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I Nerd Sniped Myself And Wasted A Day On This Useless Post

from miscellaneous on 2020-03-12 ↩ back

Every week or so I go through random xkcd comics because I get bored at work. Today, I read comic 2123: “Meta Collecting”, which contains the text:

My hobby: Collecting one item from every category listed on Wikipedia’s “List of collectables.”

This created a chain of thoughts which was as follows:

  1. Haha funny meta joke. I like meta joke.
  2. I wonder what the “List of collectables” page actually looks like.
  3. Wow, that’s a lot of stuff. Collecting them all could be expensive.

So now we will go through every item in the “List of collectables” page, find the average price of every item, and add it up to get the price of collecting every category.

I have no idea how long this will take, or if there even is information about this on every collection. But I must know. I need to know. If I don’t get this information, I’m literally going to die (not literally).

But before we begin, we gotta cut down on this list. I haven’t counted but I’m sure it is in the hundreds and I literally can’t do all of that (actually literally). Going through it, there’s a few sections that I think are too broad to get a good number on, so we’ll skip them (I’m sure we could extrapolate numbers from the ones we do have). They are:

  • Architectural
  • Art
  • Clothing and accessories, fabric and textiles
  • Coins, currency, and stamps
  • Film and television
  • Glass and pottery
  • Nature and animals
  • Theme
  • Memorabilia

That’s well over half of the list, but it’s still probably too big so we’ll also skip some stuff in the things we have left when we get to it. But our remaining list is:

  • Advertising collectables
  • Books, magazines, and paper
  • Music
  • Sports
  • Technology
  • Toys, games, and dolls

The page also has several items which are nested such as the trading cards section which looks like this:

* Trading cards
    * Insert cards
    * Non-sports cards
    * Sports cards
        * Baseball cards
        * Basketball cards
        * Football cards
        * Hockey cards
        * Jersey cards

I will only search for items which have no children. So in this case I would only look at: ‘Insert cards’, ‘Non-sports cards’, ‘Baseball cards’, ‘Basketball cards’, ‘Football cards’, ‘Hockey cards’, and ‘Jersey cards’. But maybe not ‘Insert Cards’ or ‘Non-sports cards’ because that’s super broad.

Insert some witty catchphrase about starting here.

Advertising collectables

Antique Advertising

Well this is a good start. I haven’t found any data on this stuff, only marketplaces. Why people don’t want to do any research on people’s antique advertising collections is beyond me, so we’ll just get it from the marketplaces.

In the “Antique advertising” section of Etsy, you can scroll down and see text that says this:

“Did you scroll all this way to get facts about antique advertising? Well you’re in luck, because here they come. There are 20292 antique advertising for sale on Etsy, and they cost US$76.05 on average. The most common antique advertising material is metal. The most popular colour? You guessed it: red.”

frist of all, how dare yo u. I didn’t guess ”red”, don’t assume you know me Etsy. But it looks like our average price is US$76.05, thank you Etsy. Bare in mind however, these numbers are only from Etsy. There are lots of other marketplaces so they might not be entirely accurate. But I think it should be okay, I’ll put these numbers in a table at the bottom when we’re done.

Matchbooks

I’ve found “MATCHBOOK COVERS CARRY DIFFERENT VALUES” from the South Florida Sun Sentinel, which states that they go for around $3 each. The only problem is that the article is from December 1985. Not the most up to date information I’ll admit, but adjusted for inflation that’s US$7.19.

Seems kinda reasonable but according to our friend Etsy (who I suspect we’ll be seeing a lot), “there are 6747 matchbook for sale on Etsy, and they cost US$70.35 on average.”

That’s a huge jump, which seems to be because Etsy sells matchbook collections instead of singular matchbooks. Since I can’t find out how to get Etsy to only show single matchbooks, we’ll be going with the US$7.19 number.

Matchboxes

I don’t know what the difference is between a “matchbook” and “matchbox”. And because of that, I’m going to pretend that there isn’t one and say matchboxes also cost US$7.19.

I actually checked Etsy, but it said “and they cost US$48.29 on average.” Which once again, is clearly wrong as the results also seem to include collections as well as the Matchbox cars. So it seems like “matchbox” is just too broad a term.

Radio Premiums

Once again, no information. Once again, Etsy says “US$31.42 on average.” And once again that is because they include things that AREN’T RADIO PREMIUMS.

This time I went through each item on Etsy (that was actually a radio premium), and got the average: US$80.

Bazooka Joe Comics

These comics actually come from the inside of “Bazooka Bubble Gum”, so it’s just the price of that, which is US$12 for 225 from Amazon. For one that makes US$0.05.

Crater Critters

Crater Critters was a set of eight plastic toys that were made by an Australian company, Rosenhain and Lipmann and given away inside Kellogg’s cereal boxes in 1968 and again in 1972.[1]

According to this kinda sketchy website they are AU$35 each. In USD (because that’s what everything else is in) it is US$23.14.

Cracker Jack Prizes

According to “Best Resources for Researching Cracker Jack Prizes” from The Art Is Cracker Jack, Etsy is on the list of “best websites to research Cracker Jack prizes”. So I did that and it said “and they cost US$32.55 on average”, which ONCE AGAIN includes stuff that isn’t Cracker Jack prizes.

Instead I went onto the Cracker Jack Collectors Association forum and found this post which said a piece goes for US$2 each.

Pin-back Button

The wiki page doesn’t say what kind of pin-back button, or how it even relates to advertising, but Etsy says “US$5.66 on average”, and I’m going with it.

Tazos

US$14.49 on average according to Etsy but it’s actually more like $5 if you ignore the collections.

Avon

Don’t really know why people would collect stuff from a multi-level marketing company, but it’s US$21.18 on average from Etsy.

Campbell’s Soup

This is also kinda broad, there’s lots of products from Campbell’s Soup. But this pack of 10 goes for US$24.30 on Amazon which is $2.43 each.

Coca-Cola

Like $3 I think.

Disney Pins

According to Wikipedia, “pins are available for a limited time; the base price for a pin is US$9.99.”[2] But this is for when you initially buy them, apparently they can be resold for up to US$2,000. I, however, will ignore that fact.

Harley-Davidson

According to howmuchisit.org “the costs, brand new, can be anywhere from as little as $7,000 to more than $41,000 MSRP.”[3] We are just going to take the median from the table they provide, which is US$17,200.

Ronson Lighters

US$43.69 (Nice) on average from Etsy.

Can you tell I’m already getting tired of this?

Here’s an idea to make this more fun: take a shot every time I say “Etsy” or “Amazon”. Disclaimer: I take no responsibility if you actually do it and I won’t be paying for your medical expenses.

Zippo Lighters

US$53.02 on average from Etsy.

Other brands like “John Deere”, “Maytag”, “McDonalds”, and “Luxury Goods” are too broad, so we will skip them.

Books, magazines, and paper

Absolut Vodka Ads

I have no idea why this isn’t part of the previous section. And I have no idea how to get information on this, because all the marketplaces are filled with art, which you could technically count as ads but they’re not make by the company and… fuck it, I’m counting it.

US$37.95 on average from Etsy

Got Milk? Ads

US$86.35 on average from Etsy.

Globes

US$60.57 on average from Etsy.

Roadmaps

This was kinda hard to search for because it kept getting mixed up with business roadmaps. So hard in fact that I couldn’t find anything. However, the bullet point in the page just links to “Map”, so searching for “World Maps” returns US$59.97 on average from Etsy.

Children’s Literature

“The Very Hungry Caterpillar” goes for US$10.10 on Amazon. And as far as I’m concerned Carle’s masterpiece is the only book worth collecting.

DC Reprints

US$85.69 (Nice) on average from Etsy.

Marvel Reprints

US$59.10 on average from Etsy.

Manga

I don’t know what kinda of manga Wikipedia is referring to but a “Shonen Jump” subscription is $1.99 a month from VIZ.

Tarot Cards

US$9.88 on average from Etsy.

Postcards

US$9.37 on average from Etsy.

Baseball Cards

From priceguide.cards it looks like they can go anywhere from $10 to $2,000 and according to “Have Baseball Card Values Risen in 20 Years? Actually” from The Motley Fool some of them have in fact been rising. They don't provide an average price anywhere, but skimming through their tables I'm going to eyeball it and say $30.

Basketball Cards, et al

Honestly, it’s probably around the same as baseball cards. Same with all the other sports cards, so we are going to skip them. Sorry if you’re a basketball card connoisseur and understand the differences between all these, but I don’t care and I’m tired.

The next section is “ephemera”, which is transitory written and printed matter not intended to be retained or preserved. And since it’s not intended to be “retained or preserved”, collecting them goes against the laws of quantum dynamics so the entire section is disqualified.

At this point you may be wondering why I’m even doing this, if I’m not even going to bother doing it correctly. That’s a good question.

Music

CDs

With a lot of these more broad items, I think I can get away with specifying the collections myself. So I hereby declare the “CDs” collection to be a collection of Radiohead albums circa 2016.

And wow! Look at this! There’s only one Radiohead album from 2016, “A Moon Shaped Pool”, which goes for US$17 on Amazon! How convenient that we don’t need to get an average!

8-Track Tapes

These seem to go for around US$5 according to “The Value of Old 8-Track Tapes: How to Price Vintage 8-Tracks” from Kick Node.

Gramophone Records

The vinyl for “A Moon Shaped Pool” is US$24.93 on Amazon.

Jukeboxes

As of the time of me writing this, there is only one jukebox on Amazon that is not out of stock, which goes for US$1,295.95.

Cassette Tapes

According to Quora question “What is the value of cassette tapes?”, “the vast majority of tapes that was mass-produced are worthless” and “go for 4 or 5 dollars at least”.

We’re going with US$5.

Analog Synthesizers

musiccritic.com’s “10 Best Synthesizers in 2020 Buying Guide” has the “Korg, 27-Key Sound Module” as number one, which is US$142 on Amazon.

Tube Amplifiers

The 8 best budget valve amplifiers and how to avoid getting ripped off” has amplifiers that go from a few hundred pounds to a thousand pounds. I decided to go with the coolest looking one, the “Cayin Audio A-55T” which is the most expensive at £1,460 or US$1,915.75.

Vintage Guitars

A forum thread ““Vintage” guitars - worth the cash?” in Harmony Central, has users stating that they can go for $1,500 - $2,000. As usual, we use the bigger number.

Sports

Golf

This is the only sport in the sport section. Just golf.

What about golf? Which parts of Golf? What do people collect? I have no idea, so I’m going to make a guess.

According to Statista, the average price of a golf course (in 2017) is US$31 million.

Technology

In the xkcd comic, Cueball states that they will look for “a Maytag dryer”. However, the reference for “Maytag” in the Wikipedia page goes to the Maytag Collectors Club, which mainly collects Maytag washers, not dryers.

Since the validity of the comic has now gone down the drain (or washer?), I believe it is okay for me to half-ass the rest of this (more than I already have). So from now on, I’m just going to pick and choose things that look interesting to me.

Automobilia

One time while watching the ending ceremony of a Formula 1 race, I saw a guy go into the Mercedes pit-box and try to take a front wing. Unfortunately, crew from another team (I forgot which) stopped the man. If he had taken it this would have counted as automobilia, but I’m going to pretend that it does anyway.

According to “How Much Formula 1 Car Cost in 2018 (Engine Parts)”, a front wing costs up to $300,000.

Watches

My Apple Watch cost AU$600 which is US$396.28. Yes, I know this probably isn’t what watch collectors collect, but who cares.

Computers

My computer costs around AU$3,000 or US$1,981.42.

Televisions (especially CRTs)

I once found a CRT online for $50.

Weapons

“A railgun is a device, typically designed as a weapon, that uses electromagnetic force to launch high velocity projectiles. The projectile normally does not contain explosives, instead relying on the projectile’s high speed and kinetic energy to inflict damage.”[4]

And according to “Is US Navy Railgun Electromagnetic Cannon Cost Too Expensive? Despite Drawbacks, Officials Tout New Weapon”, they cost $50,000.

Toys, Games, And Dolls

Collectible Card Games

When I was a child, I used to make up my own Pokèmon and create cards of them to play with my actual Pokèmon cards. I also remember making one very overpowered and trying to sell it to my friend for $500.

He did not buy it, and instead made an even more overpowered one.

Rubber Duck

I find people who collect rubber ducks to be weirdos. I’m not doing this one.

Video Games

This is probably the only accurate item in this entire post. That’s because I have first hand experience with it.

According to SteamDB, I have 678 games on Steam, with an average price of US$16.95. Now 678 isn’t as big as most hardcore collectors, but it’s still a lot more than most people, so I think it’s pretty accurate.

That’s all the ones I care about, so here’s them all in a table:

Name Price (In USD)
Antique advertising $76.05
Matchbooks $7.19
Matchboxes $7.19
Radio premiums $80
Bazooka Joe Comics $0.05
Crater Critters $23.14
Cracker Jack prizes $2
Pin-back buttons $5.66
Tazos $5
Avon $21.18
Campbell’s Soup $2.43
Coca-Cola $3
Disney pins $9.99
Harley-Davidson $17,200
Ronson lighters $43.69 (Nice)
Zippo lighters $53.02
Absolut Vodka ads $37.95
Got Milk? ads $86.35
Globes $60.57
Roadmaps $59.97
Children’s literature $10.10
DC reprints $85.69 (Nice)
Marvel reprints $59.10
Manga $1.99
Tarot cards $9.88
Postcards $9.37
Baseball cards $30
Basketball cards $30
Football cards $30
Hockey cards $30
Jersey cards $30
CDs $17
8-track tapes $5
Gramophone records $24.93
Jukeboxes $1,295.95
Casette tapes $5
Analog synthesizers $142
Tube amplifiers $1,915.75
Vintage guitars $2,000
Golf $31,000,000
Automobilia $300,000
Watches $396.28
Computers $1,981.42
Televisions (CRTs) $50
Weapons $50,000
Collectible card games $500
Rubber duck Null
Video games $16.95

This brings us to a total of $31,376,460.84 + $43.69 (Nice) + $85.69 (Nice) + Null (USD). I said before that we could extrapolate the rest of the list from this, so since this is probably only ~1/4 of it all, we’ll just multiply it by 4.

This gets us $125,505,843.36 + (4 x $43.69 (Nice)) + (4 x $85.69 (Nice)) + 4 x Null (USD).

However, I’d rather have a whole number. So before we leave, let’s just find how how much a “Nice” and “Null” is worth.

“Nice” is easy. The town of Nice (pronounced: /niːs/) is the seventh most populous urban area in France and has a GDP of 47.7 billion[5]. Putting this in the equation will look like:

$125,505,843.36 + (4 x $43.69 (Nice)) + (4 x $85.69 (Nice)) + 4 x Null

= $125,505,843.36 + (4 x ($43.69 x $47,700,000,000)) + (4 x ($85.69 x $47,700,000,000)) + 4 x Null

= $24,685,829,505,843.36 + 4 x Null

Now, what is a “Null”? “In computing, a null pointer or null reference has a value saved for indicating that the pointer or reference does not refer to a valid object.”[6] It was created by Tony Hoare who called it his “billion dollar mistake” that has lead to “innumerable errors, vulnerabilities, and system crashes, which have probably caused a billion dollars of pain and damage in the last forty years.”[7]

A billion dollars seems like a good number. Plugging in 4 billion (4 x Null) gives us $24,689,829,505,843.36 (USD), or ~19 Apples.[8]

Now, as Cueball (the character in the comic) “doesn’t necessarily represent the same character from comic to comic” and “represents a generic everyman“[9], we know Cueball is “the average person”.

In “What Is the Average Income in the U.S.?” from TheStreet, the average yearly income of a US citizen is approximately $48,672. This means it would take ~507,269,673 years for Cueball to be able to buy every item, if they spent all of their yearly income on it.

Meanwhile, it would only Jeff Bezos would take ~315 years with his annual earnings of $78,500,000,000 according to Business Insider. Talk about excessive…

Haha, tricked you! This is actually communist propaganda! It’s time for a revolution! Every man should be able to own an item from every category in Wikipedia’s “List of collectables”! Down with the bourgeoisie!

What, you think I’ve been doing everything in America money because I think it’s better or something? NO! I need to pander to my American audience to build up trust before I tear it all down.

Vote Bernie.


[1]: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Crater_Critters

[2]: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Disney_pin_trading

[3]: https://www.howmuchisit.org/harley-davidson-cost

[4]: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Railgun

[5]: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nice

[6]: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Null_pointer

[7]: https://www.infoq.com/presentations/Null-References-The-Billion-Dollar-Mistake-Tony-Hoare/

[8]: https://www.investopedia.com/news/apple-now-bigger-these-5-things/

[9]: https://www.explainxkcd.com/wiki/index.php/Cueball