When Usedcarsalesman was a kid in the 1970s and the early-to-mid 1980s, he collected all manner of toys, comic books, posters and assorted other items related to the Star Wars-franchise the way some kids collected baseball cards or Pez dispensers. Today, his collections still exist and currently reside 3000 miles away in a concrete bunker in an undisclosed location -- actually an above-ground house.
The good news is that most of those collected Star Wars items have appreciated in value, substantially. But recently, Usedcarsalesman considered that when he factored in the square-footage of residential storage space that old Star Wars items like his took up in a house -- especially one in a area with a booming real estate market -- that any appreciation which those collected items achieved was largely negated. Even though the items went up by "10-1000+"-times their original price, the business equation of which they were a part ultimately amounted to zero dollars after Usedcarsalesman tallied the value of the storage area that the items occupied over the years.
Today it seems to Usedcarsalesman that he collected things at a young age due to his interest in the wisdom of "buying low and sell high." Great. It's just that his execution of the storage of those items was a little off -- he'd buy the items and hide them away, kind of in the old Citizen-Kane-style. Guess you could say he wasn't a full-on nerd who wanted to show the items off, he was just somebody who reasonably presumed the items would increase in value down the road.
But, some, wiser guys -- definitely mostly males -- who really love the stuff they collected in the past and present actually display their "collections" in their own residences as one might display art or paintings or sculpture. They literally have rooms filled wall-to-wall with Star Trek or Star Wars items or old Washington Senators memorabilia and that makes a lot of sense. I guess you could say that it adds to your living arrangement rather than simply subtracting from your residential square footage. And, that's probably the most logical way to hold such items over time: you have interesting items that provide value by giving you and your guests something to look at and which also appreciate enough to offset any costs in their use of space.
As we all know, speculative collecting of pop-culture items has turned in to big business over the last decade. Companies such as eBay have basically aggregated a million collections and small retail hobby enterprises and turned what was once a mom and pop thing in to a gigantic, fluid secondary market for toys and kitsch. As such, If Usedcarsalesman were to take all the original Star Wars items he collected and put it in a room at his place, it'd look like he went on eBay -- circa 2005 -- and spent $30,000 on rare 70s and 80s era pop-culture merchandise.
Anybody with a Visa card could do that nowadays; so it kind of undercuts the fun, treasure-hunting and work which was inherent in the whole business of "collecting" when Usedcarsalesman was a kid. But in its favor, eBay does offer people the advantage of being able to buy items which may increase in value and which will also appeal to the collector's overall aesthetic tastes, too.
That was tough to do thirty years ago as a kid who had to do the best he could with the limited selection available to him locally. Back then, Usedcarsalesman could generally collect stuff locally that would increase in value, but he just wanted to "put it under a mattress" so to speak. Nowadays, he can have the best of both worlds: collect for speculation and aesthetic appeal thanks to eBay.
Note: Usedcarsalesman is not ticked-off that the whole baseball card, comic-book, toy, garage-sale thing has gone mass-market on eBay. If anything, it's made it easier for young people and adults to get started collecting, speculating or otherwise trading in custom-tailored items that were once the preserve of the hardcore collector or treasure-hunter. And, the people who did the old-fashioned legwork of collecting stuff like baseball cards or Star Wars toys locally as kids (with no eBay) often end up using that experience as a spring board for commodity speculation as adults, say in real estate or automobiles or fine-art.