Over the last month or two, amid the COVID-19 pandemic, I have been busy with interviews about the value of stuff found in attics and basements, prompted by the nationwide stay-at-home orders and home cleaning projects.
I have been talking to folks nationwide, who have emptied out closets and garages, via video call appraisals using Zoom, FaceTime, Skype, Facebook and others.
Recently, during a barrage of interviews by major media outlets — big-city TV networks, The Washington Post, various online magazines — I’ve been asked, “What are the global pandemic collectibles that will be valuable?” As I told many reporters, the list may surprise you.
I have been known to say on my YouTube channel (YouTube.com/DrLoriV), that art and antiques reflect society.
With that in mind, the most impactful cultural event, worldwide, of 2020 is the spread of the novel coronavirus.
Associated objects are many. Here are my picks for the most valuable collectibles of coronavirus. So, if you have them or if you can acquire them, save them in your favorite storage or display case as they will be the valuables of the future.
2020 Tokyo Olympic collectibles
I was lecturing in Tokyo during the fall of 2019. I experienced many exhibits, events and promotions there relating to the forthcoming Olympic games.
As a result of the coronavirus, the 2020 Tokyo Olympic games have been postponed to 2021.
This makes all of the original 2020 souvenir items more valuable for their rarity as early as the Olympics held in 2024.
Although the 2020 games are scheduled to take place in 2021, most 2020 Olympic collectibles will not see a spike until the games resume a regular schedule in 2024.
Tokyo 2020 Olympic paraphernalia will become valuable, rare and sought after — everything from T-shirts to Olympic pins.
Pay particular attention to the blue-and-white anime-inspired mascot named Miraitowa, and the newly introduced sports to the games. Do your best to collect 2020 Tokyo Olympic items now and save them for a few years to get a good return on investment.
Frontline hero action figures
Mattel introduced the #ThankyouHeroes line of 16 new action figures representing the people who are working on the front lines during the coronavirus global pandemic.
These new action figures represent EMTs, first responders, doctors, nurses, medical technicians, essential workers, delivery drivers, grocery clerks, etc.
These toys will definitely be the collectibles of the future.
Buy an action figure — for instance, I bought the brunette nurse with the white face mask — and a portion of the purchase price will be given as a donation to help first responders.
When you get your action figure in a few months, you will have one of the most desirable coronavirus collectibles.
Check out mattel.com/en-us/playroom-thankyouheroes.
Fisher Price introduced a set of Little People heroes called Little People Community Champions Special Edition Figure, sold in a pack of five toys.
The five-pack includes a Little People figure of a doctor, nurse, EMT, delivery driver and grocery store worker.
A $15 donation from each online purchase will support FirstRespondersFirst, a charity. For more info, use hashtags #ThankyouHeroes and #FirstRespondersFirst.
There will be more corona-collectibles that emerge as time goes on.
With the onset of summer wedding season, we will see coronavirus-inspired items like lacy white bride and groom face masks and individual table settings for guests.
I took an unexpected trip to the hospital in April and secured a real hospital-issue face mask which I kept for posterity’s sake.
In addition, in this age of direct deposit, there will be rare paper stimulus checks and letters with President Donald J. Trump’s name and signature on them, for collectors.
In years to come, they will be of interest with presidential memorabilia collectors and others.
Oh, and a favorite collectible of the coronavirus is probably the tower of cardboard take-out pizza boxes.
Dr. Lori Verderame is an author and antiques appraiser on History channel. With a Ph.D. from Penn State University and vast experience appraising art, antiques and artifacts worldwide for museums and collectors, Verderame is the director of DrLoriV.com, a resource for identifying art and artifacts. Visit Facebook.com/DoctorLori, or call 888-431-1010.