7 Tips to Consider Before Selling a Collection

7 Tips to Consider Before Selling a Collection

Sarah Rae Smith
Sep 7, 2010

More often than not, we collect things because they make us happy or keep memories alive. As we recently shared, I collect some weird things and so do you (impressively so, actually) — but what happens if the time comes when you need to part with your collection for cash? Here's 10 tips to keep in mind before trying to bring home the bacon by selling your long-loved treasures.

Do you have a collection to sell? Contemplated giving it all up in the past? We've been there and know how hard it can be to maintain a collection or even just store it once things get a little large or your living space downsizes. Receiving money that compensates for your love, time and attendance to the collection is always a bonus, so here's a few tips to help it sell it for all you can!

1. Clean It Up! So you dug your collection out of the closet. While most of us will dust things off a little, you'll have the best results by cleaning everything from top to bottom. Dust boxes, use a microfiber towel to remove lint or stray pet fur, try using a Q-tip to get in small spaces even! Google and do some research if you're worried about the surface type you're cleaning so you don't cause any damage, but ensuring your goods are spic and span is a great way to get the price your asking for your things … and sometimes more!

2. Do Some Research Just because you purchased a box of vintage tea kettles at auction for $20 each, doesn't mean they're individually worth that much. Research the items you're looking to sell and the condition they're in to establish a fair price. It's also a good way to ensure you only collect items of value instead of those that don't bring much to the party.

3. Don't Forget Where You Live Often times we see things here in the Midwest that would cost 4 or 5 times the amount on either coast. Vintage furniture or retro goods top that list, so it's always a good idea to not only do some research on setting a good price point, but to consider where you are located. Just because you've seen listings for that same vintage table elsewhere for $2,000, doesn't mean you'll get more than $50 for it. Be prepared to sell your items at the price it will go for locally (or ship them to a friend to sell them in another state or list them on eBay instead).

4. Account For Packaging. Many of the prices you will see represented on the internet and guide books will let you know what condition packaging is in and adjust the prices accordingly. You might have a collection of Hot Wheels from the 70's, but if they're not in boxes, their pricing won't be the same (depending on the car, of course!). If your item has ripped, torn or faded packaging then the same rules apply. You could even be better removing it from the packaging all together, depending on its state.

5. Take A Good Picture. Hands down, the best way to sell a collection is with amazing photos. Think about your items like you would food — ever see a commercial on TV that literally had you out of your seat and on the way out the door or headed to the fridge to find something similar? You want the same reaction with your photos. Shoot items in natural light, with a little sun for the best looks. Borrow a better camera from a friend if you have to — you want the best shots possible!

6. Proof of Value. If your collection has a certain pedigree to it, be ready to back up its value with either official papers or research. Your word won't cut it and won't add anything to the pricetag. People love proof…and um…we hear you can find some in the pudding if you're coming up short!

7. Should You Add To It First? So you have a collection of 15 out of 20 beer steins made from a certain company. Do a little research first and see if tracking down those last few missing pieces won't help you bring in a much larger profit. Often it's easier to sell a collection as a whole instead of in pieces as it means no one will have to hunt down the remaining items. It can often double or triple your value for a very small amount of leg work on your part.

Have you sold a collection in the past? Do you have any tried and true tips to getting the most for your memorabilia? Let us know in the comments below!

Image: Flickr member Melvin Schlubman licensed for use by Creative Commons

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