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9 Completely Worthless Collectibles

NORMAN ROCKWELL PLATES

There's no one company responsible for the proliferation of these ceramic slices of Americana, which is just one reason they're not worth very much.

Whether they're made by Goebel, The Bradford Exchange, The Danbury Mint or The Knowles/Rockwell Society, the plates all have one thing in common: They're all replicating the work of an artist who died in 1978 and whose illustrations were widely distributed through magazines like the Saturday Evening Post before then. If it's not one of Rockwell's original oil paintings of "The Four Freedoms" it's not exactly a scarce commodity.

EBay's offerings bear this out, as "limited edition" Rockwell plates from the 1980s and 1990s list for 99 cents each - with plates from the 1970s fetching $4 to $6. Though the occasional piece - like a 1975 Lincoln Mint sterling silver Rockwell Plate - will sell for $90 to $132, it usually has more to do with the surface it's on than the image itself. Even a "rare" set of 12 Knowles China "Rediscovered Women" plates fetches only $95... or less than $8 per plate.

In an attempt to vindicate collectors who hold on to Norman Rockwell Mother's Day and Christmas plates from their children's birth years, this article's researchers travelled to the Norman Rockwell Museum in Mendon, Vt., to see how they value the plates. In the museum's foyer was a table stacked high with plates valued at $39.50 - selling for $19.

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