Are Boxes Worth the Space? – by Tammy Kahn Fennell

January 18th, 2010 by

Should I keep my box?

I get asked this question over and over again.

“Tammy, I have a huge collection of figurines and the boxes are taking over my house…. Do I REALLY need them?”

The answer is, it depends.

A deal with a lot of Hummel Figurines and I have to be honest, the box matters little. If it adds 5% to the final sale price I think that’s being generous, and often it’s a recipe for disaster as people keep them in their boxes when transporting them, and inevitably they break. Plus, these figurines are meant to be enjoyed!  You don’t want them to be in your curio cabinet, for all to see and admire! More important than the box is proper care. Make sure you don’t store your figurines in direct sunlight, keep them climate controlled, keep them clean and out of reach of small children. This is what really matters to collectors- How the piece looks.  The box is really more of an afterthought and in the secondary market it’s really expected to not have all the original boxes (especially in older pieces).

But if you really want to hang onto the boxes, you can always store the boxes flat. This obviously takes them out of contention for ever transporting (without a bunch of your own added packing) but it keeps the boxes and doesn’t take over your whole house! Also make sure you do not confuse the shipping box with the actual box. There’s absolutely no need to keep a brown UPS box that came from the factory as that has absolutely no value, so unless you’re making a fort with cardboard best to throw those out.

There are, however, some brands that I would absolutely keep the packaging for. One in particular is Swarovski. They come in those wonderful cases, with tons of padding, perfect for transporting.  When you try to sell your collection, collectors do often ask for the box so it’s well worth keeping those.

Old toys are also candidates for having the box. There are some cases where the box becomes worth more than the toy itself because it’s simply SO rare to have on intact. An example of a toy that the box could add tremendous value for is a Japanese 1960s Revolving Robot: http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/roadshow/archive/200504A29.html.  The toy itself is around $1500, but if it had to box it could bring substantially more.

I realize there is some contradiction in this article. The truth is there’s no hard or fast rule about this, but at the end of the day we can’t have a house taken over by cardboard so I wouldn’t sweat it too much.  Pay more attention to the collectible itself staying in good shape. 9 out of 10 times that’s where the real value lies!

Here’s a quick list of brands that the boxes shouldn’t add too much value to:
Precious Moments
Hummel
Lladro
Royal Doulton

And here’s a few I’d hang onto the box:
Swarovski
Lionel Trains
Any pre 1970 toys

Tammy Kahn Fennell is the host of CollectiblesCornerTV.com and runs VintageRareStuff.com. When she isn’t dealing in antiques and collectibles she’s busy developing applications that help people increase their brand awareness on social networks (marketmetweet.com)

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