From priceless to worthless: Longaberger baskets may be latest collectors item to fall by wayside

Basket maker Longaberger Co. is going out of business, ending a decades-long run for one of the biggest collectibles.

The Newark-based company moved out of its iconic basket-shaped building two years ago and just this week announced it will cease operations. Though news of the company’s closure came just in the last few days, its downfall has been a long time coming, according to Kovels, an online guide for information on antiques and collectibles.

RELATED: Longaberger Co. going out of business: What it means for your baskets

The baskets became a sought after collector’s item in the 1990s, leading Longaberger to issue several expensive limited edition baskets. But, the resale market for the baskets eventually collapsed and today some of the previously highest-priced baskets can be found at rock bottom prices, often under $40, according to Kovels.

With Longaberger Co. heading for extinction, here are three other collectibles that have fallen over time.

1. Beanie Babies

The little bean bag animals known as Beanie Babies were created in 1993 and became hot collector’s items by 1995, according to Kovels.

The creator of Beanie Babies, Ty Inc., made hundreds of different animals and some limited editions but by 1999 the craze for the stuffed animals had ended. Ty Inc., stopped production of Beanie Babies that year and now even the rarest of Beanie Babies can be found for $5 or less, according to Kovels.

RELATED: Longaberger basket building to be redeveloped by firm leading downtown Dayton project

2. Hummels

Hummels, figurines of children, were originally made in 1935 in Germany and became popular in the United States when soldiers returning from World War II brought them home as gifts.

As collectors started buying up the figurines, more were made to fill demand but it proved to be too many, according to Kovels.

Today, even the original Hummels are hard to sell for much but the most famous collection of them was actually sold in Ohio in 2013 and 2014, according to Kovels. The sale included 29 pieces that sold for over $2,000 each and one for as high as $5,000.

PHOTOS: Check out the Longaberger basket company through the years

3. Precious Moments

The artist Samuel Butcher first sold greeting cards and posters with his “Precious Moments” work on them and in 1978 a company developed a line of porcelain figurines, according to Kovels.

The demand for the figurines climbed so more were made and the market for them eventually crashed. Although they’re still loved by many, they sell at prices much lower than originally predicted with several selling for $10 or less, according to Kovels.


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