The collectable world

Strangely enough, at the time we conducted a keyword search for items with the attribute collectable or collectible, the bidorbuy search engine returned a page with only about 800 listings.

What, bidorbuy.co.za, South Africa’s largest marketplace and the true treasure trove of collectibles, can only offer a measly eight hundred-odd items?!

Things look a little better when we asked the (by now seriously overworked) bidorbuy search engine to look for the term collectable or collectible in both title and description. The results page revealed about 33,000 listings, most of them, as is to be expected, in the Antiques and collectibles category.

However, this figure is a little misleading, because it includes some obviously not collectable items (like baby blankets), simply because sellers stated in the description (quite rightly, mind you) that they also sell collectables.

Even if we ignore the disclaimer above, the number of thirty thousand-odd collectibles is not very impressive. Not when you talk about a site the size of bidorbuy, with over 540,000 listings. Not when you talk about that strange passion of collecting, the passion that knows no boundaries (after all, people will collect almost anything).

So, why are there not more collectable items on offer on bidorbuy?

Actually, there are.

Just look at stamps, that epitome of collectables. There are currently over 32,000 listings in the bidorbuy stamps category; some for individual stamps, other for whole collections. Or, take a look at another intrinsically collectable category, that of coins and notes: it houses over 12,132 listings.

Thus we come to the solution of the mystery.

Only a handful of all the collectables offered on bidorbuy are given the attribute collectables or collectibles by their seller. Most sellers do not bother to include those terms in neither the title not the description. Probably because in many cases that would amount to tautology: why call an item collectable when it is already listed in a collectibles category (e.g.: collectible cars, collectable books, collectable film figurines, and so on). And besides, the same object can mean different things to different people, making labelling all but impossible. Presented with a listing of a clock or a watch, most of us will only see a device for telling time – but a collector may spot a precious addition to his collection.

The moral of the story being, when you embark on a search for collectables on bidorbuy, the playing field is by its very nature big and broad and at the same time elusive. Your best bet is probably to either type fairly precise keywords in the bidorbuy search box (you may want to use Advanced Search), or to leisurely browse through the categories that are most likely to contain the items you want.

During the month of March, we shall help you by pointing you, from the bidorbuy.co.za home page, to collectable items to be found in Antiques & Collectables, Militaria, Sports Memorabilia and Collectable Toys. Admittedly, that leaves out many collectable items to be found elsewhere, like in antiquarian books, bikes memorabilia, music memorabilia, movies memorabilia, etc.

All of them will have their turn on the bidorbuy home page, of course, within their respective categories. As for stamps and coins – they are so big on bidorbuy that the two of them will share one whole month (soon to come!)