The word became popular after "antique" was more narrowly defined in the 1930s as an object that was more than 100-years old. A linguistic gap then existed to describe valuables that were less than 100 years old. The word "collectible" filled that gap.
According to Michael, there are three types of collectibles. Artistic and historical treasures less than 100 years old make up the first category. A Tiffany lamp is a prime example.
Explains Michael, "Nobody in the field of collecting would look at one of those lamps and consider it anything less than an artistic achievement. It's expected that they will be collected for the next one thousand years, if people are still collecting that long." Tiffany lamps are almost certain to remain valuable after they hit the century mark and technically become antiques.
The second kind of collectibles is something that is mass-produced but that may not have any individual artistic merit. Beanie Babies, Hummel statues and now Pokémon cards fit into this category.
"For most of these products, the makers built as many as they could sell," Michael explains. "Beanie Babies weren't produced to show the world great art. They were made to sell a product to the marketplace."
Sometimes producers of these collectibles will artificially inflate an object's price by producing "limited editions" that will artificially cap the number of objects being sold. This is done for objects such as the Princess Diana commemorative plates advertised in the backs of magazines.
The third type of collectible is an object that gains value because of its associations. A Marilyn Monroe dress became a collectible almost as soon as she took it off; the sequined one she wore while singing "Happy Birthday" to former President John F. Kennedy is even more valuable because of this association.
All collectibles become antiques after they hit the 100-year watershed. But that does not mean that they will be collected.
"Collectibles are a betting game," Michael says. "We know all the baby boomers love Barbie and Mickey Mantle memorabilia, but we don't know if our children and our grandchildren will care about them," says Michael. "In one hundred years, Barbie might be worth less than the plastic she is made of."