Collector's Corner: Hello Kitty
By Michele Alice
The pajamas, books, and T-shirts I understand, but Hello Kitty bowling balls, bicycle tires, and Fender Stratocasters? Add the estimated 50,000 to 100,000+ other items bearing the Hello Kitty logo that have been marketed in the US alone, and the idea of collecting the cute feline can be overwhelming.
Since Hello Kitty's "birth" in 1974, the brand has become a worldwide marketing phenomenon, appealing not just to children, but to adults as well. Sanrio, the Japanese company that owns Hello Kitty, offers a line of designer merchandise just for grownups. There are cashmere sweaters, perfumes, and diamond watches and jewelry among the sundry goods offered online and at boutiques around the globe. A diamond ring and a pair of diamond earrings designed by Kimora Lee Simmons will cost you $1950 and $2150 respectively, while watches bearing the feline's visage can run from $995 to $3450, and more.
Are you still using the family SUV to drive to the mall to shop at Momoberry, the Sanrio boutique, or do you have a Hello-Kitty special edition Daihatsu? And after you've made your selections, do you pay for your purchases with Hello Kitty checks or Hello Kitty debit or credit cards?
Is your bathroom equipped with the latest in Hello Kitty automatic electronic toilet paper dispensing technology? For $220!?!
Want even more Hello Kitty? You can spend time with like-minded felinophiles at KittyCon 2008 (November 1-2) in Raleigh, North Carolina, while perusing the smorgasbord of vendor displays.
So, with the ocean of merchandise available online and off, which Hello Kitty items are collectible?
First, if you're planning on using an item, buy what YOU like. Enjoy it. Don't worry about what someone else might think of it five, ten, or twenty years down the road.
On the other hand, if you're thinking "investment," there are a number of factors that could influence the future price of an item in the secondary market:
Relative rarity - is it a limited edition or one-of-a-kind? Was it an early or first issue that had a short run? Have time and wear-and-tear made it rare? Is it so expensive that not many have sold or will sell?
Intrinsic value - is it composed of precious or semi-precious materials, such as diamonds and gold, that hold or increase in value over time?
Condition - is it clean? Is it without flaws? Does it retain its original tags and packaging?
Remember that there are no guarantees in the collectibles markets, but the more you know about your field, the more likely you are to avoid its pitfalls. With that in mind, the following resources should be of interest:
"Hello Kitty, Hello Everything: 25 Years of Fun," by Marie Moss
"Hello Kitty: The Remarkable Story of Sanrio and the Billion Dollar Feline Phenomenon," by Ken Belson, Brian Bremner
Fender Hello Kitty
Hello Kitty Hell
"One Man's Life with Cute Overload." Hilarious!
"Kitty fans unite!" All about the planned 2008 Raleigh, NC convention.
Official Website, Home of Hello Kitty. Descriptions of characters in Hello Kitty universe, design history, games, news, FAQ's, more.
About the author:
Michele Alice is EcommerceBytes Update Contributing Editor. Michele is a freelance writer in the Berkshire mountains of Massachusetts. She collects books, science fiction memorabilia and more! Email her at makalice @ adelphia.net eBay ID: Malice9
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