Collectibls Industry Experiences Transformation, But Remains Strong The collecting gene is alive and well! The state of the collectibles industry remains positive, according to Linda Kruger, Executive Director of the Collectors’ Information Bureau.
of Mattarusky Heirloom Ornaments (www.Mattarusky.com), agree, as artist signings and exclusivity have made a huge difference for their company. "Collectors want something personal they can connect to,” said Anne Litavsky. “Knowing the artist and the story behind the ornament allows customers to pass on a history with the ornament.”
Today’s economy is challenging the collectibles industry, as witnessed by a number of leading manufacturers who have either fallen on hard times, or entered bankruptcy over the last year. Goebel, founded in 1871 and manufacturing M.I. Hummels since 1935, ceased the production of M.I. Hummel (www.mihummel.com) figurines in October 2008. However, in February 2009, the production of Hummel® figurines resumed in Rödental, Germany, thanks to a new investor, taking over all the necessary rights and manufacturing facilities from former manufacturer Goebel® Porcelain Factory.
In July 2008, Lenox Group Inc., the Eden Prairie-based giftware and collectibles company whose operations include Department 56 (www.Department56.com), said it was in discussions to sell Department 56, after failing to find a buyer for all of Lenox. Then, in November 2008, Lenox filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy. It plans a court-approved sale of its business. The company will discontinue some Department 56 product lines, turning its focus to Village Series collectibles, and the Snowbabies line of figurines.
Finally, in January 2009, Waterford Wedgwood PLC entered receivership in Ireland and the UK, the British form of bankruptcy, after efforts to restructure or find a buyer failed. But, it’s business as usual at Waterford, Wedgwood, and Royal Doulton in the USA (www.wwusa.com). The accounting firm serving as receiver reports there are several potential buyers likely to emerge.
What does this mean to collectors? Bankruptcy does not necessarily mean that a company is going out of business. Many companies, especially the larger corporate firms, emerge from bankruptcy as healthier entities. The company moves forward, continuing to produce the same products it did prior to the bankruptcy.
Industry Observations and Consensus:
Despite the economy, collectibles are generally steady in the marketplace. Companies are learning to adapt and follow industry trends, including a strong demand for traditional items, as well as products that are unique and Made In America. Style trends, noted by several vendors showing in Atlanta, include brighter, livelier color tones, which lift spirits during challenging economic times.
“Let’s remember that there are no guarantees of long-term collectability,” states Kruger. “As times change, be prepared to take the bad with the good. That’s why true collectors buy what they love, not what’s running high for the moment on the secondary market.”
For more information, please contact the Collectors’ Information Bureau at 800.352.8039 or visit www.collectorsinfo.com
Collectors’ Information Bureau:
The Collectors’ Information Bureau (CIB) is a trade association comprised of the top manufacturers in the field of limited edition collectibles. CIB reaches out to collectors all across the country with news, information, and insights about the fun and fascinating world of collecting. For more information about the Collectors’ Information Bureau, contact Pioneer Communications, Inc., P.O. Box 306, Grundy Center,