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Kansas Collectors - Part 6

Sock monkey.Everyone Needs a Hobby

Collection as Investment

Most collectors look for pieces priced below market value. However, a collector will pay more depending on how badly he or she wants a piece.

With the availability of the Internet and programs such as PBS's Antiques Roadshow, more and more people are looking to collect as an investment or hoping that what they already have is valuable.

Lunch boxes from  Kelly's collection

While these collectors may enjoy the thrill of the hunt, they also recognize the value of their collections and envision the day when they might be sold to fund another purchase or project.



Lunch Boxes

"The Jetsons is the Holy Grail of lunch boxes."
- Kelly, Newton

Kelly began collecting lunch boxes about sixteen years ago as a fluke. He saw one at a garage sale and was hooked. Today he has nearly 250 (see left).

Kelly with his 
lunch box collection.

The majority of Kelly's collection is on display at his family business. He says it is a good conversation starter with customers. Because his collection is so large, Kelly is selective, only buying items in mint condition. He once saw a Jetsons lunch box selling for $900 but couldn't bring himself to spend that much. Today, he says, the same lunch box fetches $3,000.

Kelly buys multiple pieces for investment purposes and for trade. He has cut back in his collecting since he has two college-age daughters to support.


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Everyone Needs a Hobby: Kansas Collectors and Collecting is an online exhibit developed by the Kansas Museum of History.

  1. The Museum: The House of Muses
  2. The Drive to Collect
  3. Bringing People Together
  4. Living With a Collection
  5. Collecting as Play
  6. Collection as Investment
  7. Working Together: Collectors & Museums

Contact us at KansasMuseum@kshs.org