Memory Lane: Nostalgia Has Taken Hold
Memory Lane: Nostalgia Has Taken Hold
August 2, 2023
If you are confused by the sudden appearance of many cultural touchstones from the past (such as Barbie, conversations about Oppenheimer, and a new Ninja Turtles movie!), you’re not imagining things. It seems like we have suddenly resurrected many cultural icons and ephemera from our past and embraced them once again. Why this wave of nostalgia? Are we so troubled by current conditions that we are seeking warm and fuzzy recollections and items from days we remember as better? Well, in fact, at least according to a recent article in National Geographic (itself a fondly remembered yellow magazine from days gone by), that may just be the case. As writer Olivia Campbell states, “Nostalgic experiences can be particularly comforting in trying times.” Not only do they connect us with people, places, and experiences from our past (whether or not they were actually “the good old days”) but reflecting on nostalgia apparently also gives us a sense of control and comfort. There’s even a potential psychological boost to be gained by embracing nostalgia. So grab your Mickey and Minnie and read more here.
Right now in particular it appears our shared cultural movie and television experiences are embracing and hugging the past. In fact, if you’re a movie fan, you may want to avail yourself of an online auction currently underway (to benefit striking Hollywood workers) of rare TV and film memorabilia. Not only do we currently see images and experience stories reflecting the past, but collecting memorabilia has become a huge (and at times profitable) endeavor. While that’s always been the case to a certain degree with sports memorabilia (how many of us have longed for a ball with autographs or an item from a championship game) it’s now become a multi-billion dollar industry with “collectibles” often fetching thousands if not more from eager fans wanting to remember their sports heroes. The same holds true for items from movies and tv shows of the past. Disney items, for example, can sell for a fortune if they are unique and rare, with everything from Pez dispensers of Disney characters to pieces of no-longer-used Disney theme park rides being scooped up by fans wanting to own a piece of the past.
Of course, your desire to hold onto the past and possibly even make some money may not always work out so well. As one expert makes clear, “The value of anything is what other people are willing to pay for it.” Tastes and trends come and go so that bundle you shelled out for a “priceless” Beanie Baby or set of Ninja Turtle figurines may not be such a good investment when and if you decide to part with your collection. It all depends on the market at that time, in addition to the condition of your items and their rarity. How do you know what your items may be worth if you decide to part with them? Probably the easiest way to begin that search is to see what comparable items have sold for, at places like Heritage Auctions. For more on this assessment process, carefully unwrap your figurines and read here.
Of course, some of us may be unwilling to part with what we consider a priceless memorabilia collection, or we may think that we’ll pass the collection down to our heirs who will appreciate and benefit from what we’ve enjoyed. If that’s what you think, you may want to reconsider your ideas. It turns out, many collectors leave their heirs with a significant burden when they pass away, as heirs have no appreciation (or interest) in the collections they’ve inherited and no easy way to determine the value of the collection or how to sell it. But if you’re determined to keep your collection whole and desire to let it live on past your own death, then at a minimum you need to be kind to your heirs and give them some clues as to the value and importance of the collection you’ve been putting together. Some basic recommendations? Create an inventory of the items in your collection, including the conditions (and paperwork) supporting purchases, the valuations if you have them, and a description of where the items can be found (along with some notice of where you keep the inventory). In fact, if at all possible, you may want to make connections with an auction house in advance of your death that might covet your collection, to save your family the burden of undergoing such a search. In essence, you need to educate your heirs about the value of what they will be inheriting.
And speaking of education, some memorabilia and feelings of nostalgia are truly priceless but often lost when a person passes away. In particular, personal stories and family lore can be gone forever if the keeper of these memories dies without passing on the knowledge and stories that make up your family history and allow for sweet nostalgic reflections. If that’s a collection you truly will covet, you may want to investigate the website Storyworth, which has an easy-to-use platform to enable you or an older loved one to remember and collect important family and personal stories and then put them all together in a bound book that becomes a forever (and priceless) keepsake. For more on this website and its offerings (and reviews), read here.