible hobby industry is an excellent way to pass on some history to younger generations. The older generation has so many collectibles to pass down to their families; however, without the knowledge and appreciation of collectibles, families may find their relatives passing on these items to their friends at collecting clubs or trade shows.