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Beanie Bears, Pokémon, LEGO: How to make a fortune trading collectables

·Contributor
·4-min read
Compilation image of collectors items: Beanie Bears, Smiley Face basketball, New Balance x Aime Leon Dore (ALD) 997 sneaker and 2020 Panini Black box
Beanie Bears were so popular they were dubbed the world’s first internet sensation in 1995. (Source: Yahoo Finance/StockX)

It’s hard to imagine a Pokémon card featuring a popular character, Charizard, that was once purchased for a few dollars, fetched $180,000 in an auction in 2021.

Even more outstanding is a comic book purchased for 10 cents in 1938, which then sold for $3.21 million on eBay in 2014. The Superman comic book was one of only 100 that still exist today, making it rare and collectable.

One craze that took off in the early 1990s was Beanie Bears - these cute little bears became so popular they were dubbed the world’s first internet sensation in 1995.

Read more from Emily Chantiri:

And Melbournian Trudi Pavlovsky was one person who fell for the loveable bears.

The 47 year old said it all started after she received one bear as a gift from her team members at her old job managing a photo lab.

“Back then the beanie bear craze was at a high and I sold two collections for triple my investment. The bears sold in store for $10 each. I sold around 30 in the first lot. I had some exclusives and sold them to a gift shop who on-sold them; I made around $1,200.”

But she said prices began to drop when a flood of fake bears hit the market.

“The second lot I tried to sell I didn’t get as much due to fakes online. Also, the original Beanie Bear price had gone up to $10.95-12.95 per bear, so I got $900 for 30 bears. Once again I had some exclusives and sold some of my more rare bears.”

Pavlovsky said she became so obsessed with the bears at one point, acquiring almost 150 of them.

“Today, I still have my most favorite bears, ones that are angel bears that were Christmas exclusives and some animal costumed bears that were once considered rare. I have sold some online in the last few years but not really made much or any profit,” she said.

Millennial and Gen-Z turn to alternative investments

Rising housing market prices and stock market fluctuation are seeing consumers, particularly Millennial and Gen-Z consumers, turning to alternative asset classes more than ever before.

StockX, which is a marketplace trading platform which buys and sells collectibles, from the hottest sneakers, apparel, electronics, trading cards and accessories, released a report on the latest collectable crazes.

The Next Gen Investment report found a growing number of consumers are treating physical goods as tradable assets.

And the report highlights the consistent gains on current culture products like retro Jordans, NFL trading cards and limited-edition LEGO sets are seeing in resale value on the platform.

For example, in the past 12 months artist rapper Kanye West’s, 808 Heartbreak vinyl record appreciated 180 per cent since it was released.

A LEGO Star Wars Storm Trooper set increased by 100 per cent.

And the Market Smiley Yellow basketball increased by 80 per cent.

Jesse Einhorn, Senior Economist, StockX said it’s important to understand supply and demand dynamics.

“Prices tend to be lowest when products are first released and the supply is greatest,” he said.

“Gradually over time, they appreciate as supply diminishes. When you buy, is just as important as what you buy. And by studying the data which we have on StockX, you can see whether prices are increasing or decreasing.”

Cashing in on collectables: Some examples

Consider the New Balance x Aime Leon Dore (ALD) 997 sneaker that was released in April 2019, and was the first in a series of hype collaboration between the two brands.

The “Yellow Tongue” colourway retailed for $230 and began reselling on StockX for a little over $300.

“Over the last three years, as the New Balance x ALD partnership has continued to garner acclaim and demand, that particular sneaker has appreciated significantly in value. It now resells for over $750 on average, with some pairs going for over $1,000.

“Our report shows those early New Balance x ALD releases have seen an average price appreciation of 180 per cent over the past two years,” Einhorn said.

And he added that when considering investment items, you can look beyond sneakers.

2020 Panini NFL box
Collectors with a 2020 Panini box could fetch around a $500 profit. (Source: StockX)

For example, a category some might overlook is 2020 Panini NFL boxes.

“We have over 250 different 2020 Panini NFL boxes actively trading on StockX, and in 2020 those boxes were trading for around $200 on average. Today, the same boxes trade for over $300 on average. More specifically, the average resale price of the 2020 Panini Black Football Hobby Box in 2020 was $213. In 2022, the average resale price is $780.”

Another collectable category popular with consumers is trading cards, which can often resell at a profit.

Here are the top 3 traded cards in Australia, according to StockX:

  1. Pokémon TCG 25th Anniversary Celebrations Ultra-Premium Collection Box

  2. 2020-21 Panini Mosaic Basketball Blaster Box 6x Lot

  3. Pokémon TCG 25th Anniversary Celebrations Pokémon Center Exclusive Elite Trainer Box 4x Lot

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