Being married to a stock broker, I hear more about the ups and downs of the stock market than most women.
Back in April, 1971, I bought my first "collector's plate" for $25.00. To be honest I didn't buy it as an
"investment" and my husband Gene certainly didn't even think of it as such. I bought the plate because I liked it. It reminded me of some collector's plates my mother had which were handed down to my oldest sister (and which, incidentally, were appraised for quite a bit of money just about the time I bought my first plate). So, I guess I had that word "investment" in the back of my mind as I displayed that plate for the first time. I even made the mistake of mentioning to my husband that one day it might be worth a lot more than I paid for it. He laughed and suggested if I had spare money to invest, he could recommend a good stock broker.
Well, getting to the "last laugh" department -- that $25.00 plate now lists for $580.00. That's an increase of 2,320 percent in just six years. The Dow-Jones in that same time has actually gone down from 950.82 as of April 28, 1971 to 769.92 on January 31, 1978. Of course, certain stock issues have done very well but overall I'm sure Gene wishes the market had done as well the past six years as my beautiful plate (besides, my investment pays a big dividend -- I can enjoy looking at it every day).
But just for the fun of it, I asked my husband to tell me what would have happened if I'd bought IBM stock in 1971. It turned out that the stock increased about 26%, and the dividends added 18% more. I couldn't resist remarking that this seemed a bit pale compared to the 2,320 percent increase in value on my plate. In this period of raging inflation I know quite a few people who, realizing that $25.00 invested at 5% in 1971 would now be worth only $33.75, wish they'd bought a few plates like mine.
Since that day six years ago when I first became interested in plate collecting, I've learned a lot. I'm now working for a company that's in the very thick of collectibles, and everyone here is excited about a new series of plates by the artist Yiannis Koutsis called "The Creation". This series is yours at a huge discount if you join Calhoun's Plate Collectors Club. The experts tell me this may be the most important plate series of the past ten years. But I don't want you to think I'm an expert. I'm still just a collector, but I've learned this lesson very well:
Some plates, like some stocks, shoot up in value quickly. But even if they don't, collector's plates are works of art that you can enjoy as objects of beauty.
I think that's the best of all worlds. We can enjoy the plates, show them to our friends, even give them as the most treasured of gifts. And if they increase in value, what a lovely way to "invest"! Besides, who of us would ever enjoy displaying a stock certificate or a savings passbook?
Recently there was a plate collectors' convention here in Minneapolis. Much to my surprise, Gene suggested that why didn't "we" attend. A few years ago, he would have settled down with the Wall Street Journal or practiced his putting while I browsed through the plates. This certainly brought home one fact I had learned at work: Plate collecting is becoming the number one form of collecting in this country. This is important news for all of us who are collectors or who are thinking about becoming collectors. Over the next few years, as more and more people become collectors, the plates that are being issued now just have
to become more valuable. That old law of supply and demand will really be at work, with more collectors bidding for the same number of limited editions.
That's why I asked the president of our company, Stafford Calvin, if I could write this letter to invite you to acquire the Charter Edition of "The Creation" Series at $29.50 for each plate in the series.
If you're already a collector, you know that there are many plates available today, some of them costing as much as $1,250 at issue price. Some others are issued by the hundreds of thousands at a very low price; I think these are better called "souvenir plates" than collector's plates.
When my husband asked me, learning of this new "Creation" series, "How does anyone know which plates will increase in value quicker than others?" I answered without thinking: "I guess you'd consult the experts -- the ones who really study the field."
I didn't know. So I discussed the matter with Mr. Calvin. It turned out he had been thinking along the same lines. The result is that one of the leading authorities in collectibles has become Advising
Consultant to Calhoun's. Roy Shoults owns Albatross Antiques, is president of the National Association of Limited Editions Dealers, and is generally regarded as one of the world's most knowledgeable people in this field.
What he says about this series is important. In his report to Mr. Calvin, Mr. Shoults felt that series presented an unusual opportunity for collectibles. He indicated a very high degree of public acceptance and that the aftermarket projection "seems permanent and assured".
Mr. Shoults went on to say that "The Creation" was one of "the most outstanding concepts of this decade".
OF ALL COLLECTIBLES EVER MADE AVAILABLE THROUGH CALHOUN'S
--WHETHER STAMPS, FIGURINES, BELLS, OR WHATEVER -- THE PLATE SERIES "THE CREATION" HAS BROUGHT THE GREATEST RESPONSE WE'VE EVER RECEIVED.
This invitation to obtain the Charter Edition of "The Creation" Series is open to you for just 21 days. This may be the only notification you will receive. Please don't miss out. Return your reservation promptly.
(You may use one of your credit cards if you wish.)
When you return the enclosed reservation form, you will be assured of receiving each and every plate in the series "The Creation" at $29.50.
I do hope that you'll take advantage of this offer. Since I've become a plate collector, I've seen or read about almost every new issue. This is the one -- perhaps the only -- series which is truly timeless. "The Creation" carries a theme that will be as important to your great-grandchildren in 2078 as it is to you in 1978. And porcelain itself is ageless. Hundreds and hundreds of years from now, your collection will be as perfect as they will be the day you get them. What a wonderful family legacy! I plan to leave my set to one of my children, with instructions to hand it down to the next generation. You might choose to sell yours, or give it as a gift; mine will be a family heirloom.
Please do return your reservation within the 21-day period. You'll then be sure of owning the Charter Edition, which I believe will be far more coveted than even the First Edition.
You should know that any collectible you ever get through Calhoun's carries an unconditional 15 -day examination period. If, after examining "In the Beginning", living with it, and showing it to your friends and relatives, you decide not to keep it, you may return it to us at any time up to 15 days after receipt for a full refund.
I realize that this letter will probably be read by some men. According to statistics, they're plate collectors too. (About half our Society's members are men.)
My husband Gene isn't as avid a collector as I am -- yet. But he did pay "The Creation" what for him is the ultimate compliment: Looking at Plate I the other night, he said, "That really is an unusual piece of art. Can we get a set for my sister?"
CALHOUN'S COLLECTORS SOCIETY, INC.
Rhoda Engleson RE/afu
P. S. The answer to the question in the last paragraph is on your reservation form. We must limit you to one set.