'Start Young' collecting antiques, art, collectibles etc and occasionally trading or selling them, but the main idea is to build a 'collection' that may include 'everything' that in 20, 30, 50 years time will have accumulated a several hundreds percent increase in value while many people collect/trade as a business and income generator, the idea here is that collecting is a hobby or passtime whose offshoot may be profitable, that the collecting and owning is done for the pure pleasure of what's being collected â not for pure monetary value the piece has and may have in the future the following is based on watching many episodes of the BBC 'Antiques Roadshow' PBS 'Antiques Roadshow' and some 'Pawn Star' episodes what's apparent in the Antique Roadshows is that only a few of the guests can be described as 'collectors', most often the objects guests bring to the show have been passed to them from a family member lucky finds from car-boot/yard sales, 'charity' or other shops, auctions, antique fairs fleamarkets are common, where something purchased at a low cost is later found to be worth a lot more than the purchase price, sometimes considerably more, and that the owner had no idea of the true value of what they'd bought - tho some do - who knew that 'baseball cards' would one day be worth thousands of dollars tho few other sport or other such cards generate anywhere near those values - the famed US Keno brothers started in the business as children and one of their highest appraisals for a US side table ? was in the $200K - that sold at auction for $400+K - then there was the 'national treasure, yes sir a national treasure' Mid-19th Century Navajo Ute First Phase Blanket appraised by Donald Ellis at $500K â owner: "I had no idea. (voice breaking) It was laying on the back of a chair." - and the man who worked for the 'card' company and liasoned with Charles Shultz who gave him some originals of his work - now worth $250K http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/roadshow/index.html - multi hour education source the BBC Antiques Roadshow began in 1979 and you 'can't' watch 4 years of their shows here: http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b006mj2y/episodes/2007 unfortunately i've discovered those older episodes can't be seen, the BBC only makes shows available for a very limited period - http://www.bbc.co.uk/bbcone/programmes/genres/factual/antiques/player/episodes also google: 'bbc antiques roadshow' 'youtube bbc antiques roadshow' etc multi-hour education source Get Educated - watching the BBC and PBS videos/site will provide a lot of that while one doesn't need to become an 'expert' one does need to know that a Replica may have been inadvertently and unintentionally classified as Original by the seller whether the seller a private individual, at a yard sale, auction, 'antique' dealer or an online/Ebay seller, and that Replicas of guns, coins, watches, ceramics, sculpture antiques, antiquities, etc etc exist, legitimately, but, Copies are fraud; to beware of Fakes and Counterfeit objects, that Watercolors in particular can be reproduced and will appear to be Original rather than the difficult to distinguish Print, all of which of course have a much, much lower value than an Original; that antiquities often have a lower than expected value - too old and are often reproduced, copied, faked, but - that the price paid may be 'full retail' even over-paid amount with little likelyhood of an increase in value that the Box or Packaging the toy came in can double or more the value of the toy that chips and cracks on China/Ornaments etc sometimes don't lower the value too much and may still be worth collecting * to Never, Never, Never refinish an antique * say a brass lamp polished-up will half it's value, as would the refinishing of an 18thC table or other furniture, but - ask the expert first - Professional Restoration can and does increase the value of the object , sometimes considerably Folk/Naive art/Crafts can also command high value, who'd have thought a handmade weather vane sitting for years on top of an old barn would be worth thousands or the 'crappy' paintings done by an old woman are being collected by 'connoisseurs' 'antique' does not necessarily mean '100 years old', 'modern' objects are collected and do see an increase in value, eg rock posters, celebrity siganture/letters, photos art in general since beauty is in the eye of the beholder the maxim is to collect what you like virtually everthing is collectable, google 'what to collect' for guidlines while some objects/groups have a high starting value others are very affordable like stocks the value of a group of say Victorian furniture or Majolica ceramics may rise and fall periodically reaching a high or being in a depressed market, one's buys are for the long term buy-and-hold, tho one may cast an eye to a particular market say Russian objects since Russians are all now rich, or a few years ago the Irish market and sell into that rising market the term 'collection' also applies to a group of objects: say a relative who was in the American Civil War, you have his uniform - coat, pants, hat, belt, plus a sword, maybe handgun, maybe long gun, maybe letters and/or diary from him, photograph, all could be sold individually but are usually worth more as a collection Provenance: http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/roadshow/glossary/index.html "A term that refers to an object's path through time, its "life experience" including who owned it, when, where and for how long-all of which, if known and verified, often adds significant value to an antique or collectible." part of the proof of being an original. watch out for who's the legal owner; an object might have been 'lost' from a museum, may have been looted during WWII, an unauthorized reproduction what's interesting and surprising about the Pawn Stars shows is the people pawning their object - usually a straight sell rather than trying to sell it privately especially via the internet where in theory they'd receive more money the Stars have bought cars, boat, plane, motor bikes, Coke machine, barber chair all of which they've had professionals restore to showroom finishes, and even after paying for that restoration the object still has profit potential - none were antiques in every show i've seen at least one expert is asked to come to the store to make an evaluation of the object's authenticity and value - if the Pawn Stars don't know they don't buy while pawn shops are a strictly retail business and not likely to yield low priced collectibles, Pawn Stars does offer some useful buying/selling and Real, Fake, Replica info: http://www.history.com/shows/pawn-stars the most often heard response of guests on the Antiques Roadshow is "WOW" typical of guests who'd no idea of the value of their object/collection, even those who had previously asked an 'expert' - you have to ask the right one - or have the object insured for a given value. also typical are guests who own the object because they bought it for a practical reason and very much enjoy it, or who became a collector of lures because they enjoy fishing or started collecting decoys because they hunt how much should you invest ? if one looks at collecting from the pov of retirement income, tho with a difficult to assess annual roi, but a multi/several decade buyandhold strategy, one might base one's buying budget on the cost to buy one object one's collecting, once a week, month, quarter etc will every purchase result in an increase of value ? i'd say yes. judging by the Roadshows there's still objects today being sold at a price far below their appraised value, objects being disposed of into skips and dumpsters, estate/house sales, need-to-raise-cash sales, seller ignorance that results in very low buy investments - one wo/man's rubbish is another wo/man's treasure insurance and storage you may need to buy separate insurance each year since general household may not cover your particular object/s/collection/s. if you collect a lot and/or it's very valuable you may fill/over fill your home, and may need to rent a safety deposit box or larger storage that may also need additional insurance beware that the pursuit of collecting may become a passion since there's much to collect, buy/sell/trade along the way, and virtually thousands of places where one can visit to acquire objects, so just as in stock etc trading one has to disciplined when it comes to the amount of capital one takes on a collection hunt time most peoples' busy lifestyle have them investing in mutual funds, retirement plans 401s etc because it's easier for someone else to do it for them, so it's more than likely particularly if one has a family the collecting time has to have a schedule, but can be part of a family outing, if only once a month - with the occasional stop-off at a garage sale or etc one happens upon or walks/drives past, then there's the weekly auction, or two . . . . .