Perhaps some of you saw the article in The Hays Daily News about a week ago concerning a sale of the very first issue of the "Superman" comic book. It sold for more than $300,000. It brought back memories of a phone call I received a few years ago from a local businessman.

He asked me to come to his house and do a walk-through, giving him verbal approximations for the remaining antiques and collectibles in his home.

While I was completing that assignment a few days later, I asked him why he had made the earlier reference to the "remaining" antiques and collectibles at his home. The sad look that came to his face told me there was some deep disappointment associated with something related to that statement.

He shared with me that about a year earlier, he sold many of the contents from the home of his deceased parents. What he said really distressed him was his lack of knowledge at that time concerning one specific collectible that had sold -- a copy of the first issue of "Superman." He added it was in excellent condition and sold for $5.

It is true that many old things that tend to accumulate in a home through the years have little current value and much of it could be called junk. However, not knowing which items are junk and which items are "sleepers" that have considerable value to certain collectors can be very costly to the individual, as in the above situation.

We have many people in our rural area (especially senior citizens) who are really struggling to make ends meet. Imagine the financial relief a struggling individual in our rural area could experience from realizing the real value of a sleeper collectible such as the above-mentioned item.

The real tragedy, in my opinion, is that sometimes very valuable sleeper items pass out of homes without the original owner ever knowing what they have lost.

Bottom-line thought: If you think that you or a loved one might have one or more antiques or collectibles that could have significant monetary value, contact someone who is knowledgeable and trustworthy, and find out.

Marvin Mann, Plainville, is an accredited member of the International Society of Appraisers. Send questions to him in care of The Hays Daily News, P.O. Box 857, Hays KS 67601.