Many people believe that the price of an item is directly related to its age. In other words, the older an item is the more valuable it becomes. This simply isn’t true. Its value is based on supply and demand. It’s better to own a five year old item, which has 50 known pieces, that 500 collectors want than it is to own a 100 year old item, with six in existence, that three people want. The belief in age and price exists because it sometimes takes years to generate interest (or demand). Also, as the years go by, more and more of the items are damaged, destroyed or lost, thus decreasing the supply.
Suppose there are 50 pieces of an item and it takes 25 years for 100 people to each want one. But what if we take the same 50 pieces and within one year 100 people want them. Basically, the item is worth the same whether it takes one or 25 years. Very simply stated, to increase an item’s value you must increase the demand (number of collectors) or decrease the supply. It’s even better if both take place!
Credit cards are an interesting situation. There is a small and limited supply of early (ten years or older) credit cards. Also remember collectors desire the best for their collections meaning pristine condition cards. Taking only pristine cards into consideration means there is an extremely small supply. If early credit cards, in pristine condition, are difficult to acquire now, when there are few collectors, imagine the difficulty in acquiring them when the collector base explodes to say 5,000 (Even if more cards come out of hiding, the growth of the collector base should out pace them.). The question now is, “How long will it take to get 5,000 collectors?” The answer, “Not long!”
Five thousand collectors sounds like a lot until you put it into perspective. The Automobile License Plate Collectors Association has 3,000 members. One license plate has already sold for a five figure sum. Beer Can Collectors of America was formed in 1970 and now has 13,000 members. Most early beer cans sell for hundreds of dollars apiece with some going for thousands. As you can see, it’s realistic to assume that credit card collecting can attain 5,000 collectors (Remember, 100,000,000 people, in the United States alone, carry credit cards.). It’s also reasonable to expect the better collections to be valued, at that time, into the tens if not the hundreds of thousands of dollars! But do you have to wait 100 years? NO! It’s totally up to us how long it takes to make credit cards valuable. With all of us working together and everyone making a sincere effort, the job can be accomplished within a few years. Remember, everyone should be a credit card collector because it costs nothing to start and it takes little effort to build a collection. It’s up to us to make people aware that credit card collecting exists and how easy it is to get started.
Copyright 1986 by Greg Tunks