Trains and boats and planes. Thimbles, smurfs and buttons. Swords, bayonets, and medals.
We have one of Brisbane’s biggest ranges of small collectibles to explore.
Lose yourself in our world and find that special missing piece.

retro movie posters
Movie posters to give your interior that retro feel.

Collectable vs Collectible

Let’s get the pedantry out of the way first though. Is it “collectable” or “collectible”?

While many use or see these terms as interchangeable our more erudite colleagues tell us there is indeed a difference.

  • “Collectable” describes items able to be collected.
  • “Collectible” describes items considered worthy of collecting by enthusiasts. Usually, its value is now far more than what it was originally sold for.
Mickey Mouse Figurine
Cute Mickey Mouse figurine. Highly collectible!


So rent or keys are collectable (able to be picked up), whereas that decorative spoon from Mount Isa (!!!) or the Mickey Mouse bust is collectible.

It’s as simple as that. What we specialise in are collectibles.

gilt enamel ware
Gilt and enamelware buckle and button set from the turn of the century.

What makes something collectible?

Anything can be collectible as long as someone has an interest or passion in growing a collection of that particular item. Most collectors will tell you though that the items they collect have a special significance, have unique traits, or may be rare or scarce.

Coins are a perfect example and probably something we might all have dabbled in as kids. Coins are perfect as collectibles as their accessibility, variety and wide range of collectibility make it easy to start and quickly grow a collection. Think 5 cent pieces from every year they have been issued. You start with a few and then you hunt down the coins from the years you are missing. Then you may broaden your collection to other denominations. And of course, some years will be harder to find than others.

From there your passion, or obsession, can quickly grow, and next thing you know you are hunting down a 2007 ‘double head’ five-cent coin or a 2010 ‘upset’ 50 cent coin.

vintage toys
A vintage toy to suit every child!


Nostalgia plays a big part in what can make something collectible. Nostalgia can fuel demand for specific items like old toys or antique dishes, trading cards, and more.


In the end, it all comes down to passion and it is the collectors that put a value on something collectible.

vintage mixmaster
Vintage mixmaster. They don’t make them like this anymore!

What collectibles will increase in value?

History is great at showing us what collectibles will increase in value. As items are discontinued or start to disappear (through wear or breakages and are discarded) their value will start to increase if enough people deem those items collectible.

Coins we have already discussed but there are many items that, upon initial release, may not have seemed like a good investment but have proven many skeptics wrong. Some of these include:

  • Stamps
  • Toys
  • Comic books
  • Dolls
  • Action figures
  • Board games
  • Trading cards
  • Movie merchandise (eg Star Wars)
  • Books
  • Sports memorabilia
  • Watches
  • Sneakers
  • Hot Wheels cars
  • Maps
  • Vinyl records
vintage typewriter
Get back to basics with a lovely vintage typewriter in working condition!


Even cereal boxes have been deemed collectible and big money is often paid for vintage specimens featuring celebrities, popular cartoon characters, or in-the-box prizes.

However, collectors always face the prospect that what seems desirable today may not be in demand tomorrow. Like fashion, there can be trends in collectibles and what is hot one year may not be so hot the following year.

Some would also argue that some of the weirder collectibles lack any kind of value, either today or in the future!

retro camera
Retro folding camera – one of many that come in and out of our shop.

What are some weird collectibles?

There really are no limits to what people may consider a collectible. Collecting is a very personal pursuit and while some may dream of one day cashing in their collections to retire on, many people are collectors purely as a hobby.

They collect things, not to make a future windfall, but to satisfy their own desire to find that one piece missing or grow their collection just a little bit more. If you ask though, many will wonder whether their hobby is a passion or an obsession.

Here is just a small sample of unusual items that have made it on to collector’s lists:

  • Soap bars
  • Back scratchers
  • Toenail clippings (don’t ask us!!!)
  • Umbrella cover sleeves
  • Coca-Cola cans

There’s a bigger list here if you are interested in what makes some collectors tick.

modern globe
Lovely stainless steel modern globe.

What collectibles are trending in 2021?

As news stories about massive value gains on some collectibles make the media, traditional collectors are also making way for a new breed of collectors – the investor. Some are saying that 1 in 6 investors are now also adding collectibles to their investment options.

These investor collectors are looking for high-value goods with increasing rarity or high demand and very limited supply.

Items such as whisky, jade and porcelain, vintage handbags, contemporary art, cars, and even taxidermy have made it on to investor’s lists.

The issue with these types of collectibles is their usual high cost and relative rarity. But along with that initial risk comes the promise of higher returns. Some luxury handbags for instance have seen an increase in value over the last 10 years of 153% for Hermes Birkins and 93% for Chanel’s Medium Flap bag. Not a bad return.

The trick with any collectible is to know what you are looking for, and importantly, know what you are looking at when on the hunt.

gilt enamel ware
Gilt and enamelware buckle and button set from the turn of the century.

What should I collect?

That is a question only you can answer. Here at Empire Revival, our advice would be to go with your gut. What are you passionate about? What makes you unique? While investors are in the market for collectibles, we find more fun and joy in hunting down collectibles we are passionate about. If you are not into Pokémon cards, don’t start collecting them. If you have no room for taxidermy… maybe steer clear of that moose head.

If you want to invest, then you will need to do your own research as to what items you should be investing in… but for us it’s about items that we enjoy handling, being around, researching, and talking about. It’s what makes it a passion rather than a job.

What collectibles can you find at Brisbane’s Empire Revival?

Our merchants are constantly bringing new stock to the floor at Empire Revival. For a large range of Brisbane collectibles, you must pay us a visit. We have over 50 merchants spread over 1,000m². Rummage through the space and you are bound to find a collectible to add to your collection

Make a trip soon to discover something amazing at Empire Revival.