Collecting Buzzwords – Peanuts Collecting 101

Watch out for Blarney about the Beagle!

As defined by the dictionary, a buzzword is a word or phrase, often sounding authoritative or technical, that is a vogue term in a particular field. The collecting world is filled with “buzzwords” to entice buyers. Old and used items are covered an aura of mystique and significance. New items foretell a future filled with riches. Finding your way out of the mirrored maze of showmanship and back into reality can be tricky. Like all buzzwords, they can become overused and meaningless when used incorrectly.

A seller using buzzwords isn’t a charlatan, but a seller of goods. After all, it’s their purpose to make money. What buyers need to determine is how genuine the seller’s pitch is. Many sellers do not have a vast knowledge of Peanuts memorabilia. They may jump to conclusions or be mislead by the facts, such as dates. Doing research is your best tool for selling and buying Peanuts memorabilia.

Buzzwords are red flags to add to your mental research checklist. The key is to determine if the buzzword is inflating the price of an item. If a seller thinks a “Rare, Antique Snoopy T-shirt from 1958” is worth $200, but Snoopy is obviously wearing a 1990’s grunge outfit on the shirt, then the seller may be overvaluing an item. You may be able to talk the seller down with factual information, or pass on the item. Items with buzzwords are not always over-valued, but you should determine if you would still buy an item if it wasn’t “rare” or “limited edition”. Buying Peanuts collectibles should be about enjoying a piece, not buzzwords.

Collecting Buzzwords

Snoopy may be old, but he’s no Antique!

Antique

What it means to the seller: Old and valuable
What it means to the collector: Over-valued and misunderstood

Antiques are over one-hundred years old. Peanuts was created in 1950. The first “collectibles” weren’t produced until 1952. It’s going to be a long time before any Peanuts items will be true antiques. Mid-century, vintage and retro are better words for describing Peanuts collectibles.

Collectible

What it means to the seller: Every Peanuts Collector should have this
What it means to the collector: Nothing

Is it collectible? Perhaps. You as a buyer determine if an item is collectible, not the seller. Just because other Peanuts collectors are buying it, doesn’t mean you have to. If it’s not your style, don’t collect it!

Custom items narrow down the field of potential buyers

Custom

What it means to the seller: Unique and personal
What it means to the collector: Sentimental and narrowed resell

Items that are customized may not be as valuable down the road. Does Sarah really want a Christmas ornament on her tree for an unknown person named “George”? While some customizations might make an item something special to one person, it may turn off other collectors.

Also, custom items may mean crafts or other non-licensed items. Make sure you buy these items at a reasonable price for what they are.

Limited Edition

What it means to the seller: Instant Collector Item
What it means to the collector: Nothing

How limited of an edition is it? One of ten? One of ten thousand? The more items made, the less “limited” that edition was. Knowing the history of an item and why it’s a limited edition is more important. Lower production numbers, under two hundred fifty, may mean the item is indeed rare and valuable. It may also mean there wasn’t a huge market for the particular item. Was production limited to ten thousand to increase desire among a large group of collectors, or because that’s the upper limit of how many the manufacturer could sell? If there isn’t an edition number, then it’s purely for marketing to collectors and is best ignored.

One-of-a-Kind

What it means to the seller: Incredibly difficult to find
What it means to the collector: A quick google search didn’t turn up any results

Is it a mass-produced item? Then it may not be a true one-of-a-kind. Is it a craft? Then it’s not as collectible in the aftermarket. Is it an item personally signed or drawn by Charles Schulz? Bingo! We have a one-of-a-kind collectible! Be sure to authenticate any piece signed by Charles Schulz and don’t take it at face value. Be smart! There are many fakes on the market.

Finding a true “Rare Gem” is difficult

Rare

What it means to the seller: Incredibly difficult to find
What it means to the collector: A quick google search didn’t turn up any results

Who determined the rarity of this piece? In this case, the seller. Look at the seller. Are they a long time Peanuts collector with enough experience to determine how saturated the market is with that particular item? If not, then just ignore that word and make the determination of its value for yourself. Even if an item is rare, that doesn’t necessarily lead to it being extremely valuable. When the seller adds additional qualifiers to rare, such as “extremely” and “super”, it’s a good sign of marketing rather than knowledge.

Sample

What it means to the seller: Limited, One-of-a-kind, pre-production item
What it means to the collector: More research needed

Samples are generally pre-production pieces not offered for sale to the general public. Some places destroy samples, but sometimes they get out into the market. When looking at Samples, I like to determine how easy it is to see that it’s a sample. Is it just a sticker than anyone could have made? Does it look like a genuine pre-production piece? Is it an artist proof, a manufacturing sample, or just a sample sent to potential corporate buyers? Samples are tricky to authenticate without good documentation. If paying a premium, be sure any future claim of the Sample’s rarity can be backed up.

Charles Schulz did not sign the front of my autograph book.

Signed

What it means to the seller: Signed items are always worth more
What it means to the collector: More research needed

Charles Schulz was an artist whose work was important to him. His signature appears on many mass-produced items, which does not add to the value of the item. Charles Schulz personally signed pieces will have more value, but should be closely inspected for authenticity. Pieces signed by Peanuts voice actors, Schulz family members, etc. will appeal to some collectors, but will not have the same collectible value as a genuine Charles Schulz.

More Examples

Our weekly feature, Snoopy Sanity Checks, is filled with great examples of buzzword usage. Read through specific examples of how buzzwords and assumed information can create a misleading online ad for Peanuts collectibles. For more information on Peanuts, check out our Collecting Resources page.

Have your own buzzword to share? Send your suggestions to Caren at info@collectpeanuts.com. Thanks!

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