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Style Guides as collectibles

moved from User_talk:Scarecroe
Hi Scott: Internal documents are probably the most collectible items a Muppet fan could ever find. I don't know what you mean by saying that they are collectible only as an afterthought; they are sold on ebay, and similar items such as correspondence between Henson Associates and contractors are certainly considered collectibles on Muppet Central. Is there some consensus as to what constitutes a collectible of which I am not aware? -- User:Tclark1428 15:11, November 16, 2009

I agree they are indeed Collectibles, but I think what Scott is suggesting (and I agree), is that they become collectible only after their primary function is over. The category is to house a list of items that were created specifically for the collecting market, it is created as a Collectible, rather then becoming a collectible. Everything in the merchandise categories are collectibles, but they were first articles of clothing, children's toys, etc. Does that help clarify the category? -- Nate (talk) 20:23, November 16, 2009 (UTC)
Actually, no, that does not help to clarify. Collectibles that are made to be collected are often common and not terribly valuable. While monetary value does not drive my own collecting interests, it does for many, and the rarer and costlier an item, the more collectible it is. Document dealers sell original contracts signed by Henson and others for thousands of dollars, and I'm sure that these were never meant to reach the collector's market. However, if there is a consensus that a "collectible" is something that was made specifically to be collected, then I defer to that consensus. To verify that the consensus exists, I will bring this up on the Special:Community page. Furthermore, I don't think that the Style Guides become collectible only after their function is over. A 2005 Muppet style guide recently sold for over $300 on Ebay, and that document is almost certainly still in use. The 2001 Sesame Street Drawing and Style Guides are almost impossible to find, and many would pay good money to get copies, and these documents are still in use.— Tom (talk) 20:53, November 16, 2009 (UTC)
Monetary value of an item should not be a basis of how it is categorized here. Every single item in the merchandise pages are collectible, many items not categorized there are as well. Muppet collectors collect them. Style Guides were not created as merchandise. There were created to serve companies in the creating of merchandise. Regardless of whether that be a plush animal, music box, storybook, or toothbrush holder. Yes Style Guides are "collectible" now, but they were never marketed as a collectible, nor marketed as merchandise. They were for in-house use. It's no different then say if one of the Henson's companies Emmy Awards had made its way into the private collecting sector. It would then become a collectible, but it was never intended to be. The collectibles category is for Merchandise that was created solely for the collector's market. -- Nate (talk) 21:17, November 16, 2009 (UTC)
Like I said, if that is the consensus, then I accept it, but thus far I've only heard from you and Scott. Furthermore, we'd better do some weeding of the collectibles category, because not all of the items listed fit your criteria: the primary function of postage stamps is to pay postage; they are collectible only because a tradition of collecting them exists. A similar argument goes for the photo replicas, which were created for use in photo shoots. Finally, providing a consensus exists or can be agreed upon, could we place a note on the Muppet Collectibles page explaining what a collectible is?— Tom (talk) 21:30, November 16, 2009 (UTC)
As a "Merchandise" category, I'd agree with Nate and Scott that this was meant to house items intentionally created purely to be collected, not every item that *can* or has been collected (Nate, by the way, created this category). It's also not meant to be a guide to monetary value or what items individual Muppet fans or connoisseurs may seek out to collect (you're certainly right as far as market price, of course, the same distinction exists, say, between actual vintage animation production cels and drawings and the hordes of "collectible sericels" which flooded the market in the 90s, either original pieces or outright recreations of actual scenes). This is basically a place to put items, like Jim Henson Bust, which aren't meant to be played with, but just collected and displayed (as such, many of these are more decorative than worth much in financial value) and which in many cases, like the bust, have no other category to house them, so we use the label "Muppet Collectibles," which is accurate enough as far as a grouping (similarly, Gonzo photo puppet replica was moved out of the less accurate Category:Muppet Plush).
As a subcat of merchandise, that's its function, rather than including scripts and style guides and postage stamps (I'd agree those should go as well, unless it was something specifically made to be a collectible or special item, like the Love Stamp first day covers with Rowlf, which had no practical use and clearly apply to the specific realm of stamp collecting). It's basically more to due with labeling than financial value or a "Muppet Collector's Guide," which would be worthwhile but outside our scope. I believe Muppet Central had some pages of that sort, and in fact you're free to create such a list on your own namespace if you like, it just wouldn't work as an article on the Wiki proper. Otherwise, it becomes subjective as well as a matter of watching Ebay auctions and all that sort of thing, which isn't our purpose here (especially since it's inappropriate within the articles to note how much something is fetching on Ebay or Hake's or what have you, so in many cases the category tag would be confusing otherwise, and again it could apply to tons of things, including The Muppets original comic strips which surface and often fetch high prices). I'm glad you brought the subject up, though, Tom, since this is clearly one of those areas where a category definition is needed; not everyone pays attention to them of course, but it helps to steer that person if you have a text explanation of purpose and scope to point to (which can still be discussed if needed) rather than it being left entirely to the individual editor's interpretation, as has happened here (especially with categories that aren't as heavily used or used mainly by two or three people prior, which usually accounts for inconsistencies when other people want to use the tag but do so in a different manner). Hopefully Danny can weigh in on this as well (checking through links, at one point he was slightly confused as well, and a redundant "Category:Muppet Art Collectibles" was merged in this February). -- Andrew Leal (talk) 21:39, November 16, 2009 (UTC)
The photo replicas are created as merchandise. Those articles aren't about the professional poser puppets used by John Barrett and the like. Postage stamps could go either way. The old stuff I would agree with you on as their primary creation was for the purpose of sending letters. However, the post office has made it clear in recent years that certain series of stamps are indeed collectibles as evidenced by promotion and the inclusion of framing and even events for some sets. The recent Muppet stamps certainly qualify. And yes, I agree that a description for the category would help. —Scott (talk) 21:44, November 16, 2009 (UTC)
OK, I defer to the majority, and after further consideration, I think that all postage stamps should be left in. Here's why: the folks at the USPS (and at other POs as well) know that a collector's market exists for postage stamps, so they have more stamps printed than could sanely be expected to be used as postage. Thus, I reverse myself: postage stamps are printed in part for the benefit of collectors, and in part as utilitarian labels to pre-pay postage. In fact, more and more window clerks look at customers strangely if they ask to pay for, say, a priority mail package, with stamps. They'd rather just print the postage label. So, no, please don't remove the stamps, and yes, an explanation of what a collectible is would be helpful.— Tom (talk) 22:07, November 16, 2009 (UTC)

Hi, I'll clarify as much as I can. We used to have a "Misc. Merchandise" subcategory, and a little while ago I tried to split that up into more descriptive and helpful categories.

When we'd split everything else out, we were left with a type of object that's hard to describe -- stuff that's primarily meant for display, like figurines, music boxes, snowglobes and trinket boxes. The best words that I can come up with to describe them are knickknacks, chotchkes, or objets -- but neither of those make good category names. So we went for "Collectibles" as the best we could come up with.

So I totally agree that it's not a perfect name -- sort of misleading, not very descriptive, and can lead to a reasonable question about what a collectible is. For me, the question is: Can we come up with a better name for a category that's mostly porcelain trinkets? -- Danny@fandom (talk) 22:34, November 16, 2009 (UTC)

Right. In marketing, "collectible" is code for "valuable" where using "valuable" would be fraudulent.— Tom (talk) 23:43, November 16, 2009 (UTC)
Yup. And in this case, we're using "collectible" as a code for "there is no rational reason to own this object except to have it as part of a collection of similar objects."
So I'd rather not get into the discussion of what's collectible and what's not -- for a Muppet collector, anything is "collectible", including every item described on this wiki, as well as personal mementos, magazine clippings and things you dug out of the dumpster behind the Henson townhouse. So if we go into the question of what's "collectible", then this category houses everything on the wiki.
But -- now that we're talking about it, it strikes me that a possible definition for this category is "Consumer products designed primarily for display." That covers almost everything here -- photo posers, trinket boxes, figurines, busts, snowglobes, etc.
The one thing it doesn't cover is the stamps. People collect them, but they're designed to be used, and the collection is an important but secondary use. So my suggestions are -- #1. Post that definition on the category page to clarify. #2. Rename the category if we can think of a simpler name for it; otherwise leave it the way it is. #3. Think of a better category for the postage stamps; if we can't, then leave them where they are until we think of something. What do other folks think? -- Danny@fandom (talk) 17:07, November 17, 2009 (UTC)
I think your definition is fine. Maybe "Consumer products that are designed primarily for display, or for which display is an important secondary purpose." I hope I won't get beat up again over clunkiness, after all, this is just a definition, not a heading destined for widespread use :)— Tom (talk) 02:01, November 20, 2009 (UTC)
I think "designed primarily for display" is fine; it covers everything except the stamps. I don't know what to do with the stamps... I would love to put them in another category. How about Paper Products? -- Danny@fandom (talk) 03:19, November 20, 2009 (UTC)
No, "Paper Products" is all wrong. Why, for the most part books are made out of paper, too, but that fact is just incidental. Are you worried again about my clunkiness? Sigh...:) It's only a description of a category. Besides, stamp collections are for display; people look at their own, look at those of others, and even exhibit them competitively at Stamp Shows.— Tom (talk) 03:43, November 20, 2009 (UTC)
Well, I'm thinking that stamps go with stationery, greeting cards and postcards, all of which are in Paper Products. Stickers are also in Paper Products. Yes, people have stamp collections, but stamps also have an actual function. -- Danny@fandom (talk) 04:03, November 20, 2009 (UTC)

Of course, I defer to your experience, but stamp collecting is a major hobby, while stationery collecting is not. Unused stamps are collected more widely than used ones, so stamps that will never fulfill their primary function go in albums to look at. Couldn't stamps be in both categories, muck like some books are in one major category and another minor one, like Muppet Books and International Muppet Books?— Tom (talk) 05:06, November 20, 2009 (UTC)

I don't want to argue about it. The stamps were in this category before; they can stay here. -- Danny@fandom (talk) 05:21, November 20, 2009 (UTC)

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