Strategies For Buying And Selling Collectibles

Hobbyists, Heirloom Keepers Find Enjoyment, Potential Profit.

Whether you hold onto collectibles for fun or enter the world of buying and selling, changes are afoot. Online stores such as eBay make it easier to determine the value and sell trendy objects such as vintage toys, small antique furniture or art. Traditional collectibles such as Hummel figurines and stamps are still out there but not as popular.

Changing Definition Of Collectibles

The idea of collecting things has a very different definition then it did in the past, says Christine Gunderson, Chief Operating Officer of Bedknobs & Broomsticks Estate Sales in Seattle. Hummel figurines, stamps, signed and numbered various plate collections were very popular and promised to hold their value 20 to 30 years ago. People still enjoy them, but they don’t have the value they once did and are not as popular for collectors to buy. There are still curios on the market such as Soviet rings and World War II memorabilia, but the emphasis is changing.

“Today, people collect things for enjoyment more than any potential monetary value that might accrue later,” Gunderson says.

Valuables In Today’s Homes

Valuables people have in their homes are things they might not even know they have or realize they are valuable,collectibles she says. Many people collect items they don’t even know hold value, such as vintage Pyrex bowl sets. Gunderson says bowl sets in perfect condition fetch between $100 and $400 depending on style and collections.

Some people collect items for sentimental value and as heirlooms for their children. Others collect for fun, or because they like particular items, like those who buy and sell baseball cards. Other favorite collectibles these days include old farmhouse style items, vintage linens, jadeite dishes, vintage toys, kitschy 1950s porcelain figurines, small antique furniture and authentic, signed art.

“Collecting now days is something that varies based on what is popular and trendy,” she says. “Most people collect things now because they like them, knowing that they will not get the value out of them again. The only things that maintain their value are art, gold, diamonds, and silver.”

Selling Strategies

Gunderson advises clients looking to sell stamp collections, fine china or other valuables for a good amount of money to research on eBay and other online sites to educate themselves about what price to set.

“When looking to find a price and value for your items, one thing to remember is people can ask whatever they want for a particular item and a lot of time price it emotionally because it means a lot to them or has been in their family for a long time,” Gunderson says. “If you are using eBay, there is a filter that you can pick that will only display the sold items, and this will give you a much better idea of what items are selling for.”

Free Evaluation

Another way to get an assessment of your items is to reach out to a local estate sale company, antique dealer, or antique shop. These businesses should be willing to give you a free evaluation of your collectibles. If you can take smaller items to your local antique shop, this could be a good option because antique dealers should have a good idea about the value of collectibles.

“For instance, we have clients call us all the time and describe what they have or provide photos. We then research for them to see what we feel they could sell them for. If they have a houseful of stuff they want to sell and are downsizing, we come out to them; again free of charge to evaluate if an estate sale is a right step for them,” Gunderson says. “Once our clients or we research, they are usually surprised at the actual value of their items.”

People are understandably disappointed to find out the things they collected are not as valuable as they once thought, so her advice is for people to enjoy what they have and not collect for monetary value. Antique furniture also falls under the same category as collectibles, small pieces of furniture always sell, but not for what people feel they are worth.

“We find that most of our clients value their collections and antiques through a lens of love or sentimental value,” she says. “This, of course, is why they started collecting it in the first place, and why we typically tell people to keep these things or pass them down to a family member because they won’t get the value they want or replace the sentimental value it holds.”

Check Out Flea Markets

One person’s trash is another person’s treasure. Those looking to make money off collectibles should check out the flea market, estate sales, and second-hand stores. Sometimes you will encounter valuable collectible items at low prices.

More Selling Points

Several online sites provide pointers to keep in mind for those who want to buy and sell collectibles. They include:

  • Make sure collectibles are authentic. There are lots of fake collectibles on the market. Usually, low prices are a warning sign. Do your research: look for a date or company logo;
  • Know the condition of your collectible. This information will help you determine a sellable value;
  • Timing is important. Is the economy in a downturn? Is it a seller’s market? Do your research. When the economy is good, and people are looking to buy collectibles, that is known as a seller’s market;
  • Advertise items for sale on social media.

Online Selling Sites

Many online stores give seller’s options. Popular sites are:

  • Ebay is hard to beat for a quick sale. eBay allows you to set a fixed price or auction an item;
  • Etsy requires that an item is made before 1997. Items stay listed for four months;
  • Tias is a venue for antiques and collectibles;
  • Ruby Lane requires a seller to post at least ten items at all times. Items must be at least 20 years old and listed for $5 or more;
  • Shopify lets sellers set up their own store and includes a connection to Facebook
  • Instagram and Facebook auctions;
  • Craig’s List;
  • Local buy and sell websites.

Original Post On by Mary Spann

Whether you’re in the business of collecting Hot Wheels or Hummel figures, know that a market exists for selling your collectibles.

Upside of Downsizing helps 50 plus-year-olds simplify their lives by downsizing, and achieve a happy and healthy life balance. Contact:

About Mary Spann

Mary Spann is the founder and president of Upside of Downsizing®. In addition to her 26 years in construction, interior design, and home staging, Mary also holds college degrees in Social Work and Psychology, making her uniquely qualified to assist with the downsizing process, and helping 50 plus-year-olds achieve a happy and healthy life balance. Mary learned the key components of construction and interior design at an early age. Her father was a prominent custom home builder in Minnesota and Texas, and her mother was a successful interior designer and a principal broker.

P.S. We now offer online estate sale auctions! If you have various collectables you want to sell, we can help!