I shipped my childhood baseball card collection away to an Ebay buyer last week-- over 5,ooo cards. As I packaged and addressed, I remember the hours spent sorting these cards as a kid: brand, year, team. I remember the time my little sister and cousin got into about 3,000 of these sorted cards and decided to see how big of a pile they'd make. I remember saving my allowance for the various sets including the complete 1993 Topps box set ( $35 was a lot of cash for a little kid). The set had a Derek Jeter rookie card. I had Ozzie Smith cards and Ryan Sandburg cards from 1979. I also figured the longer I saved them, the more valuable they'd become.
What did I make on ebay nearly 20 years later? $56.
It's interesting how things gain, hold, and lose value. My great-grandfather collected coins. He invested each year in bronze medals released by the Franklin Mint that commemorated historic events. He had an entire box set of these. 200 coins, $3 each. I'm sure he collected them for fun, but he also probably thought they'd have value. You can buy the sets on Ebay now for around $200.
To make the baseball card situation worse, my wife just sold a Littlest Pet Shop charm bracelet on Ebay. It had 10 charms. She sent away for the charms using box tops as a kid. Selling price-- $125.